Mar 29, 2020

Remembering Mets History (2015): NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy's 2015 Season

In the 2015 off season Daniel Murphy's name kept coming up in trade talks again, as the Mets continued to shop him. They did not find a suitable buyer & it was back to Spring Training never expecting the year that was ahead of him. He continued to dodge the questions that came his way & went about his business.

During Spring Training Billy Bean was going around to baseball teams to promote Inclusion to MLB. Murphy a Religious man stated "I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn’t mean I can’t still invest in him and get to know him. You can still accept him but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100%." After these comments became controversial to some, Murph said he'll stick with baseball & not tell reporters about his Religious beliefs anymore.

Daniel Murphy was the Mets Opening Day second baseman batting in the 5th position. Murph would be the teams main second baseman but would also see action at third as David Wright went down with an injury, missing Most of his season.
He had a slow start in April ending the month batting under .200 (.198) but did have a big four RBI day against the Atlanta Braves on April 23rd in a 6-3 Mets win. At the end of the month he has two RBIs in a subway series loss across town & then the next day, drove in all three runs in 3-1 win over the Marlins in Miami. 

In May the hits started to come easier as
he raised his batting average to .272 while driving in 12 runs.

In June he went on the DL for three weeks missing action from June 5th through the 30th. In his return he had four hits in a series in which the Mets got swept by the team they would end up sweeping in that year's NLCS, the Chicago Cubs. 

Considering the amazing post season run Murph would have, it's funny to see that the most HRs he hit any month during the regular season was four, as he did it in both August & September.
On August 2nd he hit a HR off the Nationals Jordan Zimmerman in a 5-3 win at Citi Field, as the Mets swept an important series from Washington taking over first place. Murph collected three hits in the series. This came during a six game win streak, in where Murph hit another HR in Tampa off Jake Odoizzi in a 4-3 Mets victory.

By this point Muph was settling into the number three spot in the line up in front of Yoenis Cespedes, who at that point just arrived after the trade deadline & was the hottest hitter on the planet. In August he raised his average from .266 to .281 while hitting 11 doubles & driving in twenty runs.
In September Murph would drive in 17 more runs while hitting eight more doubles & hitting HRs against the Atlanta Braves twice, the Phillies & the AL New York club. On September 26th Murph had two hits & two runs scored in the NL Eastern Division clincher at Cincinnati.
He ended the year batting .281(best on the Mets team) his lowest batting average since his first full season 2009 where he hit .266. Murph was the hardest man in the league to strike out (13.1) going down just 38 times in 499 at bats.

He collected 140 hits (2nd on the Mets) with 38 doubles (5th in the NL) 2 triples 14 HRs 73 RBIs (first on the club tied with Lucas Duda)56 runs scored & a .322 on base %. He was walked intentionally ten times (8th most in the NL).

Defensively he posted a .279 fielding % at second base (69 games) making six errors, he made six more errors at third (42 games) with a .935 fielding%.

2015 POST SEASON: On October 9th, 2015 Murph got to play in his first post season game, finally enjoying the benefits after playing seven struggling seasons with the Mets.
2015 NLDS: In the bottom of the 4th inning of Game #1 against the LA Dodgers, he put the Mets on the board with their first post season run as he hit a solo HR off one of the games best pitchers; Clayton Kershaw. 

In the Game #2 loss he collected a base hit off Zack Greinke. 

In the Game #3 Mets 13-7 rout at Citi Field, Murph added a 4th inning RBI base hit off Dodgers reliever; Alex Wood.
In Game #4 at Citi Field, the Mets only had three hits total in the 3-1 loss. The only run came when Murphy hit a solo HR off Kershaw once again, giving the Citi Faithful something to cheer about.
As the NLDS moved back to LA for the decisive Game #5 Murph's star was really about to shine. In the top of the 1st, Curtis Granderson led off the game with a bse hit. After David Wright struck out, Murph doubled to left field off Zack Greinke, another of the games best pitchers, making it 1-0 Mets.
In the 4th inning, with LA now ahead 2-1 Murphy singled to start the 4th inning. With one out, Lucas Duda walked, the Dodgers had a shift to the right side of the infield on Duda. 

