World Series Game 5: KC vs. NYM — The Dark Knight rules, but the Royals are Crowned

World Series Game 5 — Royals at Mets

With all this nostalgia centered around this World Series, everyone was focused on the Cubs and their predicted win according to a 26 year old movie (set 30 years ago). But if we were to look 30 years ago, the winners of the World Series were the Kansas City Royals. To quote another 1980s movie, “they’re looking in the wrong place!”

Okay, so let me be clear here, the Kansas City starter Volquez threw a very good game despite being on the losing side of the game for his entire outing. In his first start after the death of his father last week, Volquez kept the Mets to just 2 hits and 2 runs (just 1 earned run), but it was the 5 walks that were the biggest flaw in his otherwise decent performance.

Those Mets runs began with a lead-off solo home run in the 1st inning. The Mets clung to their 1-0 lead until the 6th inning. A lead-off walk, a single, and a fielding error loaded the bases. But the next batter caught a foul ball directly off his knee and collapsed. After a few minutes of severe pain and time with the trainer, Cespedes got back up to take a swing and pop out, but the way he hobbled out to 1st base and then barely made it down the dugout steps made it clear his night was over. X-rays came back negative, so the diagnosis was a deep contusion. Again, when you simply bang your knee on the coffee table, it screams at you for days, but it’s nothing compared to a 95 mph sinker off your knee.

Anyway, a sacrifice fly scored one of those runs before the inning ended on a groundout. It also ended Volquez’s night.

On the other side of the diamond, it was the Mets’ starter Harvey, affectionately known to Gothamites as the “Dark Knight”. And for his first 8 innings, he was throwing heat and keeping the Royals from hitting much of anything. For 8 innings, his stats read: 102 pitches, 4 hits, no runs, 1 walk, and 9 strikeouts. All he (and the Mets) needed were 3 outs to tie up the series. Harvey entered the dugout and petitioned to go out for the 9th inning. The fans even demanding the Dark Knight’s return to the mound.

But the 9th inning was going to be anything but that story book ending. Harvey promptly walked his lead-off batter that scored on a double ending his rather beautiful shut-out evening. His night was over, and for a reason that will be forever questioned by Mets fans forever, they sent in the same closer who has both blown both saves this series and who was virtually flawless during the regular season. (The postseason does stuff to players, bringing out the best or the worst in some people.)

This new reliever came in and gave up a ground out that moved the runner to 3rd and another ground out that scored the runner when the Mets’ 1st baseman overthrew the ball to home plate for the double play (that would’ve sealed the deal for the Mets to win this game too, by the way). But no, the game was now tied and would be sent into extra innings. Three to be exact.

So it would be onto the 12th inning for the Royals to find their late-inning rally. A new reliever on for the Mets. A lead-off single, a stolen base, and a ground out put the winning run on 3rd base so that a pinch-hit single could score the winning run for the Royals. A force attempt and error got another runner on base and a double scored another run. An intentional walk loaded the bases with just 1 out, so the Mets made another pitching change. But a bases-clearing double pushed the Royals into clear winning territory before getting two ground outs to end the inning.

And the Royals near-perfect closer got 3 strikeouts (and gave up a single) to close out the Royals game tonight and handed them a win and the Series.

Final score: 7-2 Royals in 12 innings, Royals win World Series 4-1 over the Mets.

Congrats to the Royals and Series MVP Salvador Perez, the Royals catcher (the first catcher to win the MVP since 1992). We’ll see you again in about 30 years. Don’t worry, Mets fans, if we’re following history then 2016 is your 30 year reunion. But you never know… I mean, the Yankees still need their #28.

Go Yankees!

World Series Game 4: KC vs. NYM — Halloween tricks and treats

World Series Game 4 — Royals at Mets

This is what you get for playing on Halloween – tricks, treats, and nothing like you’d expect. For most of the game, it seemed like it was going to be a tight game, handing it to the dominant Mets tonight, but then in one moment, it all shifted and became the Royals’ game.

