2015 National League Division Series 2
|2015 National League Division Series|
|New York Mets
90 - 72 in the NL
|3 - 2
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
92 - 70 in the NL
|1||New York Mets 3 Los Angeles Dodgers 1||October 9||Jacob deGrom (1-0) Clayton Kershaw (0-1)||9:30 pm|
|2||New York Mets 2 Los Angeles Dodgers 5||October 10||Noah Syndergaard (0-1) Zack Greinke (1-0)||9:00 pm|
|3||Los Angeles Dodgers 7 New York Mets 13||October 12||Brett Anderson (0-1) Matt Harvey (1-0)||8:30 pm|
|4||Los Angeles Dodgers 3 New York Mets 1||October 13||Clayton Kershaw (0-1) Steven Matz (0-0)||8:00 pm|
|5||New York Mets 3 Los Angeles Dodgers 2||October 15||Zack Greinke (1-1) Jacob deGrom (2-0)||8:00 pm|
Game 1 @ Dodger Stadium
|WP: Jacob deGrom (1-0); LP: Clayton Kershaw (0-1); SV: Jeurys Familia|
|Home Runs: NY - Daniel Murphy (1)|
- Attendance: 54,428
Game 1 had pitchers' duel written all over it. With Clayton Kershaw facing Jacob deGrom, it was a foregone conclusion that runs would be hard to come by, and the game went according to script. DeGrom, in particular, was outstanding, throwing 7 shutout innings and matching a Mets postseason record held by Tom Seaver by striking out 13 batters. For his part, Kershaw struck out 11 in 6 2/3 innings, making it the first time in postseason history that both starting pitchers had recorded at least 11 strikeouts, and the second-highest combined strikeout total ever. The problem for the Dodgers, however, was that Kershaw was unable to break his postseason losing streak, as in spite of the Ks, he allowed 3 runs to lose his fifth consecutive postseason decision.
It took a while for the first run to come across, as both pitchers began by putting up three straight scoreless innings. The Dodgers did get a pair of doubles, by Justin Turner in the 2nd and Corey Seager in the 3rd, but both were stranded. Things changed in the top of the 4th when Daniel Murphy homered to right field on a 2-0 count. In the bottom of the inning, the Dodgers had two men on with one out, but could not get them home. There were no further threats until the 7th, when Lucas Duda led off with a walk against Kershaw. Michael Cuddyer advanced him by 90 feet with a grounder to third, after which Ruben Tejada drew a walk. DeGrom was up next, and he laid down a sacrifice bunt to put both runners in scoring position, although there were now two outs. Kershaw then walked Curtis Granderson to load the bases and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly called on Pedro Baez to come to the mound. The game's key hit came with a full count as David Wright lined a single to center, driving in two runs for a 3-0 lead.
The Dodgers were now running out of time, especially after going down in order against deGrom in the bottom of the 7th. Tyler Clippard replaced him in the 8th and gave up a one-out double to Howie Kendrick, then one out later, Adrian Gonzalez singled to left to finally put Los Angeles on the scoreboard. However, at that point, Mets manager Terry Collins decided not to take any chances as he called on his closer, Jeurys Familia, to get the final four outs. Familia retired Turner on a line drive to first to end the inning, then in the 9th, he retired the three Dodgers batters in order to earn the save.
Game 2 @ Dodger Stadium
|WP: Zack Greinke (1-0); LP: Noah Syndergaard (0-1); SV: Kenley Jansen (1)|
|Home Runs: NY - Yoennis Cespedes (1), Michael Conforto (1)|
- Attendance: 54,455
In Game 2, one play was the talk of all of baseball: in the 7th inning, Chase Utley slid hard into Ruben Tejada in an attempt to break up a double play and upended him, sending him to hospital with a broken fibula. Most observers felt that the play was unnecessarily rough, and Major League Baseball agreed, slapping a two-game suspension on Utley, while Mets fans were irate. The play was key to the Dodgers putting together a four-run rally that gave them a 5-2 win which evened the series.
On the mound, the Dodgers' other ace, Zack Greinke, was facing rookie Noah Syndergaard. The man they call "Thor" was in no way intimidated by his opponent, as he used his 100 mph fastball to hold a 2-1 lead until the fateful inning. Both Mets runs came in the 2nd, the first on a lead-off homer by Yoenis Cespedes, and the second on one by rookie Michael Conforto. However, the Mets were unable to mount any threat after that early burst. Meanwhile, the Dodgers were not getting much done either until the 4th, when Justin Turner and Andre Ethier led off the frame with back-to-back doubles. However, Carl Crawford followed by hitting a ball back to Syndergaard, and Ethier was tagged out at third base. Crawford did steal second base, with two outs, but the Mets replied by issuing an intentional pass to Enrique Hernandez in order to face Greinke. While Greinke was one of the better-hitting pitchers in the league, he could not drive in the tying run this time, flying out to right field.
