Jim Breuer and Mets Nation were feeling good about the team after New York’s dominant Game 3 win over the Kansas City Royals, a victory that featured nine runs, David Wright’s reemergence and lots of Billy Joel. Saturday’s Game 4 brought similar signs of optimism as Mets pitcher Steven Matz, born and raised on Long Island and a diehard Mets fan growing up, took the mound for the home team. “Let’s go Matz, baby,” Breuer confidently boasted before first pitch.
While Matz did his job with the Mets leading after he departed the game in the sixth inning, things quickly turned sour for Breuer and the sold-out crowd in Citi Field as a bullpen implosion and a costly error resulted in a 5-3 Royals win and the Mets on the brink of elimination.
For every October hero like Reggie Jackson, Madison Bumgarner and Mookie Wilson, there’s an October goat like Bill Buckner, whose misplay of a routine ground ball in the 1986 World Series was the catalyst for an eventual Mets championship win. This October, the Mets’ hero was Daniel Murphy, the plucky second baseman who seemingly played above his abilities in crushing seven postseason home runs. However, the law of averages caught up to “Murph” as he severely misplayed a grounder in Game 4 to spark a series of at-bats that would give the Royals a lead they would not forfeit.
“You’re supposed to keep your glove on the ground, Daniel. Just keep the ball in front of you, Daniel,” a disconsolate Breuer said after the potentially series-changing error. “Murphy just became the new Buckner. Went from hero to goat in one play … I think this is hilarious. Clearly no one thinks this is funny. Oh well.”
Any chance the Mets have of bringing the series back to Kansas City will rest solely on the broad shoulders and right arm of the Dark Knight, Matt Harvey, who will pitch Game 5 at Citi Field Sunday night in an attempt to stave off a second-place finish.