October 22, 2015
Daniel Murphy is living in a hitters dream when the baseballs are coming at him like a beach ball being underhanded. He went four for five in game four against the Cubs and has homered in six straight games. The pitchers might get him to wave at an off- speed pitch but if they dare try to throw a fastball near the strike zone, he is lining it up square on the barrel of the bat. Even the singles he has been hitting are coming off the bat hard. I haven’t seen any hitter in the playoffs to be so locked in as was Barry Bonds in 2002.
There will be a break before the World Series starts next week. Will this affect Murphy’s stroke? If he comes into the World Series still crushing the ball, the opposing pitchers will start intentionally unintentionally walking him, basically making him hit their pitches. In game four against the Cubs, Murphy made an out in the first inning but surprisingly, Lucas Duda who had been hitting .165 in the series smacked a three-run homer to give the Mets a huge cushion right from the get. That is the story of the Mets this post season, two out run scoring hits and good pitching which should make them a World Series favorite.
The playoffs and World Series are long and storied of average ball players grabbing the spotlight away from the superstars and delivering amazing production. One of my first recollections of an unknown player grabbing the national spotlight was the Oakland catcher/first baseman Gene Tenace who hit four home runs in the 1972 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. He also was the first player to hit two home runs in his first two at bats in the World Series. Tenace was a career .241 hitter, played fifteen seasons and slugged 201 home runs. Then you have the case of Billy Hatcher of the Reds hitting .750 against the same A’s in 1990, to return the favor. Hatcher was career .264 hitter. Daniel Murphy is a career .288 hitter which is really good but in eight seasons he has hit just 62 home runs.
Murphy is a free agent at the end of this season and it appears his stock will rise based on his playoff performances. He reminds me a lot of Pablo Sandoval in some regards because he too is a slightly above average player and hitter but elevated his game in the playoffs. Sandoval received a 5 year, 96-million-dollar contract from the Boston Red Sox after the 2014 World Series. I have to wonder if the Cubs will make a play for him since he was a catalyst in beating them. Doesn’t hurt that there is a bar behind the left center wall called Murphy’s. Cheers Daniel Murphy!