Friday, October 16, 2015

Murphy Proves To Be Greinke’s Kryptonite

The NLCS Matchup was finalized last night thanks to Jacob deGrom putting up another solid performance and Daniel Murphy having probably his best game of the season if not his career. Those where the two players that lifted the Mets to victory over the heavily favored Dodgers who had 2015 Cy Young candidate, and previous winner, Zack Greinke on the mound. With the victory, the Mets will now face the Cubs who are equally young and equally talented. The first postseason matchup between the teams should be a series to remember.   

Mets Eliminate Dodgers 6-3

The carpet in Dodger Stadium's visiting clubhouse was soaked so thoroughly that a pool formed in the center of it. Mets players ditched their spikes and eventually even their shower sandals, wading through the beer-soaked muck in bright blue socks. They gathered around at one point as pitcher Jon Niese, with a running start, slid on his belly along the length of the puddle. The Mets were celebrating. Again. Their Daniel Murphy-fueled 3-2 win over the Dodgers in Game 5 gave them a National League Division Series victory, clinching their date in the NL Championship Series, which begins Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET, TBS) against the Cubs at Citi Field. They donned goggles and sprayed champagne for the second time in three weeks. "This champagne tastes even sweeter having gone through what we've been through as an organization these last nine years," third baseman David Wright said, referring to the Mets' last NLCS appearance in 2006. "This city, this fan base, the guys that put this uniform on, it's very rewarding to be here now, having experienced everything we've experienced." Four years after the Dodgers attempted to trade for him, Murphy slugged his third home run of the series and stole a critical base, propelling the Mets to victory in the best-of-five series. It was their third win in six winner-take-all games, while the Dodgers lost a sudden-death game for the first time in Los Angeles history (4-1) and are now 5-4 in franchise history. "We came into a five-game series and you saw [Clayton] Kershaw twice and [Zack] Greinke twice," said manager Terry Collins, whose team beat both of the Dodgers' top two starters. "That may not be fair. But we'll take what we got. We got the wins that we needed, and we're going to go party for a little while, and take a day off and get ready for the NLCS. And it will be a lot of fun." Murphy homered off Game 2 winner Greinke with one out in the sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie, after doubling in New York's first-inning run. He then singled and added a heads-up steal of third base when the Dodgers' defense fell asleep while shifted, en route to scoring the second run in the fourth inning. "For the entire ballclub, this is unbelievable," Murphy said. "This is such a lot of hard work. From the top of the organization to the bottom, from what [general manager] Sandy [Alderson] was able to give us at the Trade Deadline to the way guys have played, everybody has gotten a piece of this at some point. That's what makes it so special." On the home run, Greinke worked out of the windup until the crucial 3-2 pitch, which he delivered out of the stretch, and Murphy lined it into the right-field box seats. Murphy hit .333 with five RBIs in the series. The Dodgers, who led the league in home runs, were outhomered by the Mets in the series, 7-2. "I was trying to do something different," Greinke said. "I did [it] earlier on [Lucas] Duda and it worked. But it didn't work that time. I was pitching good out of the stretch, so I felt confident both ways. If he was seeing something from me in the windup, I wanted to switch it up." Game 1 winner Jacob deGrom was the winning pitcher for New York, even though he was so shaky early that Collins had starter Noah Syndergaard warming up in the second inning. deGrom lasted six innings with seven strikeouts, and he was relieved by Syndergaard and then Jeurys Familia, who pitched two innings for the save. "If he didn't show you tonight, he had command of nothing, and all he did was battle and battle and battle to give you six innings," Collins said of deGrom. "It's unbelievable. I don't know. There were four times in the game he was one hit away from coming out of the game. Ended up giving us six innings, so I'm real proud of him." The Dodgers had runners in scoring position in each of the first five innings, but they went 2-for-13 in those at-bats, scoring twice in the first inning on consecutive singles by Corey Seager, Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner and Andre Ethier. With runners in scoring position, the Dodgers struck out six times and grounded into a double play. "That always scares you in a game, and you hope it doesn't come back to haunt you later in the game that if you leave some runs out there that we had a chance to get," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of the wasted chances. Turner, the former Met, continued to be the toughest out, adding two more doubles to bring his franchise record for the series to six, plus a single. He hit .526 in the series.


National League Championship Series
Chicago at New York
Game 1: Saturday, October 17, at 7:30 PM

American League Championship Series
Toronto at Kansas City
Game 1: Friday, October 16, at 7:30 PM


A Lot To Prove In 2016 – The morning after the Phillies traded Chase Utley in August, and shortly before he boarded a flight to join his new Dodgers teammates in Houston, the iconic Phillies second baseman sat in the clubhouse one final time to sign a few bats for people. A short time later, his locker was empty. Cody Asche lost his clubhouse neighbor that day, and he also lost one of his biggest supporters. Utley, like many inside the Phillies' organization, had an affinity for Asche, and it seems everybody wants him to succeed. They hope it happens next season because it might be Asche's final opportunity to prove himself in Philadelphia. Asche hit .245 with 22 doubles, three triples, 12 home runs, 39 RBIs and a .689 OPS in 456 plate appearances this season. If he had enough plate appearances to qualify, he would have ranked 121st out of 143 players in OPS. "If you're not improving in this game, it's kind of a loss," Asche said on the final day of the season. "It's always a goal as a player to improve every single day. You can sit and say what you are, and who you think you are, but until you do it, it's really just talk. It's going to be a long offseason for me. I just have to stay disciplined to make sure I'm doing everything I can to get better. "It's just the overall consistency of at-bats. The best hitters don't have those 10 to 12 at-bat lapses, where you kind of look lost. I think I have the ability to be a good hitter. It just comes down to being disciplined on a daily basis, being disciplined in every at-bat and every game over a long season." If Maikel Franco never existed, Asche would still be at third base, and the Phillies could afford to be more patient with him. But Franco established himself as the team's everyday third baseman, which forced Asche to the outfield. And the Phillies' outfield is getting more and more crowded. Odubel Herrera is the team's center fielder, following a strong rookie season. Aaron Altherr has earned a longer look with a combined 71 extra-base hits this year, including 20 in 161 plate appearances with the Phillies. In fact, Altherr's performance and potential probably will have Domonic Brown playing elsewhere next year. Top prospects Nick Williams and Roman Quinn could open next season in Triple-A, which means they could be in the big leagues at some point in 2016. The Phillies also figure to resign Jeff Francoeur or sign another veteran outfielder. That means if Asche is in Clearwater, Fla., in February for Spring Training, he will need to produce. "That's an unanswered question," Asche said, when asked if he knows where he stands entering the offseason. "I really think the answer lies within myself, and how I come out and play in Spring Training. It's up to me to take advantage and force my way back into the lineup."

The Phillies finally put an end to the season finishing in last place in the NL East with a record of 63-99. Given the departures, aging stars, injuries, and bipolar performances this season, this has ended up being one of the worst seasons in franchise history! However, there are some former Phillies still making headlines in the playoffs this year.

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