With no one covering third base Murphy alertly trotted to second & then took off to third base sliding in safely. The Dodger blunder was huge for the Mets possibly being the turning point. Murph then scored the tying run on Travis d'Arnaud's sac fly.
As Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom settled in shutting down the Dodger offense, Murph put them away with a solo HR to right field, this one coming off Greinke as well. Prior to this Murph had only homered in back to back games, once in his career. The Mets went on to the 3-2 win and advanced to their first NLCS since 2006.

Overall in the NLDS Murphy led the Mets in hits (7) runs scored (5) HRs (3) RBIs (5) while batting .33 with a .333 on base % as well.

2015 NLCS: On October 17th, 2015 the Mets hosted the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS Game #1. The man everyone was talking about; Daniel Murphy electrified Citi Field as he blasted a line drive HR to right field, off Cub pitcher Jon Lester, putting the Mets up 1-0. It was Murphs third straight post season game with a HR, his fourth overall. The Mets went on to a 4-2 win.
In Game #2 the Cubs sent their ace & possible Cy Young winner, Jake Arrieta to the mound. The Mets took care of him right away as Curtis Granderson singled & then came home when David Wright doubled.
Then the hottest hitter in the universe came up Daniel Muphy, he connected once again after fouling one off down the right field line just missing a HR, this one went over the fence for sure putting New York up 3-0. 

He would collect another hit later on as the Mets went on to a 4-1 win, taking a commanding two games to none lead in the NLCS.
Trivia: With that HR Murphy tied Mike Piazza for the most Mets HRs in a post season. He now had hit HRs in four straight post season games, breaking Don Clendennon's 1969 franchise record of three straight post season HR games.
As Game #3 moved on to Wrigley Field Chicago, all the talk continued to be Daniel Muphy, people who had never heard of him before know knew his name in New York. Baseball people knew this kind of post season hitting was special & rarely done before.
Rumors circulating that week, that no matter what kind of a playoff run Murph had, that the team still wasn't going to sign him, kind of changed. Reports came in that the Mets would possibly offer him double his salary in the off season, although that probably still would be short of what other teams may offer.
In any event Murph just continued his hot hitting, gave humbling interviews, complimenting his team mates being a true soft spoken gentleman that he is. As he said in post game interviews as long as the interviews keep coming that means the team has won another game.
In Game #3 with the score tied 1-1 in the third inning, Murph continued his hot streak, putting a HR into the center field bleachers at Wrigley Field, this one off of Kyle Hendricks, another solo shot.
This HR tied Carlos Beltran's all time MLB 2004 post season HR streak that went five games.
In the 7th Murphy singled, advanced to third on Yoenis Cespedes' base hit & then scored on Lucas Duda's grounder to first base. The Mets went on to a 5-2 win taking a three to nothing series lead.
Mets fans were so excited about sweeping the series & advancing to their first World Series in 15 years, they also figured with all that going on Murphy couldn't possibly do it again.
Well with the score tied in the third inning, Murphy defied all sanity by connecting with another shot that traveled & carried into the Wrigley Field bleachers.
It was his sixth straight post season game with a HR, a new MLB record. It was also his seventh HR of the post season, 7 Hrs in nine games, during the regular season he hit 14 HRs in 130 games! Amazing. The solo HR put New York up 2-1, a lead they would never give up. The Mets went on to a 5-2 win, and won the 2015 National League pennant.
In the NLCS Murphy was named the NLCS MVP as he led the Mets in hits (9) batting average (.529) HRs (4) Runs scored (6) on base % (.556%) & tied with Lucas Duda in RBIs (6).
Trivia: The so called curse of the Chicago Cubs stemed back to 1908 involving a Billy Goat named...............Murphy!

