As baseball has evolved into this statistically oriented and scientifically executed game, often times the human element of the game itself gets forgotten.
The human element is an old school belief based on gut feelings, intuition, hunches and rolls of the dice, which truly support the notion that this game is not played on a computer, and it is indeed played by people who have spirits, inspiration and a desire to win, able to rise above stats which may seemingly be stacked against the,m in any given moment.
Daniel Murphy is clear cut proof that guile and guts – the, “intangibles” of a player – hold true value to a club, especially in a playoff series and in a do-or-die game when one little mistake can send a player and a team home for a winter full of regrets and, “what if’s.”
Baseball scientists hate the word, “intangible,” since there’s no way to support it’s value statistically.
But indeed, it does have value, both unspoken and underrated.
The statistics suggest Murphy doesn’t hit for power against left-handed pitching – he had one home run against southpaws during the regular year.
He hit two home runs against Clayton Kershaw in the first four games of this series.
The stats say Zack Greinke can’t be beat when handed a lead – he was 19-0 in 2015 when given a lead.
Tell that to Murphy, too. (more…)
The Mets came from behind to defeat the Dodgers in game five of the Division Series on Thursday, defeating Los Angeles by the score of 3-2 at Dodger Stadium, eliminating the Dodgers to move on to the 2015 National League Championship Series.
Here are my takeaways from the win…
What a night for the Mets.
This was such a rollercoaster emotionally for the Mets. They jumped out to an early lead, coughed it up, looked helpless against Zack Greinke, but Jacob deGrom and the Mets offense simply found a way to get it done and win this absolutely fantastic Division Series.
New York jumped out to an early 1-0 lead against Greinke, who allowed an infield single to Curtis Granderson and a one-out double to Daniel Murphy to plate Granderson.
But deGrom did not have it at all out of the gate, and immediately allowed two runs in the first himself to put the Mets in a 2-1 deficit.
And for a while, it seemed like it was a 12-1 deficit, especially as the Dodgers continued to mount one threat after the next against deGrom and the Mets looked more and more helpless against Greinke and his hard and heavy stuff which was just falling off the table.
But the Mets hung in thanks to a glorious and hearty effort from deGrom, who didn’t budge and held the Dodgers to just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position (and 0-for-their-last-11) during his outing.
That allowed the Mets to stay in this game, and they made some things happen in the fourth inning when Murphy singled, advanced to second on a walk to Lucas Duda, and then immediately stole third because the Dodgers shifted against Duda That setup a run scoring opportunity for Travis d’Arnaud who hit a sacrifice fly to drive Murphy home.
That tied things up, and that was the absolute turning point in this game as the Dodgers and the home crowd were completely stunned by Murphy’s actions.
Things would remain tied until Murphy came up against Greinke again in the sixth inning.
That’s when Murphy launched a solo home run to right field – his third of the series – to give the Mets a 3-2 lead, a lead they would not relinquish thanks to more stinginess from deGrom and a lights out performance by Noah Syndergaard and a six-out save from Jeurys Familia.
And for Familia, he recorded his first six-out save of his career. And he was utterly dominant in the process.
And for the club’s gutsy effort in game five and really this entire series with so much controversy in game two, they are rewarded with a return trip to the National League Championship Series. They will host the Cubs in game one on Saturday night at Citi Field.
All guts, all heart.
What can you say about Jacob deGrom? My word, what a performance by the Mets ace.
He just didn’t have it at all for the first four innings. He couldn’t locate his fastball, he had no change-up, his pitches were up, and it seemed like he was going to be a goner as early as the first or second inning.
He battled traffic all night long, but he finally found his command in the fifth inning and he was electrifying the Dodgers hitters from that point forward.
That’s not to say this was at all easy for him, because again he had nothing at all, to the point Terry Collins had Noah Syndergaard up warming in the bullpen on numerous occasions. But he was able to concentrate, live in the moment, and get big outs, specifically in the third and fourth inning when he got two consecutive strikeouts in each frame to thwart the Dodgers threats.
This performance by deGrom was just tremendous. Not because he pitched well, rather he showed his guile, mettle and will to win. He was dead meat so many times in this game, but he showed how much heart and guile he had with six unbelievably gutsy innings, and he shut the door on the Dodgers season with the most memorable performance by a Met pitcher in years.
He showed tonight he is unquestionably a star and a true ace in this game of baseball.
The Daniel Murphy show.
What a performance this week by the Mets second baseman.
He single-handedly carried the Mets offense in this one, and pretty much through the entire series. He hit three home runs against both Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in these five games, and was the offense for the Mets in the clincher tonight.
He doubled in Curtis Granderson in the first. He singled in the fourth, and when Lucas Duda drew a walk against Greinke, Murphy advanced to third because the Dodgers had shifted on Duda, and nobody was on the left side of the infield. So, Murphy stole third. That setup Travis d’Arnaud, who drove him in with a sac fly to tie the game.
Then, he homered off Greinke in the sixth inning to give the Mets a lead they would ride right into the NLCS.
It’s never pretty when Murphy’s involved, and that’s putting it mildly. But he’s a gritty, blue-collar player who just wants to win. Sometimes that causes him to make mistakes, but you can never question this guys effort and desire, even when things are going poorly for him.
Upward and onward.
The Mets will now head home and immediately start preparing for the Cubs, who ill also head to New York for what should be an awesome National League Championship Series.
The Mets have their work cut out for them. Remember, the Mets did not beat the Cubs during the regular year, and they have to get that monkey off their back without hesitation.
But that’s talk for another day. Right now, the Mets should be proud of themselves for conquering the Dodgers in this series, and getting through Greinke and Kershaw in what was a fantastic and hard fought Division Series. It should be a fun night for the Mets in America’s skies tonight.
Other notes from Thursday:
The Mets have won all four of their Division Series in franchise history, defeating the Diamondbacks in 1999, the Giants in 2000, and the Dodgers in both 2000 and 2006. They improved to 12-4 in the Division Series all-time.
The Mets improved to 3-3 in winner-take-all games with their win on Thursday. They’re now 8-5 all-time when facing elimination in the postseason.
The Mets are 7-4 all-time in game five of a playoff series, and won their first ever on the road.
Lucas Duda and David Wright combined to go 3-for-34 with 18 strikeouts in the five games in this series.
The Mets and Dodgers combined for 111 strikeouts in the five-game series.
Aside from Jeurys Familia, the steadiest arm the Mets have in the bullpen could be one that has made eight regular season appearances out of the bullpen among the 475 he’s made in his career.
It’s a guy who had 14 regular season victories, the most on the pitching staff. He has more wins as a Met in the last two years than anyone else on the pitching staff as well.
That guy’s name is Bartolo Colon, who has stepped in seamlessly as a key reliever for the Mets in a bullpen which hasn’t seen it’s best times during the course of the playoffs to date.
Colon has appeared in there of the first four games of the Division Series against the Dodgers and has really done his job in all of them despite being charged with a blown save and a run in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium. (more…)