Mets Must Stick with Duda

The Mets were trailing 2-1, and no one could hit Zack Greinke except Daniel Murphy. Murphy would lead off the pivotal fourth with a hit, and Lucas Duda drew a one out walk, which precipitated this: 

No, Duda is not the reason the Mets won. However, he contributed. Murphy stole the base, but it was made possible by the shift and walk. Duda is still a feared hitter. Rightfully so. He’s hit 27 homers and 33 doubles. He’s second on the Mets in OBP and first in slugging. 

Also, he’s hit well against the Cubs this year. Generally, he’s always hit well against the Cubs starters:

Starters

Jon Lester 2-6 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, and 3 K
Jake Arrieta 4-11 with 3 BB and 5 K

Travis Wood 4-15 with 1 double, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 5 K
Jason Hammel 0-1 with 2 HBP
Combined 10-33 (.303 BA), 3 BB, 2 HBP (.395 OBP), one double, 2 HR (.515 slugging)

I know it’s a small sample size, but you need to start a player with these numbers in this series. Duda is primed to bust out of this slump. This is the series to do it. 

Have the Cubs Really Beat the Mets Pitching?

As I pointed out earlier, the regular season numbers should be discounted coming into the playoffs. The Mets lineup is completely different. The pitching staff appears to be as well. Here is who pitched against the Cubs, and how they fared (* not on the postseason roster):

May 11, 2015 – Wrigley Field
Jacob deGrom L, 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 5 K
Hansel Robles 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Sean Gilmartin* 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Buddy Carlyle* 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
Erik Goeddel 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
May 12, 2015 – Wrigley Field
Noah Syndergaard (first career start) L, 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 6 K
Alex Torres* 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
Sean Gilmartin* 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Hansel Robles 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

May 13, 2015 – Wrigley Field
Matt Harvey 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
Carlos Torres* BS, L, 1.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K

Jeurys Familia 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

May 14, 2015 – Wrigley Field
Jon Niese L, 6.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Hansel Robles 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

Jack Leathersich* 0.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K

Erik Goeddel 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

June 30, 2015 – Citi Field
Jon Niese L, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K

Bobby Parnell* 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Sean Gilmartin* 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

July 1, 2015 – Citi Field
Bartolo Colon 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
Bobby Parnell* 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

Jeurys Familia 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

Hansel Robles 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K

Carlos Torres* L, 0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K

Sean Gilmartin* 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K

July 2, 2015 – Citi Field
Jacob deGrom L, 5.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K

Logan Verrett* 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K

Alex Torres* 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K

The Cubs beat the Mets seven times. Of those losses, two were by Jacob deGrom, two were by Niese, two were by Carlos Torres, and one was by Thor. Only deGrom and Thor remain in the rotation. 

So to sum up, the Dodgers did do well against deGrom. Conversely, deGrom has reached another gear in the playoffs. The Cubs couldn’t hit Harvey. They never faced Steven Matz. They faced Thor in his first career start. Thor has gotten much better since that game:

Also, the Mets bullpen is significantly different. It’s important to note considering that Torres blew two games. They now have Addison Reed and Tyler Clippard

While we know the Mets are a different team than, the Cubs are very similar. The only real change is Kyle Schwarber, who is just mashing the ball. However, I doubt he is enough to overcome the Mets pitching upgrades.  

The Mets are vastly improved. I think it’s enough. 

Rookie of the Year Was a Terrible Movie

All season long, we’ve heard Cubs fans talking about how they’ll win the 2015 World Series because Back to the Future, Part II said they would (it didn’t). I’m sure they will next point to Rookie of the Year because in that movie the Cubs beat the Mets on the way to winning the World Series. God help us. 

Lets sum up this dredge of a movie. Basically, the Cubs are such a joke of a franchise that a 12 year old pitcher named Henry Rowengartner can make their team. Sure, he could throw hard due to an arm injury, but he’s still 12. He makes the team, and he’s some sort of Aroldis Chapman. However, unlike real life, the closer is the reason why the team becomes competitive. 

