Saturday, October 24, 2015

>>>>2015 NLCS Mets @Cubs -Game Three


The MFC cards for game three of the 2015 National League Championship Series. 
Nothing has ever been ordinary for the Mets in the postseason, and this series has been no exception.







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The Mets got it started in the first inning, as they have throughout the NLCS. I like this scoring in the first business. I hope they keep it up.


 In the first inning David Wright picked up Curtis Granderson who had reached on error and was erased attempting to steal second. The Captain lined a single to left and my only thought was that if Granderson was safe he would have scored.


Daniel Murphy struck out, proving he is only human, but this team backs each other up. This time it was Cespedes who came through to make it 1-0 Mets.



Lucas Duda ended the first by flying out to left field. A number of balls hit out to left became The Adventures Of Kyle Schwarber. This was one of his more successful adventures. Because he caught it.


Schwarber might be a risk in the field, but we learned why the Cubs take that risk. On a 3-2 pitch he reached out and popped a good pitch (high and outside, more than likely a ball) to opposite field in left for a game tying home run. Wrigley went wild with the game knotted at one.


Jacob deGrom got hit around a little bit in the first. He gave up the homer to Schwarber and a couple of singles to Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro. He threw 29 pitches in the first inning, and this was concerning. Would we be able to get six innings from deGrom? I was doubting it.


In the third inning it was Daniel Murphy time. Murphy was murdering the Cubs. It didn't matter who was pitching. What a fantastic postseason he is having. It brings to mind Carlos Beltran's offensive explosion for the Astros in 2004. But Murph is not known for hitting with power. What he's doing is amazin'.

Murphy was not letting up and his 6th postseason homer, his 5th in as many games, put New York up by a score of 2-1.



Cespedes almost made it back to back bombs, but Dexter Fowler made a fine catch at the ivy in straight center.



The Mets lead did not last for long. In the fourth inning Jorge Soler took deGrom deep and once again the game was tied 2-2.


The Cubs, however, had pinched hit for starter Kyle Hendricks in the inning and the Mets were now into Chicago's bullpen. Not much happened in the fifth but in the 6th inning things got a little wacky.

Yoenis Cespedes started it with a ground ball single through the hole into right. With no out Lucas Duda tried to beat the shift by laying down a bunt towards the left side of the infield.


It was not a good drag bunt, but it turned out to be a nice sacrifice bunt, moving Cespedes to 2nd and into scoring position. But that wasn't good enough for Yoenis.

New York was not what you would call a "running team" during the season. But you wouldn't have thought that watching them in the postseason. Knowing that this was one of the weaker parts of Chicago's game Mets manager Terry Collins took advantage.


And I know Cespedes is fast but his steal of 3rd base was ridiculous. He beat the throw by wide margin and the Mets had a man on 3rd with one out. Travis d'Arnaud followed with a ground out literally right to third base, freezing Cespedes at the bag. With two out this brought up super-rook Michael Conforto.


Cubs reliever Trevor Cahill was pounding Conforto with low inside curve balls and did get Mike to fish for a few. Conforto even fished for the third strike, which he swung over as the ball dove into the dirt a good foot in front of Cubs catcher Miguel Montero. 

Montero, who was doing a really nice job keeping Cahill's pitches from going to the backstop with a variety of blocks, couldn't stop this one and it squirted through him. Conforto took off for first and Cespedes flew down the third baseline to score. The Mets once again had the lead.


This was reminiscent of the famous World Series play involving Mickey Owens. In 1941 the Brooklyn Dodgers were facing off against the mighty New York Yankees in the 1941 World Series. From wikipedia:
With the Dodgers leading 4–3 and 2 outs for the Yankees in the top of the ninth inning and the count 3–2 on Tommy Henrich, Henrich swung and missed at strike 3, which would have been the final out of the game, but the ball eluded Owen and went to the backstop, allowing Henrich to make it safely to first base.[1] The Yankees then rallied and scored four runs in the remainder of the inning and won the game 7–4. Instead of the series being tied, the victory gave the Yankees a 3–1 lead. The next day, they beat the Dodgers 3–1 in Game 5 and won the World Championship. The Dodgers didn’t return to the World Series until 1947 and didn’t win the series until 1955.

