By Jonah C. Goodman, Senior Sports Analyst
The New York Mets beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 in game 5 of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Two of the best pitchers in the National League took the mound Thursday night: Cy Young front runner, Zach Greinke for the Dodgers and the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, Jacob deGrom for the Mets. Both pitchers didn’t start off very well as a leadoff infield single for Curtis Granderson followed by a double from Daniel Murphy gave the Mets a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. In the bottom half of the inning back-to-back RBI singles by Justin Turner and Andre Ethier gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
In the next two innings the Dodgers threatened to score multiple times but deGrom was able to not allow any runs. Greinke who made the Mets hitters look like little leaguers as he didn’t allow a baserunner in the 2nd and 3rd while striking out three hitters. After those two beautiful innings pitched, Greinke looked like he was locked in and ready to end the Mets season and have the Dodgers move onto the NLCS.
It was in the top of the 4th inning though that things got very interesting. Daniel Murphy hit a single to start the inning off for the Mets. Two batters later the lefty Lucas Duda came to the plate which had the Dodgers move into their shift as they have been doing the entire series against left-handed Mets hitters. Duda ended up walking which meant the Mets would have runners on 1st and 2nd. Due to the shift the Dodgers were using on Duda, third base was left uncovered which Daniel Murphy took advantage of. He trotted to second base following the walk then sprinted his way to the free third base. The heads up play by Murphy proved to be very beneficial for the Mets as Catcher, Travis d’Arnaud, hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game up at 2. It’s important to note, however, that Andre Ethier, the fielder who made the catch, should have considered purposefully not making the catch. It would have been a very risky decision by Ethier but it would have made sense. If the ball was dropped it would have been a foul ball. Also the Mets’ hitters were not able to get the ball out of the infield against Greinke which means it was very unlikely more damage could have been done as result of the dropped fly-ball. If Ethier did decide to not make the catch it could have given the Dodgers much needed momentum as they seemed to have lost their composure on the play in which Murphy stole the uncovered third base.
It wasn’t until the top of the 6th when another run scored, which was a 394 foot Daniel Murphy home run to rightfield which gave the Mets a 3-2 lead. Greinke was later relieved by Luis Avilan in the seventh inning with a final stat line of 6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO.
The Mets pinch hit for deGrom in the top of the 7th and his final stat line was 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO. The Mets then turned to rookie starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard to pitch the 7th. Syndergaard delivered for the Mets as he blew past Dodger hitters with his dominant 100 mph fastball. Mets skipper Terry Collins then decided to go to his closer Jeurys Familia (who was 43 for 48 in save opportunities in the regular season) to get the six out save. Familia delivered and the Mets beat the Dodgers with a final score of 3-2 and will move on to face the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS. Game 1 will see the Cubs’ Jon Lester go up against the Mets’ Matt Harvey, the night of October 17th at 8:07 ET at Citi Field in New York.