The only team standing in their way is the 1993 Mets with a strange player named Heddo, who looked like a failed Frankenstein experiment to combine Howard Johnson and Ogre. It all comes down to the final day of the season. The Cubs start their aging ace, Chet Steadman to start the game:

Seriously, look at that throwing motion. It’s terrible. He really couldn’t get it over 50 MPH. Maybe that’s why when Henry falls, magically healing his arm, that Heddo can’t hit the ball. I know the 1993 Mets were horrendous, but I’m pretty sure they could hit anything thrown under 70 MPH with no movement. Okay, maybe not Tito Navarro, but you get the point. 

Anyway, the Cubs win. Steadman and Rowengartner can’t pitch in the playoffs, but the Cubs win the World Series. Ummm, okay. Sure. As a kid, I was disappointed because the Mets lost. I couldn’t root against the Mets, especially when they got this great new first baseman, Heddo. 

I know, I know. It’s just a movie. It’s purely fictional. Just like the Cubs beating the Mets wn route to winning the World Series. 

Disregard Mets 0-7 Record Against the Cubs

I’m sure you’ll hear several times over the next week that the Mets are 0-7 against the Cubs. It’s not indicative of what will happen in the NLCS. 

First off, the 1988 Mets beat the Dodgers 10 out of 11 times. Secondly, this is a completely different Mets team. Here is a breakdown of the players who have played against the Cubs this year:

Juan Lagares 1-9 with 1 BB, 1 double, 2Ks
John Mayberry, Jr. 2-12 with 2 RBI, 1 double, 2 K
Daniel Murphy 9-25 with 1 BB, 3 doubles
Michael Cuddyer 2-17 with 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K
Lucas Duda 7-25 with 3 R,  2 BB, 2 RBI, 3 HBP, 1 double, 1 HR, 12 K
Wilmer Flores 4-23 with 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 double, 2 HR, 2 BB, 3 K
Kevin Plawecki 3-17 with 2 RBI, 4 K
Curtis Granderson 5-24 with 3 BBs, 2 RBI, 1 double, 6 K
Dilson Herrera 2-11 with 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K
Ruben Tejada 1-18 with 1 BB, 8 K

Johnny Monell 1-8 with 4 K
Kirk Nieuwenhuis 0-7 with 2 K
Anthony Recker 2-4 with 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 HR, 2 K
Darrell Ceciliani 1-7 with 3 K

Eric Campbell 0-3 with 1 BB, 1 K
Overall, the Mets had a combined 70 ABs from players not on the playoff roster. They went 9-70 against the Cubs this year. There were an additional 50 ABs from players on the playoff roster, who are either on the bench or are platoon players. Those players went 6-50. Of a total of 171 ABs, 120 of them went to players who will not be in the starting lineup in the NLCS. Therefore, how can you glean anything from these games. 

As you may notice, there are no ABs from David WrightYoenis CespedesMichael Conforto, or Travis d’Arnaud. That’s half of the position players in the current Mets starting lineup. This is more than enough to turn an 0-7 deficit to a winning record. 

I’m confident the Mets changes will be enough to make it to the World Series. 

The Murphy Game

Baseball is special. While it’s been characterized as an individual sport with players seeking their own stats, it truly is a team game. You can’t have one player carry a game, even a hot pitcher. The offense needs to score for him. 

However, sometimes you get a player in a game that throws that premise out the window.  I’ve seen it once before with David Freese. I was it again with Daniel Murphy last night. It was the type of game that will launch the #Murphtober meme. That’s great and all, but what we saw last night can only be described as “The Daniel Murphy Game.”

The Mets are facing the probable NL Cy Young in Zack Greinke. Murphy gets a big hit knocking in Curtis Granderson to get the Mets a 1-0 lead. If you were on Twitter, you saw many Mets fans thought the game was over. Jacob deGrom seemingly didn’t have it, and Greinke was dominating. It really did appear that it was going to end 2-1.

