Posted by Ernest Dove at 10:00 AM
Yup, I once again busted out the kid pic. Girl has swagger, and so does Daniel Murphy and the New York Mets.
The Amazin's are on their way to the NLCS where they will have HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE against the Cubs. What else can possibly happen in this wild ride for a team many of us were hoping would play over .500 baseball and by some miracle squeeze out a wild card berth?
Lets start off by giving credit where credit is due........One Mr. Terry......Collins........
Game 5 is everything. No holds barred. Every hitter and pitcher on the 25 man roster is available. And out of nowhere our hero Jacob deGrom appeared to look a little off. The fastball velocity was there. But from the first inning it seemed like the Dodgers were just going to have one of those days where they make solid contact consistently and deGrom would be out early. In a playoff environment there is always the option of a short leash on pitchers. However, Terry Collins stayed the course and kept on keeping on with his ace. And even while beginning to show flashes of brilliance after the first inning, deGrom continued to have a few hiccups along the way. Yet Terry kept the faith in his man, and it paid off.
Then, after seemingly warming up since pre game, Terry bypassed the entire bullpen and brought in the hammer for the 7th. A rookie who's never pitched in relief as a major leaguer, and yet he's in there in game 5 of a playoff series. And Noah Syndergaard delivers. Pounding the strike zone and THIS time immediately going with his breaking stuff instead of all fastballs, and the Dodgers hitters were just not ready for it.
And then, all of a sudden, Terry brings in Familia for the 6 out save, despite the domination of Noah. Another gutsy call. At this point I was already thinking to myself.......Is Terry THAT confident in Familia? Is Terry so confident in the Mets winning this game that he is already preparing for Noah to be ready to start in the NLCS so only give him one inning here? Either way lightning struck again because Familia absolutely dominated the Dodgers through 2 strong innings, and kept his pitch count low as Dodgers hitters seemingly knew they were in trouble against Familia and decided to swing early and swing often to hope to make contact. Big shoutout and congrats to the manager of this team. He pulled the strings today and it played oh so beautifully.
Just Murph being Murph..........................................................................................
Well, I don't recall any occasions during this postseason where Mets Twitter went insane with Murphy pulling a Murph....... This time around its been Murph BEING Murph. He's the absolute MVP of the NLDS in my opinon. Daniel Murphy did what Daniel Murphy does.... He was aggressive at the plate, and aggressive on the bases.....and this time it all worked out amazingly. Murphy has been hitting the ball hard the entire postseason, and his work ethic and passion remain unquestioned. We spent most of September crowning Yoenis Cespedes the new king of New York and started demanding at 6-7 year contract for $25mil/year..... Well, maybe its time we spend a good portion of October demanding that Daniel Murphy not have a chance to leave New York either ;)
Familia + lead = Smoke em if you got em...........................................................................
What else can be said about the unquestioned MVP of the regular season for the Mets? Cespedes carried this team into the postseason by Familia is the main reason the Mets still had a chance in the first place. And last night he just completed the biggest save of his major league career. And he did it by recording the most outs to complete a save in his major league career. Not only that but Familia is becoming so dominant that opposing hitters are now doing their best to pretty much swing early and swing often, because they figure if they get behind in the count they're finished. And this even his pitch count was low, and if that keeps up into the NLCS then the Cubs better watch out.
Wait.................so you mean there's more games ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?
All of a sudden, the team that squandered home field advantage to end the regular season for the NLDS will not have said advantage in the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs. What can we expect here?
Well, in this case lets start with......well.....pitching, what else? Jacob deGrom is spending his October becoming the legitimate ace of the New York Mets and one of the best overall pitchers in the MLB. Rather than overreact and state perfection, I would like to simply state we can perhaps expect two more 'quality starts' from deGrom in the NLCS. He was coming off regular rest for game 5 against the Dodgers, so I personally do not expect any hangover from overuse going into the NLCS.
And, again, my two cent non informed or non insider information self now speculates that Noah Syndergaard can easily slide into pitching game 2 of the NLCS after having only pitched one inning last night. And if Thor takes that random relief role to heart and uses that mentality on the mound in this next game than I expect domination. Noah was striking quickly with his breaking stuff and should remember his success going further.
