2015 NLCS

It Was Worth the Wait

My favorite Mets team was the 1999 team. I loved everything about that team from Bobby V to Mike Piazza to Edgardo Alfonzo to Robin Ventura to John Olerud. It was my first real taste of a pennant race and the playoffs. I was lucky to be there for Pratt’s All Folks and the Grand Slam Single. I look back on the year with melancoly because of this:

In 2000, the Mets got Mike Hampton. The season became World Series or bust. A strange feeling for a Mets fan. Hampton would deliver. He was the NLCS MVP. The Mets then had to face the Yankees in the World Series. It was a cruel series with Todd Zeile‘s ball landing on the wall and falling back into play.  Timo Perez didn’t run and didn’t score. Roger Clemens threw a bat at Piazza and wasn’t ejected. The series then ended in the most heartbreaking way possible:

The Mets would be terrible for the next few years, but everything came together in 2006. Our homegrown stars, Jose Reyes and David Wright, we’re becoming superstars. They were joined by the two Carloses: Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado. It was a team that ran roughshod over the National League. Beltran was the best baseball player on the planet that year (who somehow didn’t win the MVP). The Mets had momentum in Game Seven with Endy Chavez’s catch. Here’s how that season ended:

In 2007, the Mets reloaded and were primed to go back to the World Series. They were up 7 with 17 to play. On the final game of the season, they sent future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine to the mound with his 300 wins. He wouldn’t be devastated when he got out of the first, but we would:

In 2008, the Mets diagnosed their problem, and much like 2000, they went out to get it. The Mets brought in Johan Santana, and he delivered. they needed him in a strange year that saw Wille Randolph fired after a win on the first game of a west coast trip. The interim manager threatened to cut Reyes if he didn’t come off the field after pulling up lame, and people acted like it was a good thing. Through all of that, the Mets were collapsing again, and yet an injured Santana took the ball on three days rest. He saved the season, but only for a day: 

The last three were the most difficult for me because I was there. It got more difficult because Citi Field was initially a disappointment. It got worse because the product on the field was bad. 

Then Matt Harvey came up and was an All Star. Jacob deGrom came from seemingly nowhere to become a Rookie of the Year and an All Star. They were joined by Noah Syndergaard. The Mets made a flurry of trades including one for Yoenis CespedesDaniel Murphy had an out of body experience. Then this happened:

All that pain. All that suffering. We know what it’s like to be Mets fans. There’s pain and suffering. However, there are moments of pure joy. It’s all the losing that makes nights like last night all the more special. 

We’re Mets fans. We were there for all of this. There are older fans who experienced more pain, but also more joy. There are younger fans who only know losing. Now, we’re all Pennant Winners. It’s like the 80’s again when the Mets are the best team of baseball. We’re “Back in the New York groove!”


The Mets came out tonight and made sure they were going to quash any notion they were going to blow a 3-0 series lead. The opening salvo came off the bat of Lucas Duda:

Travis d’Arnaud finished the inning off by going back-to-back, apple-to-apple:

The Mets batted around in the first and had a 4-0 lead. This series, nay postseason, has belonged to NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy, but tonight belonged to Duda. Duda came alive in this game. In addition to the three run homer, he would hit a two run RBI double in the second. It would be a record tying hit:

It was all the Mets pitchers need. Steven Matz no-hit the Cubs through three. However, he allowed a run in the fourth, and he got in trouble in the fifth prompting Terry Collins to replace him with two outs in the inning. Bartolo Colon came in and struck out Kris Bryant with runners on first and second. 

Colon would pitch a clean sixth before being lifted for Addison Reed. Because Matz couldn’t get out of the fifth, Colon earned the win. It’s strange that the 42 year old Colin would get the pennant clinching win on a team with all of this dominant young pitching. The answer to the trivia question is Jeurys Familia struck out Dexter Fowler

As for Murphy?  He had an off night only going 3-4 with a double and a run scored in the first seven innings. In the eighth with his streak on the line he did this:

Overall, the Cubs had some fight in them, but it wasn’t enough. They lost 8-3 tonight. The only damage inflicted was Yoenis Cespedes leaving the game early with a sore shoulder. Hopefully, it’s not series because he’ll be needed in the WORLD SERIES!

The Mets swept the Cubs.  The Cuba never had a lead in the series. It is the first time the Mets have ever swept a best of seven series. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but the Mets are going to the World Series!  There’s no way to describe this amazing feeling. There may be only one way to describe this:

Enjoy Tonight

If you’re a Mets fan, nights like tonight don’t come around often. Keep in mind 1986 was 29 years ago. Since that time, the Mets have only played in three games where a win meant the Mets went to the World Series. 

In 1988, Orel Hershiser shut down the Mets in Game 7. In 2000, Mike Hampton, the only Met player to win the NLCS MVP, pitched the Mets into the Subway Series. We are all scarred by Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright in Game 7 in 2006. Tonight, the Mets can win and go to the 2015 World Series. 