And without a couple of home runs and a really terrible error, it was a rather boring

The Mets’ offense struck first in the bottom of the 3rd with a lead-off solo home run. Then a single moved to 2nd on a wild pitch and then 3rd on a sacrifice bunt before scoring on a sacrifice fly (which was challenged, but upheld).

The Royals answered back in the 5th with a 1-out RBI single, but the Mets got that back in the bottom of that inning with another lead-off home run (by the same guy that hit the one in the 3rd). A lead-off double for the Royals in the 6th scored on an RBI single to keep the Royals within one run.

But then in the 8th, all the Halloween tricks were in full play. With 1 out and 2 walks and a new pitcher, the Mets spiraled out of the lead. A rather deflating fielding error allowed the tying run to score. Then consecutive singles scored two more runs for the Royals. And with the Royals sending in their reliable closer for a 6-out, 2-inning save, it was suddenly the Royals game to take into November. Though the Mets certainly threatened at the bottom of the 9th. No such luck for the Mets.

Final score: 5-3 Royals, Royals lead series 3-1.

And in Yankee Universe: three Yankees are up for Gold Gloves — Didi Gregorius (shortstop), Mark Teixeira (1st base), and Brett Gardner (left field).  They are up against several well-known excellent players, including some in this current series. Gold Gloves are awarded based on the player’s defensive excellence at their particular fielding position. This could be Teixeira’s 6th Gold Glove (his last one was in 2012), but the first for Gregorius and Gardner. Winners will be announced November 10. (By the way, 2012 was the last time a Yankee won a Gold Glove, 2 actually — Teixeira at 1st and Cano at 2nd.)

Go Yankees!

World Series Game 3: KC vs. NYM — Superheroes, 1980s’ style, November baseball

World Series Game 3 — Royals at Mets

It all started with the “high pitch heard ’round the Midwest”. Baseball is back in New York this weekend, and the Mets took control of the game and held onto it like they’ve done most of the season against their competitors. In other words, that “home field advantage” thing may actually have some legs.

Anyway, so it was one of the Mets’ superheroes on the mound tonight, Syndergaard, affectionately known as “Thor”, threw a high first pitch, and because the Royals couldn’t find a way to come back and dominate their opponents, it was all anyone from the team or city wanted to talk about. Don’t get me wrong, the Royals certainly made a big dent in Thor’s first couple of innings. In the 1st inning, a 1-out double moved to 3rd on a single and then scored on a force ground out to get the ball rolling.

Then in the 2nd, with 2 runners on base with singles, a single scored another Royals run. Now, initially, the runner going to 3rd on the throw was called safe, but upon a Mets’ challenge and replay, it proved he was tagged out and overturned for the 1st out of the inning. A sacrifice bunt moved the other runner to 3rd on the next play, who then scored on a passed ball.

And that would be it for scoring from Kansas City. Because after a bit of this dust-up, and even some threats in later innings, the Mets’ pitchers and the fielders weren’t letting much happen to the Royals’ offense for the rest of the night. Thor ended his night getting out of a 6-inning jam unscathed and then his three relievers (who kept the Royals hitless and scoreless under their tenure tonight) kept the ball rolling for the Mets in their house.

Now, the Royals’ pitchers on the other hand had far too much trouble trying to control the Mets’ offense tonight. Their starter Ventura alone gave up 7 hits and 5 runs in just over 3 innings. Not a night for the highlight reel. In the bottom of the 1st, the Mets’ offense led off with a single who then scored on a 2-run home run by “Captain America”. Then they repeated this in the bottom of the 3rd — a lead-off single (by Thor, by the way) and then a 2-run home run. This put them in the lead over the Royals at this point, something they never gave up the rest of the game.

They added an insurance run in the 4th. A single and double put runners in scoring position, but a single scored just one of them. And after one out, the Royals replaced their starter and began the string of relievers from their bullpen. And in the 6th, the Royals really suffered their biggest blow. With yet another reliever on the mound, the Mets put runners on base with a 1-out single and a hit-by-pitch. A single scored one run and a fielder’s choice loaded the bases, forcing another pitching change. A single from Captain America (it’s really superhero night, isn’t it?) scored 2 more runs, and a walk loaded the bases again. A sacrifice fly pushed one more Met across the plate.

