Daniel Murphy‘s error was the story of the Mets’ Game 4 loss. It was what came before that, though, that resulted in the Mets losing the game.
With the Mets six outs away from tying the World Series at two games apiece, manager Terry Collins — who had been pushing mostly all the right buttons so far this postseason — pushed the wrong button when he called on Tyler Clippard. And Collins turning to Clippard was the result of mismanagement earlier in the game.
After Steven Matz departed the game in the sixth inning, Collins used Jon Niese and then Bartolo Colon, who stranded an inherited runner at third base. Colon pitched only 1/3 of an inning — throwing 10 pitches — before being pulled.
In that situation, with the Mets leading 3-2 and with Collins having relied on Colon as one of his main bridges to Jeurys Familia during the postseason, there was no reason for Colon to have been removed. Pulling him early resulted in Addison Reed pitching the seventh inning instead of the eighth inning, and Clippard ultimately coming into the game in the eighth and walking the two batters who would eventually score the tying and go-ahead runs.
Before his eighth inning appearance in Game 4, Clippard had failed to record a clean inning during three appearances in the NLCS against the Cubs. Clippard then allowed a hit and a walk in 2/3 of an inning during Game 1 of the World Series before pitching a perfect frame in a stress-free Game 3 with the Mets up big. Going to him last night was a poor move regardless of what the result wound up being.
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After Collins mismanaged the middle innings bullpen-wise, he still could’ve avoided turning to Clippard by using Hansel Robles instead. However, Collins had buried Robles up to that point and obviously didn’t trust him in that spot.
Still, this is not to say that a handful of the Mets’ players were without fault during Game 4.
The offense — against Chris Young and a bevy of relievers — was close to non-existent and the team played sloppy defense throughout the game. And it was a base-running blunder by Yoenis Cespedes that resulted in the game-ending double play in the ninth inning when the Mets had the tying runs on base and would’ve had the potential winning run coming to the plate.
The hope is that Game 4 will wind up being an afterthought, lost in the midst of the Mets winning the next three games to capture their third-ever World Series title. If that doesn’t happen, though, Clippard’s failure in Game 4 will be one that haunts the team and the fanbase for the entire offseason.