Mar 28, 2020

2015 NL Champion Mets Player Michael Cuddyer (2015)

Michael Brent Cuddyer was born on March 27th 1979, in Norfolk, Virginia. He attended Great Bridge high school at Chesapeake, Virginia where he was an all around star athlete. Cuddyer excelled in football, basketball & baseball, where he eventually won the 1997 Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year in his senior year. In 1996 he was part of the Bronze medal winning Team USA club.The six foot two, right hand hitting Cuddyer plays outfield, first base, third & second base.

Also in 1997, he was the Minnesota Twins number one pick (the 9th pick overall) but did not sign until that August. By 2001 he was hitting 30 HRs at AA New Britain & got a late call up to the Twins big league team.Cuddyer debuted on September 23rd in a 4-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians. He walked in his first at bat then later doubled for his first MLB hit. In eight games he hit .222.

In 2002 he played most of the year at AAA Edmonton, where he hit 20 HRs & hit .309 in 86 games. 

He was back up with the Twins for 41 games batting .259. On July 20th he hit his first career HR, it came off Jamie Walker & the Detroit Tigers in a 14-4 romp at Tiger Stadium. In that game he had his first four RBI game as well as collecting three hits. In 2003 he had another season back & forth to the minors as well as the Twins team. 

That season he played in his first post season, collecting five hits in the ALDS against the Oakland A's hitting .385. This was the only year he would get past the ALDS in six trips to that series while in Minnesota. In 22 career post season games he is hitting .338.

By 2004 he was up for good with the Twins, playing at third base (43 games), second base (48 games) & in the outfield (15 games). In that years ALDS he hit .467 (7-15) with two RBIs. The next year he struggled at third base as the Twins replacement for Corey Koskie who moved on to Toronto. Cuddyer eventually became a reserve player & needed surgery to repair a torn meniscus. After he recovered he switched to the outfield full time & became the teams clean up hitter. 

In 2006 he had  one of his biggest seasons up to that point, driving in a career high 109 runs (second on the club to Justin Morneau) with 41 doubles (9th in the AL) 24 HRs & a .284 average. His strong arm had him lead the league in assists in the outfield in 2006 (11) & in 2007 (19). In 2008 he turned a league leading five double plays from the outfield.

In 2009 he hit a career high 32 HRs (10th in the AL) with 34 doubles, seven triples (also 10th in the AL) a .276 average & 94 RBIs, the second best RBI mark of his career.

His next year he fell off to 14 HRs but still drove in 81 runs with 37 doubles, the second best mark of his career in that category. He rebounded a bit in 2011 hitting 20 HRs with 70 RBIs & a .284 average. That year he was the managers choice for the AL All Star team making his first Mid Summer Classic appearance. 

On July 25th, in a 20-6 loss to the Texas Rangers, Cuddyer became the first Twins position player since John Moses did it in 1990. Cuddyer gave up a double, single & walk before getting the final out not allowing a run.

In December of 2011, he cut his ties in Minnesota & moved over the National League signing with the Colorado Rockies. In Colorado he chose to wear the uniform number 3 in honor of his friend Harmon Killebrew, whom had just past away.

He became close to Killebrew while in the Twins organization. Cuddyer was even a pall bearer at Killebrews funeral joining Rod Carew, Paul Molitor, Tony Oliva, Ron Gardenhire, Joe Nathan & Justin Morneau.

In his first season in Colorado, he was limited to 101 games due to injury. He hit .260 with 16 HRs 30 doubles 16 HRs & 58 RBIs.

In 2013, Cuddyer had a fantastic year, he won the AL batting title by ten points with a .331 average, his career best. He hit 20 HRs with 31 doubles & 84 RBIs posting a .530 slugging  % (4th in the NL). That season he broke the Rockies club hitting streak record, once held by Dante Bichette at 25 games. He made his second career All Star team, in the game played at Citi Field.

In 2014 he was off to a good start hitting .316 with three HRs & four doubles, after 16 games but then suffered a strained hamstring. He was on the DL, returned in May but then went down with a fractured shoulder & missed two months of action. 

