Jacob deGrom

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. 

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!

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:

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://widgets.sports-reference.com/wg.fcgi?css=1&site=br&url=%2Fboxes%2FNYN%2FNYN201510130.shtml&div=div_LosAngelesDodgersbatting”></script>

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!

Who’s Getting the Big Hit?

In order for the Mets to win tonight, Jacob deGrom needs to be great, and he will be. However, at some point, the Mets will need to get a big hit. Anyone is possible. Here’s why everyone on this roster is capable of it:

Yoenis Cespedes because he’s already homered off of Zack Greinke in this series

Michael Conforto because like Cespedes he has too. 

David Wright because he already has a big hit in this series. 

Curtis Granderson because he’s been the best Mets hitter in this series

Wilmer Flores because it’s an emotional game, and he’s at his best when he’s emotional 

Lucas Duda because he’s due, he’s hit Greinke, and because he knows how to clinch things

Daniel Murphy because he’s clutch, and he knows how to give deGrom run support in this series 

Travis d’Arnaud because he’s had one big game in this series and is due for another

Kirk Nieuwenhuis because he already has a huge pinch hit homerun in a big spot this year

Juan Lagares because he’s more than a glove, and he’s already hit a homerun in Dodger Stadium

Michael Cuddyer because he still has something up his sleeve

Kelly Johnson because we knew the Mets were onto bigger and better things when he homered in his first game as a Met (against the Dodgers)

Kevin Plawecki and/or Matt Reynolds because you never know who’s going to get the big hit

It’ll happen tonight. If you need more inspiration to believe it’s true just remember what happened 19 years ago today:

LETS GO METS!

Jake Will Be Great

Sure I could’ve gone with deGrominant or some other meme. They’re childish (in a good way) and fun. However, this is a serious time. It’s a time for men. 

This is Jacob deGrom‘s time. He was supposed to be a reliever, but he forced his way into the starting rotation. He became the Rookie of the Year. He became an All Star. He was THE STORY of the All Star Game. He earned the right to be the Game One starter. He was deGrominant in that game (sorry, I couldn’t help myself). 

You know what else?  He’s been a stopper this year:

He has given the Mets a chance to win whenever they needed it most. That’s tonight. If all of this doesn’t show you he has an advantage tonight, there’s this:

There is every reason to believe he will be great tonight. There are legitimate reasons to believe deGrom will be better than Zack Greinke. Seriously, you have to invent reasons why deGrom and the Mets won’t be great tonight. 

The Mets have a huge game tonight. I’m confident they can win tonight because they have deGrom on the mound, and he will be great.

Lets Go Mets!

Jake and the Fatman

This postseason the Mets have had two breakout pitching stars: Jacob deGrom and Bartolo Colon

deGrom came out in Game 1, and had a historic night. Anytime you’re in the conversation with Tom Seaver, you know you’re in rarified air. He has proven that the Mets made the right decision in making him the Game 1 starter. If the pitched anything like Game 1 of the All Star team, the Mets will be in great shape. 

If the Mets need to go to the bullpen, they can go to the suddenly reliable Colon. In this NLDS , Colon has pitched in three games going four innings allowing not much more than a homerun to Adrian Gonzalez. He’s struck out five, and he has a 0.750 WHIP. He’s become the Mets best and most reliable reliever not named Jeurys Familia

Tonight, in this do or die Game 5, all hands are on deck. Hopefully, the Mets won’t need anyone else besides Jake and the Fatman before handing the ball to Familia for the save. If the Mets follow this formal they will earn a trip to the NLCS. 

There’s Reason to Hope

The Mets have to play a do or die Game 5 at Dodger Stadium against Zack Greinke. It’s a seemingly daunting task, but the Mets are more than capable of winning this game and going home to Citi Field for the NLCS. 

First, the Mets had Greinke beat at Dodger Stadium. We don’t need to go back there, but the Mets had a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning before all mayhem broke lose followed by some curious managerial decisions by Terry Collins. If none of this happened, it would’ve been the second time the Mets beat him. 

Second, the Mets have Jacob deGrom. He’s coming off a deGrominant Game 1 performance. The Dodgers hitters couldn’t touch him. They couldn’t hit him before the playoffs. There’s no reason to believe they’ll hit him now. 

Third, for some reason, home teams are ponderously bad in Game 5’s at home:

I’m not sure why this is the case, but I’ll take it. Sure, you could argue that the Dodgers won’t be susceptible to the same fate because they have Greinke, but history shows that may not be the case:

Anyone can lose a Game 5. Funny things can happen in a do or due game. The Mets have the better overall team. They have more weapons on offense. They just need deGrom to be deGrom. 

There’s legitimate hope the Mets can win Game 5. I think they’re going to do it. 

Kershaw Still Scares Me

There were three things we knew coming into the NLDS: (1) Clayton Kershaw has had trouble in the postseason; (2) pitchers do not pitch well on three days rest; and (3) Kershaw is awesome. 

In Game One, he was incredible. He struck out 11 Mets. When he left the game, he had only allowed one earned run (the other two were runners he left on base).  Kershaw showed the Mets why he’s the best pitcher in the game. Fortunately, the Mets had Jacob deGrom matched Kershaw pitch for pitch. He outlasted Kershaw. However, unlike deGrom, Kershaw is returning in three days rest. 

This will be the third time Kershaw has pitched on three days rest. In those prior starts he’s gone 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings. In those two starts he’s struck out 15 and walked three. He limited opponents to a .159 batting average. 

The Mets plan should be to do the same thing they did on Game One. Work the count and jump on the fastballs. If Kershaw is on, you need to help get him out of the game. He threw 113 pitches. He shouldn’t be good for more than 100 pitches. As his last two starts indicate, he’s not going past six innings. 

The Mets just need to keep it close until they can get into the Dodgers bullpen. The Mets did it for seven earned runs yesterday. If they do that, the Mets will be on their way to the NLCS. 

Happy Harvey Playoff Day

Between this past season, the missed workout, to the recent Boras interview, Mets fans were going to make Matt Harvey‘ first playoff start a referendum on him as a person and as a player. Then Ruben Tejada broke his leg due to a dirty Chase Utley “slide.”  

  
I know everyone wants to make it bigger than what it is, but one simple truth remains. Harvey’s only job is to put the Mets in a position to win. Jacob deGrom did. Noah Syndergaard did as well (even if the Mets lost). The reason we’re expecting more than that?  Well, it’s because it’s Harvey. 

Even after deGrom’s great year and his record setting Game One performance, Tery Collins came out and said:

He’s the ace on a staff of young aces. He’s the Dark Knight. He’s the guy who came back this year and gave Mets fans hope that all if this was possible.  Harvey helped turn this hope into reality.  Coming off of Tommy John surgery, he’s had a great year with terrific moments. 

He went into Yankee Stadium, and he went 8.1 innings allowing two runs and striking out seven. He’s shut down the highest scoring team in the majors. He was the winning pitcher when the Mets clinched the NL East. Famously, he stayed in that game later than originally intended to get ready for the playoffs. 

The playoffs are here. If you’re being honest, there is no one you want on the mound with the series tied 1-1 than a motivated Harvey. He’s motivated to show he’s better than deGrom. He’s motivated to avenge Tejada. He’s motivated to win the game. 

This is the biggest game of the year.  The Mets have never lost a home NLDS game. With Harvey in the mound, that’s not going to change. I’m expecting today to be a Happy Harvey Day.