NLCS Game 4 Recap: Mets Win! Mets Win!

It won’t go down in history as one of their better-played games, but the New York Mets outscored the Chicago Cubs 8-3 last night in Wrigley Field to win their fourth consecutive game of the National League Championship Series, securing a highly improbable berth in the 2015 World Series. More on that improbability later.

The Mets committed several cardinal sins last night: base running mistakes,  several squandered opportunities to add tack on runs and relief pitchers falling behind early in the count. Plus, they lost arguably their best (but not their hottest) offensive player for no apparent reason. They did all of this on the road, a combination of circumstances that under normal conditions, usually equates to a loss. Fortunately for the Mets, last night was anything but a normal condition.

Granted, it was through the glare of the my TV screen, but I came away underwhelmed by the so-called Bleacher Creatures that we’ve heard so much about. The atmosphere in that old ballpark struck me as more of a rave than a playoff game . T-shirt? Check. Beer Mug? Check. White Towel? Check. Stand up and cheer? Check. Clap my hands? Check.  I don’t know if I believe in curses,  but the Cubs fans seemingly do, as they where taken out of the series the moment Miguel Montero dropped that third strike the game before. There was a collective “here we go again” resignation from them that would never happen in New York.

There is an deadly earnest seriousness to a playoff game in this city, Boston, or even Philadelphia that seemed lacking in Chicago. The crowd seemed more bystanderish than participants. I think that whoever the Mets face in the World Series next week will really need to brace themselves for what’s coming from the fans.

Back to the game itself, which had a surreal sense to it. I had to remind myself during the middle innings that the Mets where actually winning. Even after David Wright’s incredible snare of Starlin Castro’s liner in the 5th, I couldn’t shake a feeling of dread. I did relax to a point after Daniel (who’s Babe Ruth?) Murphy’s homer, but the suddenly unreliable Tyler Clippard gave those two runs back. Even the indomitable Jeurys Familia struggled just a bit in the ninth before getting a called strike three on Dexter Fowler to end the game and the series. The game lacked the drama of say Game 6 of the 86 NLCS, or the Todd Pratt walkoff,  or Bobby Jones’ gem. But considering how nervous I felt during most of the game, perhaps the lack of drama was a good thing!

Like many long time Mets fans, I tend to compare this season to others, looking for similarities. This team is far from being a complete squad, which is what the 1986 and 2000 teams were. It much more closely resembles the 1973 team, that rode great pitching and timely hitting, rising up from the depths of the division, overcoming heavy favorites in that race and the NLCS, getting to within a manager’s mishandling of the pitching staff (RIP Yogi) to beating the Oakland A’s. This team and the run they put on from August 1 forward reminds me of that team. A lot of recent bad memories, including the Beltran strikeout and the 07 collapse, have been somewhat expunged this year. Here’s hoping that the Mets can now erase an older hurt in this long-time fan’s memory.

I waited 13 years from 1973 to 1986. It took them another 14 years to get back to the World Series again. Now, the wait was 15 years. At this rate, I’ll be 71 the next time the Mets get the World Series and 88, which is how old I am expected to live to, for the subsequent one. What a way to go! The point is, that I am definitely going to savor these next few days and can’t wait for the World Series to begin. My sense is that Murphy, Clippard and Bartolo Colon are goners for sure after the World Series. Yoenis Cespedes is 50/50 at best to come back. But I think Murphy put it best when asked about his contract status: that’s a question for the offseason, we’re still playing.

Play on! Lets Go Mets!

A Mets fan since 1971, Dan spent many summer nights of his childhood watching the Mets on WOR Channel Nine, which his Allentown, PA cable company carried. Dan was present at Game 7 of the 1986 World Series and the Todd Pratt Walkoff Game in 1999. He is also the proud owner of two Shea Stadium seats. Professionally, Dan is a Marketing Manager in the Bulk Materials Handling industry. He lives in Bethlehem PA with his wife and son, neither of whom fully get his obsession with the Mets.
  1. Dan S October 22, 2015 at 1:35 pm
    This team is certainly not in the class of the ’86 Mets, but i really don’t think they’re a less complete squad than the ’00 team. The current team’s starting pitching and closer are far superior–and, since the lineup was completely revamped in late July, the hitting is comparable. I’ve always thought the ’99 team was a better, more complete squad than the ’00 version. Ventura had an amazing year in ’99, but his decline started rapidly in ’00. Zeile was solid, but not the player offensively or defensively that Olerud was.
    • argonbunnies October 22, 2015 at 7:15 pm
      Agreed on all counts.
  2. DanB October 23, 2015 at 7:15 am
    2000’s outfield was far from complete. I thought that team out played its skill level.
    • Dan Capwell October 23, 2015 at 8:48 am
      I had forgotten somewhat as to how poor that outfield was. However it did provide them with a leadoff hitter (Timo), and two competent if somewhat underwhelming bats in Benny and Payton.