And that would be enough, more than enough really.

Final score: 9-3 Mets, Royals lead series 2-1.

The parallels some people are drawing to the 1986 World Series is interesting. The 1986 Mets lost the first game of that series (to the Red Sox, by the way) by 1 run, the second game by 6 runs, and then came back to win the third game by 6 runs. For future reference, Game 4 was 6-2 Mets, Game 5 was 4-2 Red Sox, Game 6 was 6-5 Mets, and Game 7 was 8-5 Mets for a Mets’ win in the World Series. Though to be fair, in the 1985 World Series, the Royals were down 2 games and then came back to win Game 3, lost Game 4, won Games 5 and 6, and then overwhelmed the Cardinals to win Game 7 and that series.

It’s still very much anyone’s game, anyone’s series to win. And removing the potential for a sweep means that we’ll have November baseball this year.

Go Yankees!

World Series Game 2: NYM vs. KC — Cueto “took the Crown”

A relatively drama-free game tonight. No blackouts, no pouring rain (though rain was certainly a part of the game), no extra innings, no monster home runs, just some pretty nifty and pretty not-so-nifty pitching.

World Series Game 2 — Mets at Royals

Honestly, I was feeling great about the match-up between the two pitchers, two aces from each of these leading teams. And I was right about that, right up until the 5th inning. Both starters kept it very tight and close, making it feel like an easily anticipated postseason game. But then it shifted and by the end of the 5th inning, it felt more like a plain old regular season game. Sure, it was cold and rainy again in Kansas City, which can’t make playing a game any easier. But somehow the Royals made it look rather easy.

For his first 4 innings, Mets starter deGrom held the Royals off to just 1 hit and 2 walks, getting them to hit into ground balls and pop outs to plow through them in just a handful of pitches. But, like I said, his 5th inning was just off for the rookie starter, who made a name for himself in Queens for both his flowing mane and for being one of those pitchers batters didn’t want to face. His last inning certainly sealed the deal for the Mets’ outcome tonight — a lead-off walk, a single, an RBI single, a ground out that moved runners to scoring position, a line out (hope for the Mets!), a 2-RBI single, another single put runners on the corners, one more RBI single, and a ground out to end the inning and deGrom’s night (pushing him up to a whopping 94 pitches through just those 5 innings).

Mets relievers seemed to be a bit of a mixed bag for the rest of the night. The 6th and 7th innings were near-flawless, but the 8th inning started that off-centered feel again for the Mets. A single, a double, and an RBI double with no outs, and the reliever was on his way to the dugout. A new reliever gave up a sacrifice fly and a triple to score 2 more runs for the Royals this inning before a final reliever eliminated any chances for further run-scoring (in just 4 very effective pitches, by the way).

Now on the other side of things, today’s game belonged solely to Royals starter Cueto, who threw a complete game for the Royals. The well-built, chatty pitcher reminds me of early Sabathia in many ways — in physique, his extroverted tendencies, his pitching quirks, his strong command of the game, and his tenacity and determination and fierce competitive edge. He gave up just 1 run to the Mets the entire night in the 4th inning — 2 runners on base with 2 outs, a single (one of only 2 he’d allow all night) scored the Mets’ lone run. Command doesn’t really sum it up. 122 pitches in 9 inning, sharp and on-point all night. The Mets’ couldn’t seem to find his pattern and beat him tonight.

So after just under 3 hours (see, a regular season feel to it), it was clearly Cueto’s team to come out ahead.

Final score in Kansas City: 7-1 Royals, Royals lead series 2-0.

The Series heads to New York now, and the Mets love being home in front of their rabid fans (almost as much as the Royals and their fans do at Kauffman Stadium). So it will be interesting to see how this turns out once the games are in Queens.

And we have Yankee Universe News! (I know you’ve been missing this almost as much as I have!) Before today’s game, MLB honored Yankee closer Andrew Miller with the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award. He and his wife and child were on hand to accept the award from Rivera himself before the game. The NL Award, named for another great closer Trevor Hoffman, was presented to Pirates’ reliever Mark Melancon. The MLB commissioner named said awards in honor of the first and second greatest closers in MLB history, who were on hand to present their respective awards to the 2015 recipients.

