The Mets Win The Pennant
I missed the most important part of the New York Mets’ Game 4 clinching of the National League pennant. The Wednesday Night men’s league I play basketball in had opening night and by the time we went out afterward to watch the end the Mets had it well in hand with a 6-1 lead.
But we were still in time to watch Daniel Murphy put the finishing touches on his incredible League Championship Series, homering in the eighth inning and providing one last bit of insurance in the 8-3 win over the Chicago Cubs.
What I missed was Lucas Duda dominating the first two innings, hitting a two-out, two-run homer to begin the scoring in the first inning and then delivering an RBI double in the second. By the time I was tuned in, Wrigley Field sounded quieter than a church.
Murphy’s fourth home run of the NLCS was just one part of his night. He finished the game with four hits and he finished the series overall going 9-for-17. Did they even bother to hold a vote for NLCS MVP? Or did whomever oversees these things just decide that anyone who wouldn’t pick Murphy had no business voting? Of course, the second baseman joins the official list of October heroes as the MVP of this series.
The value of Murphy’s performance is underscored by the fact no one else really had a great series at the plate. Duda had the monster Game 4 after being mostly quiet for the first three games. David Wright was steady, thanks to his patience at the plate. The third baseman, who’s had such a rough career run with injuries in recent years, drew four walks to supplement 4-for-14 hitting with two doubles. No one other than Murphy batted over .300 for the series.
But Murphy, a little bit of Wright and an outburst from Duda was enough in a series where the starting pitching was so good. New York exposed Chicago’s lack of depth in the rotation. The Mets were the ones who were vulnerable when the series began, with their rotation out of whack after going the distance against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Division Series. But even with Jacob de Grom not available until Game 3, the Mets beat Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta. The Cubs had no answer in the 3-4 spots of their rotation.
The electric young arms—de Grom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and closer Jeurys Familia joined Murphy in carrying the Mets to their fifth National League pennant. On the North Side of Chicago, it’s another day to “wait till next year.”
There was no celebration in Toronto yesterday. The Blue Jays saw to that, with an easy 7-1 win over the Kansas City Royals to extend the American League Championship Series to at least Friday.
Marco Estrada got the ball for Toronto with their season on the line. As one who lives just outside Milwaukee, it reminded me of the 2011 NLCS, when Estrada was Brewer and some around here felt he should have started a must-win Game 6 of that series against St. Louis. He didn’t, and Milwaukee lost a slugfest. Four years later, Estrada gave some vindication to those who felt he’d been passed over.
He pitched 7 2/3 innings, gave up just three hits and by the time the Royals got on the board in the eighth, the game was long over. Troy Tulowitzki’s bases-clearing double in the sixth broke open a close game and destroyed what had begun as a nice outing for KC starter Edinson Volquez.
The ALCS resumes Friday night back in Kansas City with the Royals getting two shots to close. David Price can put a lot of postseason demons to rest if he can keep Toronto alive to a Game 7.