On August 17th, he became the 30th player in MLB history to hit for the cycle twice in his career. This came in the second game of a double header, against the Cincinnati Reds in a Rockies sweep.

His first cycle had come back in 2009 in the AL with the Twins. Cuddyer is just the third player in MLB history to hit for the cycle in both leagues, joining Bob Watson & former New York Met; John Olerud.

He went onto the DL for a third time that season, finishing up playing in just 49 games. He hit .332 with 10 HRs 15 doubles & 31 RBIs.

Free Agent: In early November the New York Mets gave Cuddyer a two year deal at age 35. The Mets needed offense, & an outfielder at that time. He was also expected to play right  first base, behind Lucas Duda.

Quotes: Mets assistant GM John Ricco - "I don't think it's any secret we are looking to improve offensively, and there are not a lot of options out there on the free agent market, or even on the trade market. We thought this was a way to clearly upgrade our team and our lineup."

Sandy Alderson: "Michael is a tremendous addition to the middle of our lineup. He is a proven offensive threat who also brings versatility in the field with the ability to play multiple positions."

Mets Career: As Michael Cuddyer's Mets career began in 2015, he was the teams Opening Day left fielder & clean up hitter. A week into the season on April 12th he helped Bartolo Colon win his second game of the season, hitting a two run HR as the Mets beat the Braves 4-3 in Atlanta. Cuddyer got himself to the .300 mark in late April, but the former batting champ fell off from there & never got that high again.

In late May he had a great series at home against the Phillies where he drove in five runs & hit two HRs while collecting five hits. On June 11th he had a walk off single against Sergio Romo & the San Francisco Giants in a 5-4 win at Citi Field.

By early July his average fell off to the .235 mark & then nagging knee injuries kept him out of the line up for more than half the month. He did hit two HRs in the month & had a three hit game in St. Louis, but then on July 21st he went on the DL until August 11th.

By now the Mets had acquired Yoenis Cespedes & young Michael Conforto was seeing more time in left field. Cuddyer's playing time was more limited to a part time role & his clean up hitting days were certainly over.

In late August he had another monster series against the Phils this time in Philadelphia. He had seven hits, hit two more HRs & drove in six runs in the Mets three game sweep during a seven game win streak. On August 25th his two run single broke a 4-4 tie & led New York to a 6-5 win.

On September 26th, the Mets clinched the NL Eastern Division at Cincinnati in a 10-2 win. Cuddyer contributed with a two run double putting the Mets up 7-2. He would end the season batting .259 with 98 hits (379 at bats) 10 HRs 18 doubles 41 RBIs & a .309 on base %. It was his worst on base % of his career except his first season which he only played eight games.

Post Season: Cuddyer would start Game #1 of the NLDS in Los Angeles, going 0-3, getting removed in the 7th inning. He also got a start in Game #1 of the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. He got his only post season hit in that game, overall going 1-11 playing in six post season Mets games in 2015.

After the season he had knee surgery in Philadelphia. On December 12th 2015 Michael Cuddyer decided to retire from the game after a 15 year career. He still had one more season worth $12 million on his Mets contract.

In his 15 year career Cuddyer was a two time All star with one batting title (2013) added to his highlights. He has played in 1536 games, hitting 197 HRs  with 333 doubles 42 triples & 794 RBIs. He posted a .344 on base%, a .461 slugging % with 34 sac flies, 1101 strike outs, 527 walks & 75 stolen bases.

In seven post seasons he got to one World Series (2015 with the Mets) batting an overall .306 with 2 HRs 2 doubles 7 8 RBIs in 28 post season games.

He played 982 games in the outfield, 283 games at first base, 174 games at third base & 79 games at second.

Family: Cuddyer & his wife Claudia have one son  & twin girls. He is a childhood friend & still very close pal with the Mets Captain David Wright.

A childhood virus has left him deaf in his left ear but he claims he never had a problem hearing while on the field.

