Oct 24

Murphy Showing Us The Folly Of WAR

Ladies and Gentlemen, I do not profess to be a disciple of baseball’s new statistical age. I do not know what Daniel Murphy’s regular season WAR was entering the playoffs, nor, do I know what his WAR is during this postseason.

I am sure somebody will find both numbers and post them with a delightful note how I don’t know anything. You may have your fun, but you will be wrong on that last point.

MURPHY: Can't measure this. (AP)

MURPHY: Can’t measure this. (AP)

WAR is a mathematical formula designed to provide a definite measure of a player’s ability to perform and produce. But, it is nonsense – or crap, ca ca, doo doo, bull or any other descriptor – for the simple reasons players are human and the variables of measure aren’t identical in each case.

These playoffs have shown us Murphy’s recent tear is beyond compare. He is having a once-in-a-lifetime stretch against the highest level of competition and under the hottest lights. That it is against Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta under the glare and intensity of the playoffs should account for more than it coming against the Miami Marlins in May, but it doesn’t. The math comes out the same.

WAR doesn’t account for the human element within the player, or the outside variables. If WAR were a true measure, wouldn’t all conditions be the same?

Everything would be identical, as is a true scientific survey the measuring samples should be the same: the opposing pitcher; the weather; the field conditions; the lighting; how much sleep he had; the game conditions; what he had for breakfast; is he getting along with his WAG; and the home plate umpire? (Speaking of which, it is a shame what happened last night to the Blue Jays, but then again, lousing umpiring is a human element.) Also, in the cases of Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens, you would need the steroid dosages.

All those variables are different for each hitter, which makes the final number nothing more than a wild guess. The only true stats are those we’ve had for over a century: hits, runs scored, runs driven in and average. Of course, the new age disregards those numbers, foolishly calling them obsolete.

I once had a conversation with a retired player about the preponderance of statistics, and he liked my idea of a do-your-job stat. Going into each at-bat a player has a specific objective, whether it be to get on base, advance a runner, or drive him in. The success of that at-bat is dependent on what he does.

That’s why strikeouts are a necessary measure, as they tell us of an empty at-bat. Today’s young, baseball minds want everything to be the same, but that is impossible.

Murphy’s do-your-job stat for this postseason is more than phenomenal. It probably is beyond comprehension as he’s not only doing his job, but everybody else’s, too.

Yeah, I know I am older than most of you, but I have no intention of lecturing. However, I have covered well over 2,000 games and probably seen another 1,000. I know this much, what Murphy is giving us exceeds amazing. It’s something beyond what WAR vainly attempts to do. It is something you can’t draft on FanDuel.

So, turn away from your calculators, computers and stat tables, because you’re missing a historical reckoning. I just wish I didn’t have to wait until Tuesday to see him play again because what he has is fleeting and I don’t want to see him lose it.

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Oct 23

Wright Responds To Cubs’ Gesture

Mets captain David Wright was extremely taken by the Cubs’ gesture of presenting him the third base bag from the deciding Game 4 of the NLCS.

In an email, Wright wrote the gesture was: “Incredibly cool. I’m very appreciative of the gesture and I will obviously display it proudly. Both the Cubs organization and the Cubs fans are top notch.”

Thanks David for your response.

ON DECK: Mets World Series rotation.

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Oct 23

Mets’ Fans Should Be Pulling For Toronto

As Mets fans, I would think you would be pulling for Toronto tonight and the ALCS to go seven games. Regardless of the opponent, the World Series starts Tuesday, but you want it to go seven to put a strain on whatever rotation gets in.

From the Mets’ pitching perspective, Toronto should be a better match-up. The Blue Jays have a powerful lineup, while the Royals tend to be more of a contact team. That being said, I can see Mets pitchers piling up the strikeouts.

Of course, the flip side to all this is Mets-killer Troy Tulowitzki. That reminds me, I wonder what Jose Reyes is thinking right about now. Reyes against the Mets in the World Series would have been fun.

ON DECK: Wright responds to Cubs gesture.

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Oct 20

DeGrom Does It Again; So Does Murphy

In the end, the ball getting lost in the Wrigley Field ivy turned out to be a footnote. Daniel Murphy homered for the fifth straight game, but even that wasn’t the headliner. But, in the end, as it has been this October, the real story was Jacob deGrom.

The Cubs homered twice off deGrom and had him on the ropes early, but as he did in Game 5 of the NLDS, he would not cave.

DeGROM: Does it again. (GETTY)

DeGROM: Does it again. (GETTY)

DeGrom has won his three postseason starts despite laboring in his last two. However, tonight he closed strong to complete seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts.

After a 29-pitch first inning, deGrom settled in and kept the ball low in the strike zone with his secondary pitches.

“In the first inning I was not locating my fastball,’’ deGrom said. “I made an adjustment early in the game and went to my off-speed pitches.”

In addition to deGrom and Murphy, the Mets manufactured a couple of runs. And, of a potential sign of things to come, David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes each had three hits.

The Mets will take a three-games-to-none series lead and can reach their fifth World Series in franchise history if they wrap it up Wednesday night behind Steven Matz. There have been 34 teams in history to take a 3-0 series lead and only one, the 2004 Yankees, failed to win.

“We’re not worried about that,’’ said Wright. “We’re worried about beating the Cubs tomorrow. … As we have won three games in a row, they can win three in a row. They have a good team over there.’’

It would be advantageous for the Mets to wrap this up tomorrow, as Kansas City has a 3-1 lead over Toronto in the American League. The World Series is scheduled to begin, Oct. 27, in the American League stadium.

The Mets need to put this away tomorrow as it will enable them to rest both deGrom and Matt Harvey, the scheduled Game 5 starter, who has a deep bruise on the back of his throwing arm.

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Oct 20

Mets Lineup, Game 3, NLCS

Here is the Mets’ lineup for Game 3 of the NLCS tonight in Chicago:

Curtis Granderson – RF
David Wright – 3B
Daniel Murphy – 2B
Yoenis Cespedes – CF
Lucas Duda – 1B
Travis d’Arnaud – C
Michael Conforto – LF
Wilmer Flores – SS
Jacob deGrom – RHP

COMMENTS: Up 2-0, there’s no reason to substantially change anything. … There was some thought as to dropping Wright in the order, but to where?  Keep him second and hope he snaps out of it. And, whatever Murphy is doing keep everything the same. Don’t even change his socks. … They really aren’t doing anything with Cespedes and Duda, are they?

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