Murphy then gets a base hit off of Greinke, who had retired eight in a row. Yoenis Cespedes flies out, and then the momentum of the game would change. Lucas Duda, who’s been lost at the plate, battled in his at bat earn a walk. Because Duda was at the plate, the Dodgers had the shift on with no one on the left side of the infield. Murphy lulled the Dodgers to sleep by trotting to second before taking off and stealing third. This set up Travis d’Arnaud‘s sac fly, scoring Murphy, to tie the game.

At this point, it was apparent nothing was going to happen unless Murphy did it, and he did:

Murphy was directly responsible for all three runs. However, the man refused to take full credit for the win:

Overall, how does this happen?  False presumptions aside, you wouldn’t expect Murphy to carry the Mets offensively. He’s never done it before. He’s not a power hitter. He doesn’t have a high OBP. However, he’s hot, and he has a belief in himself. That leads to incredible things:

Game Five of the NLDS will always be known as The Daniel Murphy Game. And yes, as the postseason goes on, it may become known as Murphtober. 

Trivia Friday

It’s a great morning to be a Mets fan. The Mets have overcome everything in the NLDS and have advanced to the NLCS. They even overcame the dirtiest player in baseball. Can you name him?  Good luck!


Murphy Wins the NLDS

I’m still not sure how the Mets did it. Jacob deGrom had nothing. Zack Greinke had his best stuff. Everyone not named Daniel Murphy had a bad day at the plate. 

However, Murphy was all it took. In the first, after a successful challenge awarding Curtis Granderson an infield single, Murphy came up with one out:

It was later changed to a double and an error, but it was a huge RBI hit nevertheless. He would be stranded.

In the bottom of the first deGrom was hit HARD. He couldn’t locate at all. The 1-0 lead quickly became a 2-1 deficit. Every inning thereafter deGrom was in trouble. Deep trouble. I still don’t know how he kept rope-a-doping the Dodgers, but he did. His final line was:

The stat line is so misleading because deGrom was not good at all, and yet, he was brilliant. He summoned everything he had and somehow fought through six innings in the biggest game of his life. Sure, Game One was incredible, but I was more impressed by this. He won this game by sheer will.

He got the win because of Murphy’s help. With the Mets down 2-1 in the fourth, Murphy singled. With one out, Lucas Duda worked out a walk. However, with the extreme shift and Greinke failing to cover third, Murphy stole third:

He would score on a Travis d’Arnaud sac fly, but with the Mets sputtering offense, the inning would soon be over. 

Murphy would come up again in the sixth, and did this:

He gave the Mets a 3-2 lead almost single-handedly. He went 3-4 with two runs, two RBIs, a stolen base, a double, and a homer. 

After deGrom’s final inning, Noah Syndergaard, who had been up and down all game long (not an exaggeration) entered in the seventh. He Thortuted the Dodgers. He was seemingly the only Met to get doubles machine Justin Turner out in this series. 

Jeurys Familia came in for the six out save. He zipped through the eighth. He got Jimmy Rollins to ground out to end the inning. He faced Chase Utley to start the ninth. He got perfect revenge by getting the coward to fly out to right on his way to saving this 3-2 game giving the Mets a 3-2 series win. The answer to your trivia question is Familia struck out Howie Kendrick for the final out.
This game was a microcosm of the Mets season. They struggled to score runs, but they got enough. They relied on their young pitching to take them home. It was very impressive. The Mets have now slayed the demons of 1988, 2007, and 2008. 

This game was gravy as the NLCS will be. Lets Go Mets!

Fan Rituals 

Last Friday, I dressed my son in a Mets shirt as part of #MetsFriday. I wore my Gary Carter t-shirt under my work shirt. For lunch, I had a sesame chicken lunch combination plate. The Mets won

I didn’t do any of that on Saturday. Mets lost. On Monday, I wore the Carter shirt under my work shirt. I put my son in his Mets shirt. Without thinking about it, I again ordered sesame chicken for lunch. The Mets won again. On Tuesday, my son didn’t wear his Mets shirt, and I didn’t have sesame chicken. The Mets lost again. 

