Alexander Han - Mainly Murphy

Mack Ade

When you come out on top of a series, it’s a lot easier to appreciate the beauty of the game. These oddities and idiosyncrasies that are unique to baseball look a lot better when the dice rolled and stopped in your favour. 

Baseball is fiendishly hard to predict. Unlike most other sports. If I tell you the New England Patriots will win the Superbowl, you can usually guess who will be the MVP. But who could have predicted that Daniel Murphy would be the (unofficial) series MVP? More pointedly, who would have predicted that Murphy, our consistent .290 line drive hitter, who makes so many baserunning errors, would have won the series for the Mets through home runs and baserunning intelligence. Really?

Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers’ President of Baseball Operations, pointed out that in a playoff series, it’s one team that wins around 65% of its games, against a team that wins around 60% of its games. Hard to predict. 

The one thing, the only thing, that I predicted correctly about this entire series, was that Game 5 would be won on an unexpected fielding or baserunning play. How often do we turn to each other and say, “I’ve never seen that before.” During this series, we saw five of the league’s top 15 pitchers square off.  A few of the most exciting rookie batters. And yet, I think it’s fair to say that the series turned on two baserunning plays. One a regular double-play invested with all the aggression and violence that comes with a winner-takes-all series. The other, a routine base-on-balls turned into a moment of thievery and wit. Now that, Daniel Murphy, was a Baseball Play. 

Of all people, how could it be Murphy, the guy we appreciate for his solid contact hitting, at whom we shake our heads when he makes another fielding flub, another baserunning gaffe. I believe I may have posted in one of the comment boxes two weeks ago, that Daniel Murphy was going to cost us the playoffs with one of his crazy plays. If it wasn’t me that wrote it, it was definitely one of you. And now it feels like all those maddening outs in the past were all just a lead-up to this brilliant steal of a run, of a game, of a series. 

There is a beautiful interview with Zach Greinke on MLB. Greinke, looking a little like he’s in disbelief, stammers and mumbles, and says he thought he threw the ball well. Which he did - it was impressive to see the laser control he had of all his pitches  But, he keeps saying, Murphy. I got them all out, besides Murphy. It was, he says, “mainly Murphy.”

And so now to the Cubs. Two teams of destiny meet each other. Two teams that have often fought hard battles with each other throughout history, yet have never met in the postseason - in large part because for many years they were in the same division, back in those days when a division winner was something a little more final.

This just might be start of a new Cubs-Mets rivalry.  The team with the young pitching talent against the team with the young hitting talent. Both teams were expected to start a new era of strength, and both teams have come up a year earlier than expected to fight for the pennant. 

In any case, it will be a different series to the one we just finished. The Dodgers-Mets series was all about Kershaw and Greinke. Two of the top three pitchers in the National League were starting 4 of 5 games, or 80%, and the Mets had to take at least two to win. 

This Cubs series will be different. Granted, we will face Jake Arrietta, the third member of the top three, but probably not more than twice as a starter. That is 2 games out of 7, or 29%. 

It being a 7-game series means that the depth of our starting staff will be more of a factor. Our collection of four aces and near-aces will be more of a competitive edge than they were in the best of five. And we will need all that edge, with the way the Cubs are slugging the ball. 

Whereas the Dodgers series was mostly made up of tight pitching duels with a single run making the difference, I can see this Mets-Cubs series being a lot more freeflowing and topsy-turvy. I can see our offence liberated from “those animals”, swinging more like they did in Game 3 against Brett Anderson. On the other hand, I can see the Cubs sluggers knocking home runs off of all our starters after the Dodgers hit not one; Matt Harvey and Steven Matz may struggle, and even deGrom will cough up some.

But then that’s my prediction. so I will most probably be entirely wrong. What do you see happening?


Mack Ade said...

I just can't believe the Mets are not going to try and resign this guy for one or two more years.

Why not a stop gap first baseman until Dom Smith is ready in mid-2016 or OD 2017?

bob gregory said...

Maybe the Mets will.

The times are changing in Flushing.
Reports are that there are less Noise Complaints resulting from the
squeals of pain from pennies that were pinched.

Remember though, you will be paying for Murphy's aggression. That will lead to bad decisions/results from him sometimes too.

Thomas Brennan said...

Murphy may make us sometimes want to pull our hair out, but he is a WINNER. When he faced Kershaw and Greinke, they knew it was not a man vs. boy contest. They knew it was man-to-man, that he was dangerous and that they had no edge over Murph. If you looked closely at their glove hands, you'd have seen both pitchers with their fingers crossed.

Whereas, vs. Duda, they were thinking, piece of cake, just make your pitches.

Like Murph, Grandy gave me that same equal-footing-with-pitcher feeling. He and Murph were locked-in, unintimidated professionals who expected to do damage. Against anyone.

Re-sign Murph.

bob gregory said...

I guess my question then goes out to all of the Dilson Herrera supporters the Dilson Herrera supporters.

How do you feel about bringing Murphy back>?

Mack Ade said...

I talk about this more tomorrow.

I would replace Duda with Murphy at 1B and play Herrera and Johnson on 2B

Thomas Brennan said...

I agree, Mack.

Thomas Brennan said...

I agree, Mack.

bob gregory said...


James Preller said...

Not going to talk offseason moves yet in any detail, other than to say that Murphy is going to look for 3 years, and maybe get 4. His flexibility on defense is so valuable in today's baseball -- and he puts the ball in play, an underrated skill these days.

I believe that Murphy rejects a one-year offer at $15.8. If the Mets want him, they need to go to market value.

When you consider the state of David Wright, who looks feeble, it's critically important that the Mets have a real backup plan. I think Tom is onto something with letting Duda go. He's due for a big arb raise and, let's not forget, he already turned Sandy down.

If Mets don't sign Cespedes, they must sign Murphy. Can't lose 'em both.

If Mets sign Murphy, they don't need Johnson. And if Murphy has to slide over to 3B full time, in the event Wright can't cut it, then it's relatively easier to find a fill-in at 1B.

I doubt Duda has huge market value, but power is always at a premium.

Look, I still have high expectations for Herrera. That hasn't changed. But Murphy is a fantastic, flexible piece that can fill in at 3 key spots.

Mets in 5.

Thomas Brennan said...

James, also consider that Dominic Smith seemed to be a very similar hitter in St Lucie to Conforto. Surely Smith was held back from AA due to age. He is getting older every day, though.

In other words, who is 5o say he couldn' t be ready in 2016 at some point. Murph to 3rd, Smith to first vs. Righties with Murph and Wright playing vs Lefties. Maybe.

Mack Ade said...


Well, there goes my morning report on Murphy... :)

Anonymous said...

If they sign Cespedes, I think they let Murphy walk. That's my take: It's either/or.

A lot of expenses coming up with the young players.

James Preller

Mack's Mets © 2012