KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Daniel Murphy hardly is alone among the Mets in having a less-than-stellar offensive World Series. In fact, he has been less ineffective than most of them, with two hits, two walks and two runs in two games.
But compared to what came before, the MVP of the NLCS has seemed alarmingly pedestrian.
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After seeing his record-breaking postseason home run streak snapped at six in Game 1 Tuesday night, he said the streak was the last thing on his mind in the wake of a 5-4 loss to the Royals in 14 innings.
"I'd rather win four straight ballgames and not hit another home run," he said.
Then came Game 2 Wednesday night, and with it another loss, this time 7-1, and another game without a homer.
Murphy walked twice, scoring the Mets' only run, but he also struck out twice, giving him four in the two Series games and 10 overall in 47 at-bats over 11 postseason games.
By modern standards, that number of strikeouts is unremarkable. But for Murphy it is. He struck out 38 times in 499 regular-season at-bats.
His once extraordinary postseason stats are drifting in the wrong direction. He now is batting .383 with an .872 slugging percentage, 13 runs, seven home runs, 11 RBIs and three walks.
"It wasn't fun," Murphy said of facing the Royals' Johnny Cueto, who pitched a two-hitter. "He threw the ball well. I thought he mixed his deliveries really well, used the cutter well, had that little comebacker working and a pretty good feel for the changeup."
Murphy said he does not think the Mets' layoff after sweeping the Cubs in the NLCS is a factor in their slump. He did say that having an off day Thursday might help recharge the offense.
After Game 1 he had said, "There are some pitches I'd like to have back. I didn't have very good at-bats." He was frustrated that he had fouled off some hittable pitches.
He felt the same way in Game 2. But hitting coach Kevin Long praised Murphy for not trying to force things.
"He's doing what he needs to do," Long said. "I think he would tell you he's taking what they're giving him, and they haven't given him a whole lot."
It appears the Royals are trying to pitch Murphy inside, but he said they are doing the same to Lucas Duda and that it is an expected approach against the Mets' lefties.
Murphy was clearly frustrated with plate umpire Mark Carlson when he was called out on strikes in the first. The second strike came in low. The third came in high and tight.
Said Murphy, "You (reporters) have replay. There's no reason for me to comment on that."