Daniel Murphy proved why he is the heart and soul of the New York Mets with his dramatic performances throughout the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
By David Hong
The New York Mets advanced to the NLCS vs the Chicago Cubs after a thrilling 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLDS.
As much as Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia deserve a lot of credit for their dramatic Game 5 win, one offensive Met player deserves as much credit not only for this win, but the entire series.
The man in question? Daniel Murphy.
That’s right. Murphy not only came up huge in Game 5 in a big way, but especially throughout the NLDS.
Let’s start with Game 1. Murphy jumpstarted this series by hitting a stunning solo home run off Clayton Kershaw in the fourth inning to give the Mets a 1-0 lead, eventually leading to a 3-1 Mets victory, after which New York took a 1-0 series lead.
Considering that the homer was off the three-time Cy Young winner in a lefty-lefty matchup, it was even more impressive. Murphy only hit one home run off a lefty pitcher in the entire 2015 regular season.
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) October 16, 2015
After the Mets lost a controversial Game 2, to have the series tied apiece, the Mets crushed the Dodgers 13-4. Murphy had a big at bat in the 4th inning, when, after David Wright was intentionally walked, Murphy had an RBI single that kept the inning alive, setting the stage for Yoenis Cespedes’s monstrous, three-run home run. The Mets lost Game 4, but Murphy provided the only offensive Mets moment by homering off Kershaw again. And then, finally in Game 5, in perhaps his best offensive performance of his career, Murphy had 3 hits in 4 at bats. His RBI double gave the Mets a 1-0 lead in the first inning. In his next at bat, after he singled, he made an alert play by stealing third when he saw no one covering. He eventually scored on the Travis d’Arnaud’s fly out. Finally, Murphy struck the go-ahead, solo home run off Zack Greinke, which eventually became the game-winning run, sending the Mets to the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs. Overall, Murphy hit .333 in this series. If you want to know how valuable Murphy has been to the Mets, the entire NLDS will tell you the story. You can say all you want about Murphy’s deficiencies, how he can’t field at times, and sometimes, his baserunning is shabby. But Murphy has always been a gamer, a hustler. He’s always gritty and plays hard all the time.
Ultimately, he has always been a solid hitter. He may never have 20 home run power, but he’s a 15 home run man who he always seems to have a good, hard-fought at-bat. Plus, he hardly strikes out and makes contact. No question, he’s clutch when the Mets need him most.
And that’s what he was in this series, getting clutch hit after hit. Right now, there’s definitely no one on the Mets that I want in a big spot than Murphy, and he delivered.
With David Wright and Lucas Duda struggling, the Mets clearly would not be in the NLCS without Murphy. He was certainly a one man offensive show in Game 5.
In the end, he showed in this entire series just how valuable a hitter and player he was.
Murphy may not be the most powerful hitter on the team, nor the fastest, and maybe not even the most gifted hitter on the squad. But he clearly has been the most consistent hitter for the Mets over the last several years, always hitting close to .300. He’s a smart hitter with good bat control, whose tendency to hit doubles in the gap is tailor-made for a spacious Citi Field.
After his heroics this series, it’s finally time to recognize the true impact that Murphy provides, and that he has been one of the main anchors of the Mets lineup.
With him being a free agent after this season, I know there hasn’t been much talk about re-negotiating with him. But based on the way Murph has played, especially in this series, along with the impact he’s made, how could you not even consider at least trying to re-sign him?