NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Sunday, November 1, 2015, 1:20 AM
Daniel Murphy goes from playoff hero to making a big error in Game 4 of the World Series that contributes to a huge Mets loss.
Mike Piazza was talking Friday night about his one shot at the World Series, back when he was one of the great Mets of them all, back in 2000, the last time the Mets were in a Series before this one.
Piazza wasn’t talking about Roger Clemens, and the way Clemens acted like a board-certified crazy person with part of a broken-bat in his hand. Piazza was talking about everything that happened in what was such a compelling Series, even one that only lasted five games, and how he wouldn’t have believed at the time that he’d never be back.
“Man, it went fast,” Mike Piazza said.
“You know what you end up realizing about sports? How much destiny comes into play sometimes. And even more than destiny, the unforeseen,” Piazza said.
It is the beauty of sports, the unforeseen. Before Game 4 on Saturday night, we had already seen so much of that with Daniel Murphy, Murphy and his seven postseason home runs, the headline writers calling him Danny Baseball. But then that all changed in Game 4, for the Mets and for Murphy.
The Mets were ahead 3-2, were five outs away from evening the World Series. Only now they are 3-1 down in games, down like that and playing for their season on Sunday night, and it really started with a ball that went underneath Murphy’s glove on Halloween Night, 29 years after the most famous slow roller in Mets’ history rolled underneath Bill Buckner’s glove.
There was one out and Jeurys Familia, the Mets closer, a star of their season, with the ball after Tyler Clippard had walked two Royals. So Familia was in there again in the eighth inning, the way he had been last Tuesday night in Game 1. You know all that. Familia came out of the bullpen in Kansas City and finally had his team two outs away from going up 1-0 in the Series before Alex Gordon took him over the centerfield wall; long before the Mets lost in the 14th.
Now Familia got Eric Hosmer to hit a slow roller at Murphy and here came Murphy onto the infield grass, trying to glove the ball and get an out at first, trying to make it two on and two out. Only the ball stayed down on him, went right through him, started rolling across the dirt and by the time it stopped rolling, Game 4 was tied. And by the time the inning was over, the Royals had done what they had been doing all through the postseason and now all the way to the last night of October: You better believe they had come from behind to take a lead.
They had gone from 3-2 down to 5-3 ahead. Fast. They remind you of a great old line from Arthur Ashe about the tennis game of a Mets’ fan named John McEnroe when McEnroe was young: “A nick here, a nick there, and pretty soon you’re bleeding to death.”
Then came the bottom of the 9th for the Mets and they were the ones trying to come back against Wade Davis, the Royals’ closer. But somehow Yoenis Cespedes, who couldn’t glove Alcides Escobar’s inside-the-park home run in Game 1 and soccer-style kicked a ball from center into left on Saturday night, somehow managed to get himself doubled off first base for the last out of the game.
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More of the unforeseen on Halloween Night at Citi Field, a thousand years after Buckner. It seemed as if the Mets were playing for their season on Friday night when they came home from Kansas City down 2-0. Now they do it for real. Try not to lose this World Series in five games the way Mike Piazza’s Mets lost in five 15 years ago.
“I didn’t do my job,” Daniel Murphy said when Game 4 was over. “That’s the most frustrating part.”
“I wish I would have caught it,” he said to reporters in the Mets’ clubhouse.
“In the postseason, you can’t give away outs,” Terry Collins said to the media in the interview room when Game 4 was over.
It wasn’t just Murphy’s play, for sure. The eighth inning was still in Familia’s formidable right hand after that. But these are the Royals, grinders up and down their batting order. A batting order that really is like barbed wire. There was another hit, and then another, and suddenly the Series wasn’t going to be even, on this night when it seemed as if a couple of kids named Matz and Conforto would be the latest Mets heroes.
It all organized, though, around Murph’s Buckner moment, Murph’s own magical October taking a wrong turn right before the Series made its way into November. The ball was going to be in his glove and then it wasn’t. The Mets were ahead and then they weren’t. Here is something else Mike Piazza had said on Friday night during Game 3:
“An inch sometimes. A foot either way. Sometimes just one pitch.”
It was going to be such a big Saturday night in Queens. The Mets were going to square things, make it best-of-three against the Royals. They were not only going to make it best-of-three, they were going to pitch Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard against the Royals if this World Series went the distance.
