After the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the NLDS, Vegas considered them the favorites to win the World Series.
Well, they just got swept by the New York Mets, this after losing 8-3 in Game 4 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field on Wednesday.
Did anyone see this coming?
“Since the LCS expanded to seven games back in ’85, I think this is the eighth sweep, so it doesn’t happen very often,” CBS Sports Eye on Baseball analyst Dayn Perry said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “It’s not an outcome you expect. But the Mets pitching, those young arms – those young power arms with all that velocity – they shut down the Cubs offense. I think it was eight runs over four games. That was the story. The Cubs hitters just looked overmatched at the plate. Those young arms, we kind of wondered would they hold up? Are they getting tired at this point in the year? They’re so young and they throw so hard, but yeah, they held up just fine.”
So did Daniel Murphy. In fact, Murphy has been other-worldly, becoming the first player to MLB history to homer in six consecutive postseason games. He was the easy choice for NLCS MVP.
“Obviously Daniel Murphy is a big story,” Perry said. “This is the thing about baseball. The postseason, it calls to mind . . . unlikely heroes who go on to experience short-run excellence. That’s one of the appealing things about the playoffs. You say this about every sport – and in baseball it’s particularly true – that you just have no idea what’s ever going to happen.”
Of course, the same could be said for the entire Mets’ season. New York was 52-50 entering play July 31. The Mets didn’t trade a crying Wilmer Flores, acquired Yoenis Cespedes, got healthy and didn’t look back, going 38-22 (.633) the rest of the way.
What exactly turned the Mets into a contender during the second half of the season?
“I go back to those young arms continuing to perform well and just how much they improved the offense,” Perry said. “Obviously Cespedes (helped). The Mets went from sort of a deadline punchline (to scoring) almost five runs a game (in the second half of the season). It was just an excellent offense down the stretch once they got all those bats back in the lineup and added Cespedes. Yeah, they played an easier schedule because of the general weakness of the NL East, but this is an excellent team particularly in the second half of the season. We’re seeing that right now.”
Terry Collins, meanwhile, has advanced to his first World Series at the ripe young age of 66. Drafted by the Pirates in 1971, Collins spent 10 years in the minors, managed in the minors, broke into the bigs as a coach in 1992 and got his first managerial job with Houston in 1994.
Collins said Wednesday that his roundabout trek to the Fall Classic was worth the wait.
“Collins, he’s old school obviously,” Perry said. “He’s been around the game for years and years and years, but he also knows how to scale back on some of those instincts and treat the younger players the way they want to be treated. He doesn’t remind me of Joe Torre in terms of personality, but he does in the sense of he knows when to put the foot on the gas and he knows when to ease off. He kind of rides the middle between a disciplinarian and a players guy. You just got to strike the right balance. I think that’s what’s really impressive about Collins, particularly handling the young roster under a lot of pressure this season in New York.”