Championship Series NLCS2: CHC vs NYM — Thor, The Hulk, & The Flash

NLCS 2 — Cubs at Mets

They have Captain America (David Wright), they have the Dark Knight (Matt Harvey), they have Thor (Noah Syndergaard). And they have a slew of other ridiculously outstanding players on their roster — including this postseason, the Hulk (Daniel Murphy) and the Flash (Curtis Granderson).

Let me clarify: this is my choice for a superhero nickname for Murphy because he’s certainly smashing his way through the postseason’s offense. (I should add that I have been informed that a select group of fans prefer to think of 1st baseman Duda as “The Hulk”, but as no official moniker has been dubbed upon either candidate, I’m free to make my choice — Murphy it is then.) Also, I like that the Hulk’s alter-ego is a really nice guy, really smart guy, who cares about his team and his friends, much like a certain 2nd baseman on the Mets.

And I’m echoing some fans selection of Granderson as “The Flash” due to his ridiculous speed both around the bases and in the outfield. I remember his time with the Yankees was marked by how ridiculous he was in his coverage out in the outfield and how many stolen bases he got during the season (he got 2 in tonight’s game alone).

Anyway, it was the Mets game from the get-go despite the fact that they were up against a Cy Young candidate in the Cubs’ starter, Arrieta. Arrieta wasn’t having a very good day, only making it through the 5th inning, giving up 4 hits, 2 walks, and all 4 of the Mets’ runs tonight. Though he did strike out 8 Mets’ batters, and combined with the bullpen, the Cubs got the Mets to strike out 12 times tonight.

In the bottom of the 1st, the Flash led-off with a single and scored on Captain America’s double. And then the Hulk smashed (see it fits) a big 2-run home run to kick off the Mets’ big night tonight. The Flash led-off the 3rd with a walk, stole 2nd and then 3rd, before scoring on a single, giving the Mets a rather healthy lead.

And it was up to Thor to keep that lead intact. (I’m rather enjoying writing about comic book characters playing baseball. I feel like I’m appealing to that 12-year-old kid in your average sports fan these days who used to collect baseball cards and read superhero comics with a flashlight after “lights out”.) Anyway, Thor wielded his way through almost 6 innings, giving up just 3 hits, a walk, and 1 run, and striking out 9 Cubs’ batters.

In that 6th inning, a 1-out single moved to 2nd on a wild pitch and scored on a 2-out double. Thor’s night was over after 101 pitches, but after throwing upper-90s fastballs in 45° weather, there wasn’t anything left to give. He left the field to a standing ovation from the home crowd, many dressed in superhero attire, many cheering him on with chants and “hammer motions”. His reliever got that final out of the 6th, and along with the rest of the Mets’ bullpen tonight, kept the Cubs to that lone run.

Not that the Mets’ offense did much after that 3rd inning. Not that they needed to.

Final score: 4-1 Mets. Mets lead series 2-0. (And I blame the superhero naming for the whole thing.)

And in Yankee Universe: the Yankees will be parting ways with Jeff Pentland, the hitting coach, and will probably opt to do so with Gary Tuck, the bullpen coach. The Yankees still have their assistant hitting coach, Alan Cockrell, who could step into the head role, or they could choose to promote from within the organization (a minor league coach), or they could find another candidate from the giant pool of potential coaches out there. And contracts for bench coach Rob Thomson and 1st base coach Tony Pena are set to expire too, but are not expected to go anywhere soon.

But then again, there is a big difference between “expected” and “decided”. And as we all know, until it’s “decided”, there’s nothing really to “expect” other than speculation. Basically, just know there will be new faces on the coaching staff come Spring Training, but there will be some familiar ones. And as to who’s staying and who’s going… it’s still a few months now til Spring Training.

Go Yankees!

(Also, is anyone up for some Star Wars naming of the current Yankees players? I mean, the Yankees have adapted that whole “Evil Empire” moniker. Then does that make Girardi Darth Vader? Or maybe that’s something I can work on this off-season for Spring Training. Now, this may be a little too off into Nerdland for me. I may need an intervention.)

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