The Mets have four cracks at it. Obviously, each game the Mets don’t do it, the more nervous you’ll be. Don’t think about that. Just focus on tonight. There should be nothing but enthusiasm for tonight’s game. It’s alright to plan your celebration. I’m waking my son for the final out. Once it’s recorded, I’m talking to my Dad and brother. I’ll text my cousins as well. 

We’ve been through all of this together. The ups and downs. We have waited for this day, not for nine years. I’ve waited for this all my life. You have too.  Enjoy it.


What Are the Cubs Made Of?

Nothing can make a team look bad like great pitching. Nothing can take a red hot team to their knees like great pitching. As anticipated, the Mets have had great pitching. Here’s how the Mets starters have performed:

Matt Harvey 7.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
Noah Syndergaard 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
Jacob deGrom 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
It’s the reason why the Cubs have been shut down thus far. This is the same Cubs team that scored 20 runs in a 3-1 win over the Cardinals in the Division Series. The Cubs entered the playoffs winning eight in a row before taking out the Pirates in the Wild Card Game. 

The Cubs back are against the wall, and they get a slight break tonight with Steven Matz. We’re going to see what the Cubs are made of tonight. I expect them to bring their best.  

I still expect the Mets to win. 

Back to the Mets Future 

Today is widely known as Back to Future Day because this was the day Marty McFly went to 2015:

Watching Back to the Future Part II in theaters, I remember thinking 2015 was so far away. I remember watching the Mets during this year, I thought the World Series was so far away. Let’s travel back to see the Mets starting lineups:

April 21, 2015 Mets 7 – Braves 1

  1. Curtis Granderson RF
  2. Juan Lagares CF 
  3. Lucas Duda 1B
  4. Michael Cuddyer LF
  5. Daniel Murphy 2B
  6. Eric Campbell 3B
  7. Kevin Plawecki C
  8. Wilmer Flores SS
  9. Jon Niese P

May 21, 2015 Mets 5 – Cardinals 0

  1. Juan Lagares CF
  2. Wilmer Flores SS
  3. Lucas Duda 1B
  4. Michael Cuddyer LF
  5. Daniel Murphy 2B
  6. John Mayberry, Jr. RF
  7. Eric Campbell 3B
  8. Kevin Plawecki C
  9. Jacob deGrom P

June 21, 2015 Braves 1 – Mets 0

  1. Curtis Granderson RF
  2. Juan Lagares CF
  3. Lucas Duda 1B
  4. Michael Cuddyer LF
  5. Wilmer Flores SS
  6. Kevin Plawecki C
  7. Dilson Herrera 2B
  8. Eric Campbell 3B
  9. Matt Harvey P

July 21, 2015 Mets 7 – Nationals 2

  1. Curtis Granderson RF
  2. Ruben Tejada SS
  3. Lucas Duda 1B
  4. Daniel Murphy 3B
  5. Wilmer Flores 2B
  6. Kirk Nieuwenhuis LF
  7. Kevin Plawecki C
  8. Jacob deGrom P
  9. Juan Lagares CF

August 21, 2015 Mets 14 – Rockies 9

  1. Curtis Granderson RF
  2. Daniel Murphy 3B
  3. Yoenis Cespedes CF
  4. Lucas Duda 1B
  5. Wilmer Flores SS
  6. Kelly Johnson 2B
  7. Travis d’Arnaud C
  8. Michael Conforto LF
  9. Bartolo Colon P

September 21, 2015 Mets 4 – Braves 0

  1. Curtis Granderson RF
  2. Daniel Murphy 3B
  3. Yoenis Cespedes CF
  4. Lucas Duda 1B
  5. Travis d’Arnaud C
  6. Kelly Johnson 2B
  7. Michael Conforto LF
  8. Wilmer Flores SS
  9. Jon Niese P

October 21, 2015 (estimated)

  1. Curtis Granderson RF
  2. David Wright 3B
  3. Daniel Murphy 2B
  4. Yoenis Cespedes CF
  5. Lucas Duda 1B
  6. Travis d’Arnaud
  7. Michael Conforto LF
  8. Wilmer Flores SS
  9. Steven Matz P

Looking over these lineups, it was not until August that anyone could believe the Mets had an offense that could be capable of winning in October. Now, Mets fans believe this team can’t be beat. I hoping that’s the case tonight. 

I want to see the Mets Back to the World Series. 

Conforto Can Do No Wrong

With the Mets floundering offensively earlier in the season, we were repeatedly told by the front office Michael Conforto wasn’t ready. Then Michael Cuddyer got hurt. Finally, the Mets had no choice but to call up Conforto. The Mets couldn’t send him back down

It turns out Conforto was ready, and he was better than advertised. In his rookie season, he hit .270/.335/.506 with 14 doubles, nine homeruns, and 26 RBIs. We were told he was weak defensively, but that turned out to be wrong:

The Mets entered the playoffs facing a number of lefties in the NLDS. He sat in Game One against Clayton Kershaw because this year he is a platoon player. He finally got to play in Game Two, and he gets to face Zack Greinke, who is a Cy Young candidate. No problem:

Last night, he comes up in a big spot and strikes out:

Even when he strikes out something good happens. Turns out he was ready. Turns out he was better than we thought. Right now, he can do no wrong.

