For the first time in 15 years, the New York Mets are heading to the World Series. For the first time in nearly 30 years, they’re on pace to be the favorite to win it all.
By Jeff Weisinger
The last time the New York Mets were in the National league Championship Series, Carlos Beltran looked at strike three in the final out against the St. Louis Cardinals, sending the Cards to the Fall Classic.
The Mets, on the other hand, would begin a nine-year stretch that included two years where they choked away a shot at returning to the playoffs, a 2009 season where they witnessed the Yankees win (another) World Series title followed by five years of being one of the jokes of the league.
When Jeurys Familia struck out Dexter Fowler looking on a full count for the final out of the 2015 NLCS, it seemed as if whatever punishment the Mets suffered from the Bernie Madoff scandal in the beginning of the decade ended. The Mets have established themselves as New York’s team, spotlight, glamour, stars and everything. The spotlight, for the first time in a very, very long time is on Flushing, Queens.
The Mets dominating 8-3 pennant-clinching win over the Chicago Cubs wasn’t necessarily what “Back to the Future II” predicted, however it proved the Mets all-around dominance throughout the postseason.
“Let’s get this over now,” Mets manager Terry Collins said before the game. “Let’s go out there and play our game and let’s go home.”
Although starter Steven Matz only went 4 2/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out four, the Mets lineup stepped up as first baseman Lucas Duda silenced the excited Wrigley Field crowd with a three-run homer off of Jason Hammel with two outs in the first. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud followed Duda’s home run with a homer of his own to give the Mets a 4-0 lead after the top of the first inning, setting the tone for the Mets from the very start.
Duda hit an RBI double in the top of the second inning with two outs to extend the Mets lead to 6-0 after just the first five outs of the game.
But you can’t talk about this Mets lineup without talking about second baseman Daniel Murphy, who homered in the eighth inning to become the first player in baseball history to homer in six straight postseason games. Murphy hit .529 during the NLCS (9-for-17) with four homers and six RBI, easily winning the NLCS MVP award.
Only the Kansas City Royals are hitting better (.270 combined) than the New York Mets in the postseason right now (.235).
Pitching was supposed to be what the Mets strong arm in 2015, literally, however the Mets offensive lineup has been just as dominant throughout the month of October, if not more than the Mets pitching rotation. It’s actually astonishing to watch considering how the Mets could barely scratch a run just three months ago.
Then Yoenis Cespedes came and … well, the rest is history.
But that’s not to say the Mets haven’t handled business on the mound during the Postseason. The Mets lead all playoff teams in ERA (2.81) and were third amongst the LCS teams in strikeouts (91). The Royals pitching staff leads the Postseason with 103 strikeouts.
The dominant Mets sweep is their first four-game postseason sweep in the franchise’s 54-year history and also made them just the sixth major league team to never trail while sweeping a best-of-seven series, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The closest the Cubs game to leading in the NLCS was in Game 3 Tuesday night with the scored tied at six in the sixth when the Mets scored on a wild pitch by Trevor Cahill to go up 3-2 with two outs. The Mets won that game 5-2.
Now comes the true challenge ahead for the Mets: finishing through. There’s getting to the World Series, and then there’s winning it. If this team can stay on their current pace on both sides of the ball, there’s no reason that they won’t raise a World Series trophy at the end of it all.
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