Former Mets Second Baseman: Brad Emaus (2011)

Bradley Mark Emaus was born on March 28th, 1986 in Kalamazoo Michigan. The six foot right had hitting infielder attended Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

There he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 11th round of the 2007 draft. He hit .298 in 2010 at AAA Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League & was drafted away (Rule V) by the New York Mets that winter.

As the new Terry Collins managerial era began, everyone had a chance of making the ball club. The Mets were fed up woth Luis Castillo & he was released in mid March. Emaus had a good spring surprising everyone & manager Collins named him the clubs second baseman for 2011.

He found himself as the teams Opening Day second baseman batting in the seventh position. He drew a walk that day & got his first career hit the next day against the Marlins in Florida.

On April 5th he singled off the Phillies Cole Hamels driving in the fifth run of a Mets six run third inning, in a game they went on to win 7-1. In his fourth career game he had two hits and was batting .308 but it all fell apart from there.

By April 17th his average fell to .162 with no extra base hits, and he was designated for assignment. He was sent back to Toronto soon after. Justin Turner was called up & took the position over for the remainder of the season. 

Emaus was traded to the Colorado Rockies for a minor leaguer & hit .313 at AAA Colorado Springs with 9 HRs & 28 RBIs in 45 games.

In January 2012 he was traded to the Boston Red Sox system but was released. He resigned with the New York Mets & batted .212 at AAA Buffalo in 73 games the rest of that year.

Retirement: Since then he has retired from playing & has opened up a hitting academey at Monroe, Louisiana. 

Mar 27, 2020

Comparing Matt Harvey's 2013 Start to Nolan Ryan's 1970 Start

Matt Harvey is one of three pitchers to begin a season with at least 25 strike outs in his first three games. It is the second time in Mets history that it has been done, the other Mets pitched to do it; was future Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan in 1970. Lets take a look at the two Mets pitchers, first three games, 43 years apart.

NOLAN RYAN -1970: On April 18th, 1970 Nolan Ryan took the mound at Shea Stadium for the first time in the young season for the reigning World Champion Mets. His last appearance had been World Series Game #3 at Shea, pitching in relief of Gary Gentry in the Mets 5-0 win. The shutout was saved by the two spectacular catches from Tommie Agee.

In the April 18th 1970 game, Ryan went up against the Phillies Jim Bunning. It was Bunning back on Fathers Day 1964, who pitched a perfect game against the Mets at Shea. But todays game was all about the Mets & Nolan Ryan.

Ryan went out & pitched the fourth one hitter in Mets history. The Phillies Denny Doyle led off the game with a single & it would be the only Philadelphia hit on the day. Ryan did walk six batters, but allowed no runs & struck out 15 batters, impressing everyone. It was quite a day for the 23,000 in attendance.

The Mets scored three runs in the first, with base hits from Tommie Agee, Bud Harrelson & Joe Foy. An error & a fielder's choice off the bat of Art Shamsky made up the three runs. In the third, Shamsky knocked Bunning out of the game with an RBI double, putting New York up 5-0. Kenny Boswell & Tommie Agee added late inning HRs to complete Ryan's 7-0 shutout.

In Ryan's next start, he pitched a classic pitcher's duel at Dodger Stadium in Los Angles. He was on the losing end of a 1-0 loss to Claude O'Steen. In this game Ryan only allowed two hits, & struck out five. One of Ryan's problems in the early years was his wildness, something that didn't make Manager Gil Hodges too happy. Ryan walked five & hit a batter.

In the bottom of the third inning, Billy Grabarkewitz was hit by a Ryan pitch & advanced on a sacrifice. Then legendary base stealer Maury Wills singled driving in the only run of the game. It was also the last hit of the game for the Dodgers, but Ryan took the loss.

In his third outing of the year, he had another outstanding outing in San Francisco. The Mets backed him with two early runs in the first inning off Mike McCormick. Joe Foy drove in two runs with a single, later Cleon Jones added an RBI single as well & the scoring was topped off by a Tommie Agee HR, once again. Ryan pitched a three hit, one run victory against the Giants, striking out eight batters, this time walking eight.