Another Press Conference Please

My favorite part of the postseason so far has been the Mets on the verge of going to the World Series. My favorite off the field part has been the David WrightJacob deGromDaniel Murphy postgame press conferences. 

After Game One of the NLDS, we got “Yowsa!”

They were put together again last night and more hijinx ensued:

There were more, but not all have been screen capped. I love seeing this team loose when they’re on the verge of the World Series. The pressures not getting to them and that’s why they’re winning. 

I can’t wait to see another press conference with these three because it’s been fun. More importantly, it means something good has happened again. 

Yankees Are Only Team to Blow a 3-0 Lead

It’s that time again. With the Mets up 3-0 in the NLCS, it’s time to bring this up again:

Every single time a team goes up 3-0 in any series, we have to bring up the time the Yankees choked in 2004. It’ll be an even bigger storyline than it normally would be because Theo Epstein is now with the Cubs. 

I remember I was in school when that happened. When the Red Sox went down 0-3, I remove telling a friend of mine the Red Sox could do it.  I pointed out that the Red Sox still had Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez. Much of his response can not be provided on a family friendly site. The gist of it was two-fold:

  1. This was the Red Sox and stuff like that doesn’t happen to them; and 
  2. Red Sox fans did not see Mets fans as brother-in-arms against the Yankees because of 1986. 

I was optimistic because I was a Mets fan. This was pre-2007. Back then Mets fans always believed anything was possible. You waited for the positive to happen whether it was amazing outfield catches in 1969 or a little roller up the first base line in 1986. 

Things changed for Mets fans from 2006-2008. The fans were scared and angry. It lasted that way until the trade for Yoenis Cespedes. From that point forward, it seems like anything is possible. Anything except blowing a 3-0 lead in the LCS. 

That’s something a second rate New York franchise does. 

Why Cubs Fans Don’t Deserve It

As a Mets fan, I’ve become accustomed to losing. As a Knicks fan, I’ve come to expect that my team will never win a championship in my lifetime. It’s why you may think I’d sympathize with Chicago Cubs fans. I don’t.  This is the reason why:

First off, I need to mention Moises Alou acted like a petulant child there. His actions more than Bartman’s set the tone for the rest of the game. Seriously, if Alou gets annoyed and walks away rather than throwing a tantrum, the Cubs might not have been as tense. 

Instead, the inning, game, and series fell apart. While there are theories whether Alou could’ve caught the ball (he couldn’t), Mark Prior walked Luis Castillo. By the way, Prior was gassed, but Dusty Baker let him start the inning and pitch until Prior allowed a run. The normally sure-handed Alex Gonzalez let a double play ball go between his legs. After all was said and done, a 3-0 lead became an 8-3 deficit. 

The Cubs would lose in Game Seven despite having a 5-3 lead with Kerry Wood on the mound. The Cubs blew a 3-1 series lead. They blew leads in Games Six and Seven. So who was to blame?  The Billy Goat?  Mrs. O’Leary’s cow?  Nope. They blamed Steve Bartman. 

The Billy Goat Curse is fun. It’s part of baseball lore. However, the Billy Goat never harmed anyone or was harmed. Steve Bartman is a human being who wasn’t treated as well as a goat. 

Bartman had to be removed from Wrigley Field that night because he was being pelted with garbage. He received hate mail and death threats. His home needed police protection. They sold shirts with a noose around his likeness. He’s never been able to go back to Wrigley (until maybe now). They did this to a diehard Cubs fan, who was one of several people trying to grab that ball. He was the unlucky one. 

If this is his how Cubs fans treat one of their own, they don’t deserve to see their team win a World Series . . . let alone this NLCS. 

Niese Good Under Pressure?

Over the past seven years, Jon Niese hasn’t become the pitcher we all thought he could be. The main reason is that he’s his own worst enemy. Whenever something went wrong, he would get angry and fall apart. It would lead to big innings. It made me believe he might not be good under pressure. 

It turns out I might be wrong. So far this postseason, when things are the most pressure packed, Niese has been good. The issue all along might not have been the pressure but his anger. So far this postseason, he’s already got two big outs. 

In Game Two of the NLDS, he came in with a runner in scoring position to face Andre Ethier (Justin Ruggiano pinch hit for him). In that horrendous inning, Niese was the only one who could get the big out to keep the Mets within striking distance. In an inning where everything went wrong, Niese was the one who kept his composure. 

In Game Two of the NLCS, he came in during another pressure packed situation. Niese came on for Noah Syndergaard in the sixth inning. Anthony Rizzo stepped up to the plate. Niese struck him out on a full count preserving the 4-1 lead. For the second time in the postseason, Niese came into a pressure situation and came up big:

At least for the playoffs, Niese may be the LOOGY the Mets have sought all year. I give Niese credit for asking for the role. He’s going to be needed with Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber in this series. Rizzo is now only 2-18 with one huge strikeout against him. Schwarber is hitting .143/.213/.268 against lefties. 

The Mets need Niese. They need him against lefties. They need him more now that he’s good under pressure.