Miller rightly deserves this honor (which you’ll know if you’ve followed this blog at all this season), with his 36 of 38 save opportunities (an AL best in percentage), 100 strikeouts (an average of 14.59 strikeouts per 9 innings, by the way), 0.86 WHIP, 2.04 ERA, and an opposing batting average of .151. Actually, the Yankee bullpen set records all over the place this year — Miller and Betances (the “Dynamic Duo”) set a franchise record for both having 100 strikeouts in a season, and the bullpen got a total of 596 strikeouts (a MLB record). It’s one of the many reasons the Yankees played October baseball this year.

Go Yankees!

World Series Game 1: NYM vs. KC — A bit of rain, 14 innings, a blackout, a birthday, & a loss

Ah, baseball is back… I do realize it’s only been four days, but it’s nice to be watching, talking about, and then writing about baseball once again. Yeah, this off-season is going to be both a blessing and a curse this year. Though I have to say I doubt I’ll be missing the late into the night extra innings games like tonight.

World Series Game 1 — Mets at Royals

An entire day of drippy, dreary, cold Autumn rain (that ended just before game time, fortunately). Five hours and nine minutes, 14 innings. If this is a sign of how this year’s World Series is going to be, we’re in for a long Series this year. It tied the longest game in World Series history with the 1916 Game 2 (Boston Red Sox over the Brooklyn Robins 2-1, Babe Ruth pitched all 14 innings, by the way) and 2005 Game 3 (Chicago White Sox over Houston Astros 7-5, Andy Pettitte was part of the Astros rotation having started the previous game).

On top of that, there was some broadcasting issues early in the game when a truck lost its signal for four minutes, causing the game to drop and viewers were faced with studio broadcasters for a few minutes while the game in Kansas City halted. If you’ve never been to a nationally televised game (at least one on the major networks), they do pay attention to such things — there’s always a guy with cards to say when they’re back from commercial, when they can start pitching for real again, when delays are sent to commercial or the studio so they don’t restart without an audience. It’s subtle if you don’t know where to look (find the nearest camera well usually), but it’s there. Unlike my grandfather’s days, where it was predominantly radio you had to be glued to, today’s game (especially the big ones) revolves not around the game but around the broadcast.

So a four-minute TV blackout is a big deal. But they cleared it up rather quickly, perhaps due to the large presence of a certain MLB executive (Joe Torre in the house), who has both broadcasting and World Series experience.

And some time in the five hours of game time, there actually was a game. And it was a doozy.

Giving credit where credit is due — both starters Harvey and Volquez were very evenly matched tonight (and their stats reflect it as nearly identical), which is not saying a lot because I expected more out of both of them. Both gave up 3 runs under their tenure tonight, both exiting the game with a no-decision, both leaving it up to their bullpen and offense to duke it out to the bitter end (the end that would come 8 innings later).

In the bottom of the 1st, the lead-off batter for the Royals hit an inside-the-park home run when the Mets’ center fielder booted the ball away from himself. That and the runner was just that fast around the bases. Then Harvey tamped down and got the Royals back under his “Dark Knight-ness”. Meanwhile, the Mets found momentary holes in Volquez’s start. A lead-off single in the 4th moved to 3rd on a 1-out single and then scored on another single to tie up the game. Then in the 5th, a 1-out solo home run pushed the Mets ahead of the Royals. And the lead-off single in the 6th scored on a sacrifice fly to give the Mets that insurance run.

That’s when the Royals pounced back on the Dark Knight in the bottom of that inning. A lead-off double moved to 3rd on a single and then scored on a sacrifice fly. A stolen base and a ground out put both teams on edge. But then a single scored the tying run for the Royals. Now both teams were looking for that winning run to be scored somewhere in the next few innings.