Now Harvey must give them a game on Sunday night and get them another game. The Royals came back against the Mets in Game 1, they did it again in Game 4 the way they have done it in this postseason against the Astros and the Toronto Blue Jays.
After everything that has happened this season, so much of it loud and good, the Mets just try to win themselves a trip to Kansas City now. They start finding out their own destiny in Game 5. Series was about to be squared. Then it wasn’t. The old Mets star, Mike Piazza, was right. Things happen fast this time of year. Things change fast. Ask Murph.
Royals catcher Salvador Perez comes up with a big RBI single in the 8th inning.
Brushback impact, rooting for JPP and Our Alex…
— All week long we heard about how Alcides Escobar was swinging at the first pitch.
You know Escobar hit the first pitch he saw from Matt Harvey for an inside-the-park home run in Game 1.
And then he and the Royals act offended that Noah Syndergaard buzzed him with the first pitch of Game 3?
Apparently Escobar and his teammates were just supposed to dig in and swing away, while being praised for being big contact guys, and Mets pitchers were just supposed to tee them up.
Syndergaard just asked Escobar to be a big contact guy from a sitting position.
In the 1986 the Mets went into Fenway Park down 0-2 and Lenny Dykstra led off the game with a home run.
Huge statement that night.
So was Syndergaard’s.
— I hope Jason Pierre-Paul comes back and gets after the quarterback the way he used to for the Giants, because getting after the quarterback did as much for Tom Coughlin’s Giants when they were winning Super Bowl as anything or anybody else.
Pierre-Paul wasn’t waving a gun around, the way so many NFL players have.
He didn’t get behind the wheel of a car in some sort of impaired state.
He wasn’t accused of domestic violence.
He did a dumb, young-guy thing.
He had an accident with fireworks on the 4th of July, and in the process harmed himself, and his football career, and his future earnings potential.
Immediately, of course, he became a punchline, and a punching bag.
Did he handle things well at the beginning of this story?
And he should have looped in the Giants in the first few days after the accident, even in a world where modern athletes don’t trust team doctors the way they once did.
But in all ways, these were self-inflicted wounds, and he is as much worth rooting for in this comeback as he’s ever been with the Giants.
That’s it and that’s all.
— I watch Pete Rose sometimes on television and keep waiting for him to turn to Frank Thomas and say something like, “Where’s the mariachi band?”
There’s no longer any point in asking why Alex Rodriguez did all the things he did, and tried to take down all the people he tried to take down, if he honors baseball as much as he says he does.
Our Alex, bless his heart, is an old line from Kris Kristofferson’s song, “The Pilgrim,” the one about walking contradictions, partly truth and partly fiction.
It means he’s exactly where he belongs now:
— The other day CBS’ Ian Eagle was talking about how last season Tom Brady said he wanted to play 10 more years, and then said the same thing this season.
“Wouldn’t it be nine years now?” Eagle asked Dan Fouts.
It has reached the point where even the conspiracy theorists and people from football’s Flat Earth Society sort of have to admit that Bill Belichick is the greatest NFL coach of all time.
— It isn’t just the “mainstream media” that have turned these Republican debates into the political version of short-track speed-skating, it is anybody who moderates one of these things.
Because the goal isn’t to enlighten us or inform us, all these moderators are really saying is this:
Let’s you and him fight.
Or you and her, as the case may be.
Okay, what hurt Chris Christie more, when you add everything up, the cones on the George Washington Bridge or the hug of President Obama after Hurricane Sandy?
— After some of the coverage of the Knicks’ opening night win over the Bucks, I actually started to think the Knicks were closer to the Canyon of Heroes than the Mets are.
The best part about Billy Joel’s national anthem on Friday night was that he didn’t try to trick up the song, or make it longer than the opera.
He just stood there and sang it.
I want the story about the Jets maybe checking their locker room for listening devices before their loss to the Patriots to be true so much.
So, so much.
Every time I hear that Kobe Bryant might finish his career with the Knicks I flash back to that time when the Knicks were still talking about signing Wilt Chamberlain.
When Wilt was, like, 47.
When I saw that J.R. Smith shot four-for-10 in the Cavaliers’ first game, I just thought to myself,
Hey, the guy’s already in midseason form!
BY Bill Price
October 31, 7:36PM
In between trick or treating, driving to Citi field and laughing at the whiny Royals, I didn’t have time for a full blog. So this is it Enjoy the game. LIVE BLOG: FOLLOW THE METS-ROYALS WORLD SERIES HERE