Jacob deGrom has been more overpowering, but never has the Mets’ ace been more impressive. And, Daniel Murphy, quite simply, has never been better.
Together “The Mane’’ and “The Beard’’ combined to give the Mets an unlikely 3-2 victory over Los Angeles to send them to the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs. At the start of the season, nobody, and I mean, nobody, would’ve bet that scenario.
MURPHY: Carried Mets’ offense. (AP)
After Clayton Kershaw stuffed the Mets in Game 4 to send the series back to Los Angeles and another meeting against Zack Greinke, the Mets were heavy underdogs.
However, as they have all season, the Mets found a way to persevere. They overcame injuries, slumps and losing streaks, and today find themselves getting ready to host the NLCS come Saturday night.
With David Wright and Lucas Duda not giving the Mets anything offensively in this series, they somehow found a way.
“This team has tremendous fight,’’ said joyous manager Terry Collins. “It’s been that way all season. Whenever we have a tough game, we’ve been able to bounce back.’’
DeGrom struck out 13 Dodgers in Game 1. It seemed as if he stranded that many Dodgers. It was only seven, but five in scoring position. The game could have been over by the fifth. Game 1 was all about stuff; tonight it was guts.
The Mets gave deGrom a 1-0 lead in the first on Murphy’s RBI double, but the Dodgers came back with two in their half of the inning. The Dodgers could have blown the game open, but deGrom never cracked.
“People ask me, what kind of make-up does he have?’’ Collins said. “He had command of nothing and battled and battled and battled. There were about four times he was a batter away from coming out of the game.’’
“That’s why he is who he is,’’ Wright said.
“Unbelievable,’’ Murphy said. “That was more impressive than in the first start because that one could have gotten away from him.’’
That man Murphy tied the game in the fourth. After a leadoff single, Duda walked and Murphy casually jogged to second. With three Dodgers bunched around second – courtesy of the shift – Murphy took off for third, where he scored of a foul-ball sacrifice fly.
“Any time somebody shifts, it doesn’t leave them in position to defend that,’’ Murphy said. “I didn’t want to give it away.’’
Then, in the sixth, Murphy, who will be a free-agent this winter, cranked his third homer of the NLDS; two off Kershaw and one off Greinke.
“He’s been unbelievable,’’ Wright said. “I’ve seen him locked in before, but he’s as locked in as I’ve ever seen him.’’
Murphy is as understated a player as the Mets have, and he quietly said, “sometimes the blessings come.’’
Just how well the Mets will be blessed in the coming weeks remains to be seen, but so far it has been a joyous ride.
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