Again, handing over the ball to their respective bullpens and trusting the offense to come through at some point made up the next few innings. In the top of the 8th, the Mets finally got their wish. A lead-off double scored on a fielding error by the Royals’ 1st baseman, which gave the Mets their necessary lead. But all that went away when a 1-out solo home run by the Royals tied up the game in the bottom of the 9th and sent it to extra innings. (So many extra innings!) And as upsetting as that was for everyone from New York, that particular pitcher hasn’t blown a save since July, so it’s not like he was unreliable or something; it was just a good pitch that found the right timing for the batter.

And the revolving door of both bullpens began with some interesting outcomes. The Royals pitchers seem to thrive on striking out the Mets batters, but not as successfully as they might have hoped as in the later innings, it was the Mets on base threatening to break the 4-4 tie. Meanwhile, the Mets’ pitching staff worked the short ball, getting the Royals’ batters to hit into ground balls and fly balls which really showed off their terrific defense. Honestly, it was rather fun to watch both teams play like this because it showed why they were both World Series contenders practically since April.

Anyway, in the bottom of the 14th all that changed for everyone. The new Mets’ reliever had some trouble after his lead-off batter reached on a messy throwing error. A single moved the runner to 3rd before the next batter was intentionally walked to load up the bases with absolutely no outs (not a good sign for the Mets). A sacrifice fly (hit by the same player who allowed the Mets” lead in the 8th inning with his error) scored the winning, walk-off run to end the game with a Royals’ win.

Final score: 5-4 Royals, in 14 innings.

Other game notes: one of the Mets’ relievers, Jonathan Niese, celebrated his 29th birthday today, and in a rather fun twist, he was born on October 27, 1986, which is the day the Mets won their last World Series. Niese threw two innings late in the game, but really had a rather stellar outing, with 3 strikeouts. A happy birthday to him.

And in sad news, the father of tonight’s Royals starter Edinson Volquez passed away earlier today in the Dominican Republic, due to complications of his heart condition. The Royals chose to withhold the information from their starter at the request of his visiting family until after his start was complete, Volquez’s wife delivering the news privately during the game. Several other Royals teammates have lost parents in the last year and were heartbroken and sympathetic, motivated to win tonight’s game for Senor Volquez. Our condolences go out to the entire Volquez family during this time.

Go Yankees!

Championship ALCS6: TOR vs. KC — And we have a World Series…

Well, we have two teams to play the World Series now. The Royals will face the Mets for a best-of-7 starting Tuesday in Kansas City (AL home field advantage thanks to the AL win at the All-Star Game this past July).

ALCS 6 — Blue Jays at Royals

Even the rain couldn’t kill the Royals’ drive for the World Series tonight. A 45 minute rain delay in the middle of the 8th inning slowed play action, but with the score tied, perhaps it was the recharge the Royals needed to regroup and find their groove again. Whatever it was, it worked for them, but then the Blue Jays weren’t exactly letting them run over them that easily.

And I will give the Blue Jays credit for the excellent pitching by their starter Price. He’s not had such good luck this postseason at all, but today he held things together much better and his pitching was really pretty sharp tonight. The Royals got the best of him a bit — 5 hits, 3 runs, and a walk, but struck out 8 times over his 6.2 innings. The Royals hit him twice early — a solo home run in the 1st and one in the 2nd — to take the lead. The Blue Jays got their own solo home run in the 4th to halve the score.

And there they sat dividing up the innings between the great pitching by the starters and the Royals’ first reliever in the 6th and 7th innings. The Royals found a lapse in the 7th inning against the tiring Price with a lead-off single that ended up on 2nd 2 outs later. Price was replaced by the Blue Jays’ first reliever to finish off the inning, but a solid single scored that runner and gave the Royals an insurance run they didn’t know they would need.

In the 8th, the Blue Jays knew it was make-or-break time and found their moment with a new reliever. A lead-off single and an out set the stage for a 2-run home run that tied up the game. And as the rain started to fall, the powers that be decided to put the tarp on the field and wait out the front marching its way across the area. The sold-out crowd covered up and/or found cover in the stadium, the players stayed dry under the dugout overhang, the managers gave interviews to sideline reporters, and the colorful broadcasters (including former players Frank Thomas and Pete Rose and current Yankee Alex Rodriguez) both gave their opinions on the game thus far and showed off why they’re called “colorful” broadcasters. (And Twitter had fun with screen shots and random off-the-cuff comments from said “colorful” broadcasters.)