It’s funny. I should know that what I wear and what my son wears has no impact on the game. I should know my lunch choices have no impact on the game. And yet, I do it anyway. I remember in 2006, I brought a chicken salad sandwich with me every game I attended. A co-worker surprisingly had an extra ticket to Game 7. I didn’t have a chance to go home and make my chicken salad sandwich. 

When Carlos Beltran struck out, it was in the back of my mind that I didn’t have my chicken salad sandwich. It was a mistake I didn’t make on the final game of the 2007 season. I enjoyed my chicken salad sandwich. However, the Mets lost anyway. I’m nine years older now. I can see that’s there is proof my dietary choices have no impact on a game. I didn’t want Chinese food for lunch. I wasn’t that hungry. 

Naturally, I had sesame chicken for lunch while wearing my Carter t-shirt under my work shirt. My son is wearing his Mets shirt today. You’re all welcome. Now . . . 

LETS GO METS!

Disregard History Tonight

I remember thinking to myself we got this. There’s no way the Rangers lose this game. We have Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers have never lost a Game 7 in MSG. The Rangers were going to get another chance at the Stanley Cup. 

Nope, they lost to the Lightning. The season was over. Just like that. All the numbers I’ve seen and heard meant nothing. NOTHING!  The reason?  The 1994 Rangers had nothing to do with the 2014 Rangers. These games are decided by the players that are on the field. 

So, tonight you may hear the Dodgers have not lost a winner take all games since they’ve moved to Los Angeles. You’ll hear that the Mets are 0-2 in road winner take all games. It doesn’t matter. The Dodgers don’t have Sandy Koufax pitching. Orel Hershiser is only throwing out the first pitch. These Dodgers don’t have a hitter in the league of Reggie Jackson

Tonight is about Jacob deGrom. It’s about David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes. It’s about Terry Collins. It’s about the 25 men in the Mets dugout. It’s about the 24 men and one coward in the Dodgers dugout. So ignore whatever stat you’re going to hear tonight. They don’t matter. The only thing that matters is tonight. 

Lets Go Mets!

Why I’m Confident Tonight

Since the end of Game 4, I’ve been talking to other Mets fans. The general consensus seems to be the fans are nervous, but they think the Mets can win this game. I’m oddly confident.

I think it’s because Jacob deGrom is pitching. I think it’s because Bartolo Colon has pitched well out of the bullpen. I think it’s because the Mets have Jeurys Familia in the bullpen, and Terry Collins isn’t afraid to deploy him for more than three outs. I think it’s because the Mets best hitters have hit well against Zack Greinke

Overall, it’s because the Mets are just a better team. They’ve scored more runs in this series. They’re young pitching has been just as good as the Dodgers pitching, if not better. Finally, the Dodgers just aren’t hitting:

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That’s the Dodgers boxscore from Game 4 (from Baseball Reference). If you look over the list, they’re top four hitters are the only ones getting any hits. The first, Kike Hernandez, didn’t play in Game One, and he’s hitting .234/.262/.311 against righties this year.  Howie Kendrick may have gone 1-3 against deGrom in Game One, but that means he’s now 1-6 lifetime off of him.  Adrian Gonzalez went 0-3 against deGrom in Game 1. Justin Turner has gone 2-8 lifetime (including Game One) against deGrom, and he’s dealing with a knee injury, which forced him out of Game Four. 

If there are only four Dodgers hitting, and two of them may not be in the lineup, I’m going to feel confident. If I have deGrom tonight, I’m going to feel confident. After seeing everything we’ve seen this year, and the Mets having fought through it, I’m going to feel confident. 

First pitch can’t get here soon enough. 

Lets Go Mets!