2015 marked the first postseason appearance in nine years (and now the first World Series visit in 15 years) for New York City’s less storied baseball franchise, the Mets. After the vast majority of sports writers wrote them off in the preseason, the Mets proceeded to post a 15-8 record in the month of April. After a brief cool down, the team then went on to steal the National League East away from the glorified Washington Nationals by mid-September.
Much like his team did in the regular season, New York second baseman Daniel Murphy caught fire to start the postseason. Instead of stopping, dropping and rolling, Mr. Murphy picked up a bat and went on to tear apart some of the best pitchers the league has to offer. Not only did he hit seven home runs in nine games, he hit them against 2015 Cy Young Award leaders Zack Greinke and Jake Arrieta. He even homered twice off of perennial Cy Young finalist Clayton Kershaw.
However, the blinding light created by Murphy’s hot streak has caused some people to ignore the accomplishments of some other New York Mets. Baseball, after all, always has been and always will be a team effort, and no one player is responsible for a World Series run. So what exactly have the other Mets done?
To start, outfielders Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes have combined to drive in 14 runs so far. Going a combined 19-67 in the nine games, the two have come up with big hits at the right time. Quite literally for Cespedes, who hit a three-run homer into the second deck during game 3 of the Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mets went on to win that game and take a 2-1 advantage in the series.
New York clinched their sweep in the Championship Series behind the unexpected production from their slumping first baseman, Lucas Duda. Duda had collected 13 strikeouts and only three hits during the postseason up until game four of the NLCS. But then, only a day after manager Terry Collins claimed that the first baseman would be key to advancing in the playoffs, Duda doubled his playoffs hit total and drove in five runs in what turned out to be a five run victory for the Mets.
As Murphy’s hot streak could end at any time, New York is definitely hoping Duda’s performance in that game rolls over into the World Series.
But how about non-fielding players? Well, perhaps most importantly, the Mets’ young pitching staff continues to dominate at every opportunity. The pair of Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard (or blonde Jacob DeGrom) is a potential rival to the dual threat of Kershaw and Greinke in Los Angeles as the most lethal starter combination in Major League Baseball.
Fans and writers alike wondered how the young arms of the Mets would stack up against the young bats of the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series. The answer came very quickly. The Cubs, who homered six times in one game during the Division Series, only managed to hit four in the entire NLCS. The Mets finished the series with as many runs as the Cubs had hits (21).
The Mets four starters (Matt Harvey, DeGrom, Syndergaard and Steven Matz) combined for 29 strikeouts and only allowed six runs. Perhaps more impressively, the New York bullpen gave up two runs total in four games. And both of those came off of one very powerful swing by Cubs rookie Kris Bryant.
Overall, those who want the Mets to win the 2015 World Series can hang their hopes on a lot more than the continuing production of Daniel Murphy. A whole host of talent has brought this franchise to new heights, and even when Murphy’s red-hot bat eventually burns away, the supporting cast will still be there to back him up.
All statistics and figures for this column were taken from www.baseball-reference.com