Anyway, after the rain passed through the area and the tarp came off the field, it was the Royals turn to see if they could do something about that glaring tie they had on the big crown-topped scoreboard out over center field. A lead-off walk scored all the way from 1st on a nice single to give the Royals the go-ahead run. Despite getting 2 runners on base with no outs, the Blue Jays realized they were letting the game slip away and buckled down to get the three outs they needed to get out of the inning, including a nice double play.

But with their well-established closer ready to come back (despite the rain delay), the Royals were ready to get their 3 outs to clinch their spot in the World Series. But a 1st-pitch single got a runner on base. A pinch-runner then stole 2nd and 3rd as the closer walked the batter. A strikeout and stolen base put both runners in scoring position with just 1 out. A much-needed strikeout gave the Royals and their over 40,000 fans hope. A little ground ball to 3rd base to get the runner at 1st ended the inning, the game, and the Blue Jays attempt at getting to the World Series.

Final: 4-3 Royals, Royals win series 4-2, Royals clinch ALCS and advance to World Series.

Shortstop Alcides Escobar was named the ALCS MVP. I can’t imagine this was an easy selection as so many players contributed to the Royals’ win, but Escobar was the most consistent batter and defender this particular series — going 11-for-23 (.478 average), 5 RBIs, and 6 runs scored.

My postseason predictions so far (hey, I did pretty good this time around!):

  • ALCS:
    • My prediction: Royals over Blue Jays in 6 games
    • Reality: Royals over Blue Jays in 6 games
    • Result: WIN!! (Gold stars all around here, except in Toronto where I’m thinking they’ve all become hockey fans once again.)
  • NLCS:
    • My prediction: Mets over Cubs in 5 games
    • Reality: Mets over Cubs in 4 games (a sweep)
    • Result: I was kinder to the Cubs than reality, but still I was pretty close, just off by a game.
  • World Series:
    • My prediction: Mets over Royals in 6 games
      • Reasoning: Mets have that team dynamic that just clicks, and they really have all year. Between their superhero pitchers and Daniel Murphy, I can’t see the Royals doing much to slow down the Mets’ momentum. However, the Royals do not give up easily and love late-inning comebacks (like we saw the Yankees do a lot this season), and if they start on their own momentum, the Royals are next to impossible to stop. So I think we’re going to see a pretty tight series, with some pretty ridiculous pitching all around.
      • But then again, anything is possible…

Who are you rooting for next week?

Go Yankees!

Championship Series ALCS5: KC vs. TOR, NLCS4: NYM vs. CHC — A pushback & a sweep

I woke up this morning thinking that by the end of this day we could have two definite contenders for the World Series this year, solid wins in each league, as both the Royals and the Mets needed just 1 more win to secure their respective league championship titles. And one of those came through, but the other is still battling off a team that’s not ready to give in just yet. Unfortunately for you “special fans” of a certain storied franchise this year purely for cinematic reasons, especially on today of all days, it was not to be.

Game 1: ALCS 5 — Royals at Blue Jays

Bottom line with the Blue Jays’ game today: they were better pitchers than the Royals by far today in every aspect. It didn’t start off that way. The Blue Jays had a slim lead with a solo home run in the 2nd, but nothing further for most of the game. In fact, the Royals starter did a pretty good job through his first 5 innings, but he faltered quite a bit as he entered the 6th inning. He loaded the bases with a walk, a hit-by-pitch, and a walk, and then walked in a run, keeping the bases loaded. His night was over as he had yet to record an out in the 6th inning.

The Royals reliever promptly got a strikeout, but a big bases-clearing double added 3 more runs to the Blue Jays’ total. He got 2 more strikeouts to get out of the inning, but the damage was clearly done. A new Royals reliever added another run in the bottom 7th with back-to-back doubles. He also gave up one more in the bottom of the 8th — a 1-out single scored on a 2-out RBI double. It was a little too close for comfort as that batter tried to stretch his double into a triple, but got tagged out at 3rd just after the run scored, so the Royals challenged it (rightly so) just to check the timing, making sure to know when the run actually scored (if he tagged home after the out, his run wouldn’t count), but the replay upheld the call on the field — run scored, out at 3rd to end the inning.