In his first three starts he had struck out 28 batters in 26 innings pitched, allowing just two earned runs (0.69 ERA). He walked an incredible 19 batters & had a 2-1 record.

MATT HARVEY 2013: Matt Harvey began the 2013 season with a lot of excitement surrounding him after a fantastic debut in 2012.

He started the second game of the Mets season, against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field. Harvey struck out the first two batters he faced & allowed the only hit of his day in the 4th inning to Everth Cabrera. Harvey went on to strike out ten Padres over seven innings, allow no runs on the one hit & walked two. The Mets came up big with eight runs, led by two run HRs from John Buck, Ike Davis & Lucas Duda.

His second start was in Philadelphia, a 7:05 start against Roy Halladay, in front of 35,000 fans at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets gave him support right away, as the hot John Buck blasted a three run HR in the 2nd inning & Lucas Duda had an RBI single in the 3rd. Harvey gave up a sac fly RBI to Ryan Howard, the only run he allowed on the day. The Mets came back knocking out Halladay in the 5th, with four hits including a two run single from Ruben Tejada & an RBI single from David Wright.

Harvey rolled along striking out seven Phillies through seven innings, one earned run, three hits & a pair of walks.

On Saturday April 13th, Harvey took the mound on a cold afternoon in Minnesota in front of 29,000 brave Minneapolis fans. Harvey may have been at his finest on this cold day, flirting with a no hitter into the 7th inning. Harvey had allowed just two walks into the seventh inning, then Justin Morneau blasted a HR down the right field line breaking up the no hitter.

Harvey earned his third win of the year, leading the NL in wins, allowing just one run on two hits while striking out six. Through his first three games he has struck out 25 batters in 22 innings, posting a 0.82 ERA.

The comparisons between Harvey & Ryan are incredible, some 47 years later. Harvey was just what the Mets need to turn the organization around, just as some other pitchers have done in the past. Remember Dwight Gooden's arrival in 1984 or Tom Seaver's arrival in 1967?

The Girlfriends Of Matt Harvey 2013-2016

Lets take a fun look back at Matt Harvey's famous model girlfriends, during his time with the Mets............

Anne Vyalitsyna was born March 19, 1986 in Gorky Soviet Union Russia. Both of her parents are doctors, she began modeling at age 15. Her career quickly took off as she appeared in Glamour, Vouge, Elle & then Sports Illustrated Swim suit Issue every year since 2005.

She had appeared in music videos by Maroon 5 & Alanis Morisette as well as a cameo in Die Hard's A Good Day To Die Hard.

She dated Maroon 5's Adam Levine & in 2015 had a daughter with Adam Cahan SR. VP of Yahoo. She was Harvey's main chick during his rise to stardom & possibly was in the limelight most with him 2013-2014.

Ashley Sara Haas is a the brunette model whom Harvey dated after breaking up with Vyalitsna & after his Tommy John surgery in 2014.

They were seen on the NY Post Page Six but the relationship didn't last too long.

Asha Leo was born January 5th 1982 in Kingston Upon Thames, England. She attended the University of Arts College of Fashion & began modeling at age 13. She was also BBC America's red carpet host for the Brit List & their pop culture guru talking about trends in fashion, film & music. She now lives in Los Angeles & works for Access Hollywood.

She had been spotted with Harvey at Madison Square Garden at Knicks & Rangers game.

Matt Harvey with former model girlfriend Asha Leo .

Shannon Rusbuldt was born on Valentines Day 1985 in the United States. She is a New York runway model & has played the goddess of Water in the Vikings TV series.

She is very involved in charity work with the National MS Society (whom she is model for) Fashion Delivers & Project Sunshine
Harvey & Sharon were an item in Summer of 2014, being seen around Manhattan. Most famously on a karaoke date where Katy Perry interrupted the two by dropping by.

Ania Cywinska is a Polish model, very big with Sachs Fifth Avenue. She seems to be pretty steady with Matt Harvey since last Spring Training.

It seems Harvey has been a bit lower key with his social private life as well. The two are spotted together during the season & the post season of 2016.