Oh, and by the way I haven't mentioned the Dark Knight yet. My opinion is that we should expect Matt Harvey to take the mound at Citi Field to start us off against the Cubs, and the fans will quickly forgive and forget everything and cheer on the man. Matt Harvey came to pitch. He surprised many in how he pitched into the postseason as far as number of innings and pitches thrown, and I expect Harvey to have close to a normal playoff level unlimited type pitch count in this game. Although I also won't get carried away, and I will possibly predict that this may in fact be the only game he starts in the NLDS.
I also fully expect Steven Matz to start and perform well in the NLCS. He's gotten the jitters out of the way and pitched pretty much a full start now in the postseason so he should be ready to go.
Will we see some slump busters in the NLCS ?????????????????????????????????????????????
I seriously keep forgetting that our captain, after almost singlehandedly winning game 1 with a clutch single, actually went hitless the rest of the way. Analysts discussed their thought on David's approach, possibly thoughts on too many pulled balls rather than going the other way naturally, but regardless the fact remains he's been hitless. I fully expect David to snap out of it in the NLCS ( I just enjoy writing NLCS). I expect David to continue to play everyday thanks to the playoff schedule and I expect him to bat 2nd. Nothing else to say, he's the captain of the franchise and he will prepare himself for the next series.
Well, then there is Lucas Duda. I'm not sure what to say here. I'm not sure I have every seen Duda been a slump this bad. Not so much the batting average but the fact that he pretty much struck out in almost every bat in the postseason. He's swinging at everything, ball or strike, and just doesn't seem to have any kind of timing at all right now at the plate. I still have not heard any positive news out of Mets camp regarding Juan Uribe, and I just don't think that the Mets would consider starting Kelly Johnson over Duda against an opposing righty pitcher, and I don't really know what the alternatives really would be right now. Would the Mets now go back to the well and start Michael Cuddyer at first against an opposing lefty in this series? I'm personally against benching Duda against any/all righties the Cubs have, but a Lester type might warrant a decision here.
Regarding our cult hero Wilmer Flores, I didn't get my wish of him homering in game 5 but he did have a hit in the game. I'm still holding onto my dreams of Wilmer hitting a moonshot in the postseason, and I still believe he is not nervous and will not shy away from a big at bat in a big situation going forward.
Keeping my bias I'm giving the edge to the Metsies. I feel comfortable with the Mets now heading into a 7 game series with 4 solid pitchers who can all conceivably go with the version of unlimited pitch counts so to speak in every game of the series.
No point in stating the regular season series stats and record of the teams when they played each other because A: that was the regular season and B: the Mets have a new team anyway from when the Cubs last played them.
For me the biggest questions that come to mind are what to do with Lucas Duda and Michael Conforto. Right from game 1, with lefty John Lester tentatively scheduled to be the guy, will one or both be on the bench?
It was pointed out a little on twitter that Juan Lagares is quietly having himself a decent time of it out there. Do Mets keep Lagares in there to start game 1 with Conforto on the bench. Can Mets trust Michael Cuddyer against a high priced lefty anymore than Lucas Duda against anyone right now?
The bottom line is the Cubs just literally homered their way into the NLCS, and they will now be playing at a pitcher friendly ballpark against a team fielding 4 stud pitchers who all throw 95+ and a reliever who has been close to unhittable lately.
And Again, the way the Dodgers series played out, the playoff scheduling allows for the Mets to still pretty much be well rested with their pitchers, especially since they made that decision to go with Matz in game 4 instead of deGrom. Colon will now be rested up and ready to go multiple innings as needed. At some point I think Terry Collins will make that risky decision to go with Niese against Rizzo. I believe that Terry will also not hesitate to have Familia warming up in the 8th of any/all games necessary. However, at some point, if the starters don't go at least 6 or 7, I expect Tyler Clippard and Reed to see action in the next series. They've proven themselves during the year at times and they may need to be counted on in a 7 game series.
Oh, and I expect Citi Field to be ROCKIN. Ladies and gentlemen we are about to watch the 6th playoff game the Mets have participated in this year....... That's 6 more than they've had in the past 9 years. And instead of Harvey pitching a pivotal game 3 it might be deGrom this time. Stars shine in October. The Mets have stars.....................and don't count out Yoenis Cespedes. He's got some homers left in him.