Again, Toronto’s pitching was just amazing tonight. Their starter was something stellar, going deep into the 8th inning, giving up just 3 hits, 1 walk, and 1 run — a 2-out solo home run in the 8th, that ended his night. His relievers effectively shut down the Royals, including the 5-pitch 9th inning.

Now, the game heads back to Kansas City to see who’s going to get that fourth win of the series first. Kansas City just needs one more win to clinch, but Toronto is still in there, aiming to win these next two games.

Final score: 7-1 Blue Jays, Royals lead series 3-2.

Game 2: NLCS 4 — Mets at Cubs

Okay, fairweather Cubs fans, blame Marty McFly for messing with the space-time continuum. That butterfly effect does massive damage, including messing up the kind of future we’ve come to expect for the last nearly 30 years, like the Cubs sweeping Miami in the World Series (in 5 games of what I’m assuming is a 9-game series). (Or you can enjoy this adjusted clip to accurately portray what happened in Chicago tonight.)

No, for whatever reason (*cough*Daniel Murphy*cough*), the Mets just pummeled their way through the NLCS and took the National League title tonight in a decided sweep of the Cubs, right in front of the Second City crowd. A little bit of good pitching, a little bit of strong offense, a little bit of decent defense, and a whole lot of sheer adrenaline and drive carried the day for the Mets.

The Mets’ offense started the game off in attack mode with a lead-off single. Two outs, a stolen base, and a walk later, a big 3-run home run jumped the Mets ahead. And that was followed by a solo home run and the Mets were off and running. With 1 out and 1 runner on base with a walk in the 2nd inning, the Cubs’ starter was done for the night. Not that their bullpen held much of a challenge for the Mets’ drive tonight. A new reliever gave up a single and a strikeout before a big double scored both runners. The Mets were up 6-0 in the middle of the 2nd inning.

The Mets’ starter had a bit more luck fending off the Cubs. His lone issue was the 4th inning — loading the bases with no outs, a ground out would score just one of those runners before he got out of that jam and that inning. He still didn’t make it far in the game, coming out of the game in the 5th inning. After that, both teams hit a bit of a stalemate, perhaps the 6-1 score was a bit either comforting or paralyzing (depending on your perspective).

It would be the 8th inning before anything else but a zero went up on the scoreboard. The Mets had a runner on base with a 2-out walk as that intrepid infielder Murphy got a big 2-run home run to push the Mets further ahead. That homer would make him the first player to hit homers in 6 consecutive postseason games and earn him the NLCS MVP. (But really, was there anyone else even in contention for this at this point?)

The Cubs got 2 more runs back when a lead-off double in the 8th scored on a 2-run home run to move them away from that lone run winking at them from the big scoreboard. But that would be it.

The Cubs simply could not seem to live up to 2015 predictions from a 26-year-old movie, but then again, the deck has been stacked against them since history defied them at every corner (the Miami MARLINS joined the NATIONAL League and thus couldn’t ever face them in the World Series, and the redistribution of the divisions to create the WILD CARD and thus the NLDS added in to push the World Series further into October.) Again, blame Marty McFly for altering history, if you must.

Final score: 8-3 Mets, Mets sweep series 4-0, Mets are the NLCS champions and clinch the NL World Series berth.

Travel and off-day tomorrow… enjoy your Thursday! And Happy Back the Future Day! I certainly enjoyed mine, as I spent it with my brother fulfilling a promise we made with each other to spend this day together (and marathon the movies) about 25 years ago. Even though we don’t have flying cars or bright pink hoverboards or the Cubs winning the World Series, it’s fun to remember what we believed about the future so long ago — that anything is possible, even a Cubs’ championship or auto-drying clothes or self-tying shoes.

So like Doc Brown says at the end of the trilogy, “Your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one.”

Go Yankees!