By: Paul DiSclafani
For the first time in the history of the franchise, the Mets have swept a seven game playoff series, brushing aside the Cubs, Marty McFly and Murphy the Billy Goat to reach the World Series for the first time in 15 years with an 8-3 win.
The Mets did exactly what Chicago manager Joe Maddon was hoping to avoid, scored early and often, never giving the Cubs a chance to catch their breath. They scored four times in the first and followed it up with two more in the second for a surprising and devastating 6-0 lead.
The Mets never trailed in the short four game series.
Lucas Duda, who set a record for strikeouts in the NLDS with 12, hit a three run home run in the first inning, then followed it up with a two run double in the second and before you knew what was happening, the Mets had a 6-0 lead after just two innings.
As the Met fans began counting down the outs and shaking their head in disbelief that this team is on the precipice of the World Series, the only drama left was – would Daniel Murphy hit another home run? Of course he would.
With the Mets leading 6-1 in the eighth, Murphy came up, most likely, for the last time in the game. He tied a major league record in Game 3 by hitting a home run in five consecutive games. Murphy, who already had a 3-4 night, took a 1-1 pitch from Fernando Rodney to center, plunking it into the screen in front of the front row for a home run, and now stands alone. Daniel Murphy is now the only player in baseball history to have hit a home run in six consecutive postseason games. Let that sink in for a minute.
Murphy, who was voted as the NLCS Most Valuable Player, hit an unconscious .529 in the NLCS and has hit seven home runs in just nine postseason games.
Steven Matz gave up just four hits and two walks while working with a big lead, but he was lifted with two outs in the fifth when the Cubs, trailing 6-1, put two runners on with two outs. Manager Terry Collins was not about to nurse the rookie through the inning to get him the win, so he went immediately to Bartolo Colon to face rookie Kris Bryant.
Colon went to 3-2 on Bryant before getting him to swing and miss on a pitch in the dirt, ending the inning. The portly right-hander then pitched a scoreless sixth inning and got the win in relief.
Although the Mets had a 6-0 lead, the Cubs failed to capitalize on their best chance in the fourth inning when they loaded the bases with no outs against Matz. Starlin Castro jumped all over the first pitch, lining a shot to third, but David Wright leaped to make the catch, saving what would have been a game changing, bases clearing double. Instead, Matz limited the Cubs to just one run on a groundout.
Jeurys Familia came on in the night with an 8-3 lead to close things out. He has faced 33 batters in the postseason and allowed just two hits and walked two, recording a franchise record six saves.
For the third time in the last few weeks, the Mets celebrated on the opponent’s field. There is just one more hill to climb beginning next Tuesday in either Kansas City or Toronto. Don’t think it will matter.
This Mets team has a solid starting rotation and they are all getting hot at the same time.
The New York Mets are going to the World Series. How cool is that?