By far the oldest MFC card ever made.
And talk about baseball history...
In 1973 we had The Ball On The Wall Play. It didn't occur in the postseason but it was one of those Metropolitan historical plays that is still talked about today. Read about it here on the 


Here in 2015 we have The Ball In The Wall Play. With Conforto on 1st base Wilmer Flores hit a line drive to right that looked to be a sure single. Cubs right fielder Jorge Soler tried to make a very difficult diving catch with the liner coming straight at him. But he blew it, missed the ball, and it went all the way to the wall. Conforto scored easily, but the ball had rolled up into the ivy and, as the ground rules indicate at Wrigley Field, this is a ground rule double and runners can only advance two bases. Conforto was sent back to third base and New York was denied the additional run.
(I will be adding an mfcGifCard of the play in this spot in the near future)

Luckily this play will be forgotten before long because, amazingly, in the long run it didn't hurt the Mets. But how many of us jumped from our seats, chairs & couches in dismay when we realized that Conforto would be sent back to third? When the dust settled and the inning over, the Mets held a 3-2 lead.

deGrom had a 1-2-3 sixth and in the Mets 7th they went back to scoring runs. With one out David Wright hit a line drive down the left field line that he hustled into a double. Hitting monster Daniel Murphy also displayed some major hustle beating out a dribbler to third and New York had two on with one out.



Yoenis Cespedes followed with a wicked liner straight to Kyle Schwarber that he couldn't haul in. The ball clanked off his glove and fell to the outfield grass, allowing Wright to score, Murphy to advance to third and Cespedes to second.

Lucas Duda, who has been doing zilch at the plate in the NLCS, followed with a high chopper to Anthony Rizzo at first base. Rizzo decided to get the force at first before throwing home. He got Duda but could not get Murphy, who zipped down the line and slide safely past Cubs catcher Miguel Montero to score the Mets 5th run of the game.


Jacob deGrom had a quick and easy 7th, again setting Chicago down in order. Cubs reliever Pedro Strop was able to contain New York in the 8th frame. Mets manager Terry Collins pinched hit for deGrom during the inning and he was done for the night. But he lasted a full seven innings, much farther than I thought he would be able to go. This was a gritty performance by deGrom that shows he's a pitcher who can control and win a game even when he doesn't have his best stuff. Jacob should have an awesome career and it's going to be such a thrill to see him pitch as long as he remains a Metropolitan (which better be forever).


Tyler Clippard came on to be the bridge to the ninth as he did down the stretch. Aside from a double by Dexter Fowler his inning went smooth.

Cubs reliever Hector Rendon was able to keep New York off the board in their half of the ninth, and it was up to Jeurys Familia to seal the deal.


I can't overstate how important Familia has been. All of us watching the team the last bunch of years knows how important a successful closer is in today's game. And through some strange circumstances we have ended up with one of the best in major league baseball.

There are a few main pieces to this team. Players that we would not be going to the World Series if not for their contributions. Familia is a top 3 in that category. Familia becoming our closer was one of the most fortunate things to happen in 2015, a season full of fortunate (and unfortunate) happenings.

The New York Mets beat the Cubs by a final score of 5-2, going up 3-0 in this best of 7 series. One more win and the Mets would be going to the World Series!

Photography by 
Elsa, David Goldman, David J. Phillip, Dennis Wierzbicki, John Munson, Jon Durr, Jonathan Daniel, David Banks
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Hopefully I'll have game four up over the weekend. Certainly before the World Series starts.
The World Series.
The New York Mets are in the World Series.
Amazin'.

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