Kansas City Royals @New York Mets
Sunday, October 31
5:07 pm PT on FOX
Kansas City Royals (3-1) @New York Mets (1-3)
Still leading 3-2, the Mets brought in Tyler Clippard in the top of the eighth, needing six outs to tie the series at two games apiece. Clippard got Alcides Escobar to ground out, but then walked Ben Zobrist and Lorenzo Cain. Walks were a problem for Clippard this year. In 2013 and 2014, Clippard walked around 3.0 batters per nine innings. This year, that umber was nearly 4.0 batters per nine. After the back-to-back walks, the Mets turned to closer Jeurys Familia to try to nail down a five-out save. The next batter, Eric Hosmer, hit a slow topper towards second. Daniel Murphy charged in. He wouldn’t have time to turn a double play, but could get the out at first . . . except the ball slipped past him and rolled into right field, scoring Ben Zobrist and sending Lorenzo Cain to third. The score was tied. The Royals added on with consecutive singles from Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez and took a 5-3 lead. According to Fangraphs.com, the error by Daniel Murphy reduced the Mets’ chance of winning that game by the second-greatest percentage of any World Series error in Major League history, with only Bill Buckner’s famous error in Game Six of the 1986 World Series being more costly. Buckner’s error helped the Mets win Game Six in 1986, while Murphy’s error doomed them.
In the bottom of the inning, the Royals dispensed with an eighth inning setup guy and went straight to their closer, Wade Davis. He breezed through the eighth but ran into trouble in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Daniel Murphy beat out an infield single. Yoenis Cespedes followed with a single of his own, moving Murphy to second. The Mets still had hope. Then they didn’t. Lucas Duda lined one to third base. It was caught by Moustakas and Moose fired to first to double off Cespedes. Game over. The Royals now have a three games to one lead.
In the previous 45 times that a team took a three games to one lead in the World Series, the leading team won the series 39 times (86.7%).
Edinson Volquez vs. Matt Harvey
Through the first four games of the series, offense has been at a premium. The Royals as a team are hitting .247/.305/.347 and have limited the Mets to a .215/.261/.326 batting line. The Royals have been led on offense by catcher Salvador Perez, third baseman Mike Moustakas, and outfielder Alex Gordon. Interestingly, first baseman Eric Hosmer has just 2 hits in 15 at-bats but leads the team with five RBI. He’s been in the right place at the right time.
For the Mets, Juan Lagares is 3 for 8 and Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson have each hit two home runs. The player known as “The Franchise”, Yoenis Cespedes, has struggled, with just 3 hits in 17 at-bats. Also struggling at the dish has been Daniel Murphy, going 3 for 17 for a .176 average. Murphy, you may remember, was as hot as anyone has ever been coming into the series, having homered in six consecutive games. That’s the thing with hot streaks, you never know when they will end.
The last time a team led the World Series three games to one was in 2010 and the pattern of wins and losses in that series matches what’s happened so far in this series. This was the first of the recent run of World Series championships for the San Francisco Giants (three championships in five years). In that 2010 series, the Giants took the first two games at home, lost the third on the road, then won Game Four. They sealed the deal with a 3-1 victory in Game Five. The Royals have a chance to do the same, but Matt Harvey and the Mets stands in the way.