      Off all of the Mets World Series participant teams, the 2000 was probably the weakest. Bobby Valentine certainly performed the managing job of his life getting them there and the Cardinals did them a big favor in bumping off the big, bad Braves in the NLDS.

      Interesting that most fans seem to like the 1999 NLCS runners-up more than the 2000 squad that made it into the WS.

      • DanB October 23, 2015 at 11:33 am
        The 1999 team didn’t lose to the Yankees. I lost a bet in 2000 and had to wear a Yankee hat for a year. I think that is why I turned prematurely grey.
  3. DaveSchneck October 23, 2015 at 7:37 am
    It’s fun to compare the five Met World Series teams. While each is unique,I see this team closest to the 1969 team. That is based primarily on the dominant young pitching coming together, the team making a key trade and finishing very strong, a team that utilized platoons, overtaking a favorite, and hopefully we’ll see the same magical ending.
  4. Andy_Franks October 23, 2015 at 8:45 am
    Heck of an effort by all the team so far in these play-offs, and absolutely cannot wait until next week, even with the very late nights it will cause me! I guess my only concern is that so far we have won mainly due to the long-ball game, I am just concerned should Murphy et al dry up (god forbid!) and we need to rely on manufacturing runs, which haven’t been in abundance so far.

    Hoping at least one or two of the Murphy/Cespedes/Colon contracts are positively resolved, but in the meantime, you gotta believe!!!

    • argonbunnies October 24, 2015 at 3:38 am
      Ever since the 2015 Mets started scoring more, they’ve been scoring with homers. I really enjoyed the occasional steal of 3rd and sac fly we saw this week. 🙂

      If Murph dries up, then Grandy or Ces or Duda will just have to get hot.

      I agree that it’s unlikely we will manufacture a ton of runs against KC’s elite defense, strikeout relievers, and Salvy’s rocket arm. We did just learn today that Wade Davis can’t hold runners, though…

      • DanB October 24, 2015 at 3:28 pm
        All season the Mets relied on streaky hitters. It defines their offense. Duda has done it, Cespedes carried them in August, and now Murphy in the playoffs. Simply put, if someone carries them in the World Series, they can win. If not, better hope they win a lot of 2-1 games which, for the Mets, means avoiding their middle relief.
  5. miscophi October 23, 2015 at 10:42 am
    The 13,14,15 is easy to spot. I’ve scanned the internet and no one is mentioning this one, so I’ll take credit for its origination:
    69 Mets beat Orioles; 14 years later, O’s win it all.
    73 Mets lose to A’s; 16 years later, A’s again.
    86 Mets beat Boston; 18 years later, Bosox.
    • argonbunnies October 24, 2015 at 3:33 am
      So we’re hoping it winds up headed for Royals in 2035?
  6. Colin October 23, 2015 at 1:36 pm
    Tuesday cannot come soon enough.

    WFAN reporting that unofficial starters will be deGrom / Thor / Harvey / Matz-Colon (or perhaps reverse depending on opponent) deGrom/ Thor/ Harvey.

    I still cant sleep.

    Also – I want the Jays, despite their indoor park with a rug.

  7. argonbunnies October 24, 2015 at 3:34 am
    Royals it is. We are going to have to earn this. KC’s playing well.

    Well, we beat a 92-win NL team, then a 97-win NL team, and now we’ll face a 95-win AL team. According to strength of schedule and run differential, we are just going up and up the difficulty levels.

    I think the biggest unknown is what Cueto, Volquez and Ventura will do. They can each be unhittable at some times and awful at others.