Sunday, November 1, 2015

Mets-Royals World Series Game 4: Now Mets have their own Murphy the Goat

The Cubs are supposedly cursed because of a goat named Murphy was not allowed to remain at Game 4 of the 1945 World Series. Now another goat named Murphy in another World Series Game 4 has helped to doom the 2015 Mets.

Murphy was not the only goat, though. There are a lot of different names for groups of goats, such as herd and flock, but I'm going with tribe, because last night, all we needed was for Jeff Probst to say that the tribe has spoken, because the Mets are not going to be the sole survivor this year.

But while Bill Buckner was far from the only goat in 1986, his error on a ground ball was the lasting image, and Murphy is probably doomed to the same fate.  The image of Tyler Clippard walking two batters is just not as compelling. And neither is Terry Collins not going to the mound to take out Clippard after the first walk. Or Collins not leaving Bartolo Colon in to become the bridge to Jeurys Familia. Or Familia waiting in the bullpen rather than coming in for a six-out save.

But there is a clip from after the game of Collins saying that using Familia for a meaningless inning Friday night in a 9-3 game affected his availability for a six-out save. This is unforgivable. On Friday, we were told that Familia thrived on regular work and it was good to get him back on the horse after he blew the save in Game 1. And now the story changes.

Just as bad is using Clippard in the eighth inning because that's his usual spot, and he was great at it in August. But Clippard has been terrible after that, with a regular-season 6.14 ERA with four homers in 14.2 innings in September and October. Now he's given up runs in three of his eight postseason appearances, and Collins still thinks of him as his primary setup man.

Familia earned his goat horns when he gave up the game-tying homer in Game 1 and now he has two blown saves in the World Series. But while he did give up two hits in the eighth to allow the winning and fifth runs to score, the bigger culprits in the disastrous eighth inning have to be Murphy, Clippard and Collins.

Our tribe of goats would not be complete without Yoenis Cespedes, who may need his own section on the lowlight reel. Cespedes failed to appear when he was introduced before his first World Series game, then promptly muffed a fly ball that resulted in an inside-the-park home run. Last night, Cespedes somehow kicked a fly ball across the outfield. (I heard a radio caller this morning say that Cespedes was a three-sport athlete - baseball, soccer and golf.) Then Cespedes capped off last night's debacle by being doubled off first after he thought Lucas Duda's liner would hit the grass.

Cespedes, Murphy and Clippard are all going to be free agents. At different times, it looked as if all three should be re-signed. Now it's goodbye, Clippard and most likely goodbye Cespedes, whose head does not always appear to be in the game.  Granted, he is injured, though the circumstances of that injury are murky. But it just seems hard to commit long-term to him, especially at a huge salary.

We're still getting to know Cespedes, for better and worse, but we've known Murphy since 2008. You're not signing him for his fielding. But he's a good hitter, even if that home run streak was not typical, and if and when the Mets let Cespedes go, if they don't bring Murphy back they will need to find another second baseman who can hit. Howie Kendrick and, yes, Ben Zobrist are also free agents.

This has still been a great run and a great year. But it's a shame that the World Series has turned on errors by Murphy last night and David Wright in Game 1. The two Mets with the longest tenures. The two Mets whose numbers are worn by the most fans (according to my unscientific observations).  It's not over till it's over, but it's getting late early out there. Let's go Mets. 

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