With the Mets up 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth, manager Terry Collins and ace Matt Harvey argued about whether Harvey would pitch the ninth. He’d pitched a four-hit shutout up to that point, on 102 pitches, a high but not unreasonable number. Of course, the health of Harvey, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2013 and missed the entire 2014 season, has already caused a lot of friction for the Mets this season.
It seemed like Collins didn’t want to leave Harvey in the game but got talked into it. And wouldn’t you know it—because they’re the #LOLMets or because the Royals never die or because it was Harvey’s 4th time through the order or because of dumb luck or because the Royals have good hitters—the decision didn’t work out.
Harvey gave up a walk and run-scoring double before Collins finally brought in his excellent closer Jeurys Familia. A grounder moved Royals baserunner Eric Hosmer to third, and a grounder to the left side seemed to keep him pegged on third base. But as David Wright side-armed soft-tossed the ball across the diamond, Hosmer broke for home. Lucas Duda should’ve nailed him at home with plenty of room to spare, but his throw went closer to the stands than it did to home plate, and Hosmer slid in for the game-tying run.
Collins has already been second-guessed to death, and to an extent he deserves it. This is the second straight game he has chosen not to go to Familia when he could’ve, and the second straight game when that decision burned him. (On a related note, Familia has three blown saves this World Series, but that’s bullshit. In each of the past two games he’s gotten the necessary ground balls to get out of jams others created, only to have his fielders blow it behind him.) But what matters more is Collins’s reasoning. If he left Harvey in because he genuinely believed Harvey was his best option to win, so be it. If he left Harvey in because “he deserved it,” that’s idiotic. The whole point of his job is to not be a prisoner of the moment, and make the necessary moves to win the ballgame.
At that point, given what we’ve seen this series, the result was inevitable. The Royals have one of the best bullpens in baseball while the Mets’ is quite mediocre, and the Royals thrive by dinking and dunking and forcing the issue.
Finally, in the top of the 12th inning, the Royals broke through against Addison Reed. Salvador Perez hit a single, and pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson stole second. He advanced to third on a grounder, and scored on Christian Colon’s hit to the outfield. Their winning-run secured, Daniel Murphy gifted the Royals a base-runner with another error, and a double, walk, and double (off Bartolo Colon for variety) got another four runs across.
While the Mets were forced to turn to Addison Reed in the 12th inning, a perfectly fine reliever who is nonetheless not the guy you want on the mound with your season on the line, the Royals trotted out the hellishly terrifying Wade Davis and his 0.94 ERA. After two strikeouts, Michael Conforto hit a single to left, which was cruel in that it gave Mets fans a flicker of hope.
Wade Davis extinguished that hope with another strikeout.