The strength of a decision often is judged by its outcome, and New York Mets manager Terry Collins made a decision in Game 5 of the World Series that he certainly viewed as poor in hindsight after his team was eliminated from title contention on Sunday.
With the Mets leading, 2-0, heading into the top of the ninth with a chance to bring the series to 3-2 and head back to Kansas City for Games 6 and 7, Collins chose to leave in starter Matt Harvey, who had pitched masterfully for eight innings, to close out the game.
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However, Collins initially planned to remove Harvey from the game after the eighth and insert closer Jeurys Familia into the game to try to shut down the Royals in a save situation.
The manager recounted the interaction with Harvey in the dugout that led to him returning to the hill for the ninth.
"I told him that that was enough and … he came over and he said, 'I want this game. I want it bad. You gotta leave me in,'" Collins revealed. "And I said, 'Matty, you've got us exactly where we wanted to get you in,' and he said, 'I want this game in the worst way.' So, obviously, I'm going to let my heart get in the way of my gut. I love my players, and I trust them.
"So, I said, 'Go get 'em out.' And he went out and the leadoff walk started it off, but if you're gonna let him face just one guy, you shouldn't send him out there. When the double [was] hit, that's when I said, 'Well, we gotta see if we can get out of this with only one run.' I didn't work. It was my fault."
As Collins made reference to, Harvey walked the leadoff batter, Lorenzo Cain, which was followed by an RBI double from Eric Hosmer.
Familia then entered the game with no outs and Hosmer on second. The Royals manufactured a run with some aggressive base-running and tied the game up.
"I just trusted him and I said, 'You got it. You've earned this, so go get 'em.' So, it's my fault," Collins said of leaving Harvey in the game. "It's not his. That's who he is. I know better than that. I know that he wants the ball, he never wants to come out. And he was pitching good. He was throwing the ball great."
Kansas City eventually won the game after tagging the Mets' bullpen for five runs in the 12th inning.
Collins explained that he mainly regretted his decision because he strayed from the initial plan that he and the coaching staff had discussed regarding Harvey heading into the game.
"We had said going in if Matt gave us seven [innings], Jeurys was going to pitch two," he said. "You know, I got one of the best closers in the game. I got him in the game, but it was a little late. And that's inexcusable for me. … I won't be sleeping much the next couple days, I'll tell you that."