Thus the score remained 2-1 in favor of the Mets until the bottom of the 7th, the Mets being completely stymied by Greinke in the meantime. After Yasmani Grandal struck out to lead off the inning, Henriquez drew a walk, then with Utley batting for Greinke, he stole second base. Utley followed with a single to right and the Dodgers had runners on the corners with one out. Bartolo Colon was sent in to relieve Syndergaard. Next up was Howie Kendrick, who hit a ground ball to 2B Murphy that seemed destined to become an inning-ending double play. Murphy flipped the ball to Tejada at shortstop for an apparent out, but Utley slid full into him, upending him and preventing him from launching a throw; worse, Tejada landed awkwardly and broke a bone in his leg, ending his season. The Mets were furious, asking for interference to be called, but to add insult to injury, a video review showed that Tejada had not been able to touch the bag before the runner arrived and Utley was declared safe. The score was tied, the Mets were out an infielder - Wilmer Flores replaced Tejada - and there were two men on with still only one out. Seager flied out to left for the second out, but things then completely fell apart for New York as Gonzalez doubled in two runs and Turner hit his second double of the game to score Gonzalez and make the score 5-2.
Chris Hatcher came on to pitch the 8th and struck out Travis d'Arnaud and Conforto before retiring Flores on a ground ball. Closer Kenley Jansen took over in the 9th and was almost as efficient. He struck out pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson, but walked Granderson, who then moved over to second as the defense was not holding him. However, his potential run was not very important, and Jansen got back to business by getting David Wright to fly out and Murphy to pop up for the final out of the game.
Game 3 @ Citi Field
|WP: Matt Harvey (1-0); LP: Brett Anderson (0-1)|
|Home Runs: NY - Chase d'Arnaud (1), Yoennis Cespedes (2); LA - Adrian Gonzalez (1), Howard Kendrick (1)|
- Attendance: 44,276
The series moved to the Big Apple for Game 3 and the fans at Citi Field were screaming for blood in revenge for Ruben Tejada's broken leg. Commissioner Rob Manfred warned both teams before the game to "play correctly", but there were no incidents and Chase Utley did not play, even though he was eligible to do so as he had appealed his two-game suspension. In the end, the Mets did not turn to beanball wars or other hardball tactics, but simply crushed the Dodgers with their bats, 13-7, the final score disguising how much of a beatdown the game was thanks to three meaningless runs scored by Los Angeles in the 9th inning after the game had already been decided. On the mound the Dodgers felt the difference between their "Big Two" of aces Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke and their other, run-of-the-mill starters, as Brett Anderson had a tough night, lasting just three innings; for the Mets, Matt Harvey pitched just well enough to earn the win.
It was Los Angeles that opened the scoring, however, in the 2nd inning, as four straight batters hit singles to start the inning: Justin Turner, Andre Ethier, Carlos Crawford and Yasmani Grandal. Three runs resulted from Grandal's hit, as RF Curtis Granderson threw wildly after recovering the hit. However, Harvey settled down and retired the next three batters, and the lead was then immediately wiped off in the bottom of the inning. The Mets did the four straight singles thing, with Yoenis Cespedes, Lucas Duda, Travis d'Arnaud and Wilmer Flores doing the honors. D'Arnaud's hit made it 3-1, but Juan Lagares forced out Duda at home and Harvey struck out, almost ending the threat. The game turned on the next batter, however, as Granderson redeemed his earlier error by driving a ball to deep center, clearing the bases with a double. The Mets would then add six more runs over the next two innings to increase their lead to 10-3. In the 3rd, d'Arnaud homered with Cespedes on base, and in the 4th, the Mets added four runs against Travis Wood who replaced Anderson after Joc Pederson had batted for him in the top of the inning. Wood gave up a lead-off double to Lagares, but got the next two outs, and then the Dodgers decided to issue an intentional walk to David Wright. That was a bad move, as Daniel Murphy singled to drive in a run, and Cespedes followed with a three-run homer.
The rest of the game was academic. Harvey was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the 5th and Bartolo Colon replaced him. In the top of the 7th, Adrian Gonzalez hit a solo homer off Colon, but the Mets then replied by getting three more runs against Pedro Baez and J.P. Howell. In the 9th, Erik Goeddel came in to pitch for the Mets with a lead of 13-4, and he had some problems, giving up a three-run homer to Howie Kendrick and then a single to Jimmy Rollins. He was lifted without having retired anyone and manager Terry Collins called on closer Jeurys Familia to get the final outs. He made quick work of the next three batters, putting the Mets one win away from the NLCS.
Game 4 @ Citi Field
|WP: Clayton Kershaw (1-1); LP: Steven Matz (0-1); SV: Kenley Jansen (2)|
|Home Runs: NY - Daniel Murphy (2)|
- Attendance: 44,183
The Dodgers extended the series with a 3-1 win over the Mets in Game 4. It was an important win for the Dodgers, but perhaps even more important for Clayton Kershaw, who in spite of his brilliance in the regular season over the past few years, had lost five consecutive postseason decisions, a major reason why the Dodgers had been unable to go deep in the postseason during that period. He knew he had to deliver a vintage performance. His opponent was a raw rookie, Steven Matz, who had pitched well but in only six career starts, his season having been cut short by various injuries. Like the men who had preceded him on the mound for the Mets in this series, however, he had a world of talent and was not to be taken lightly in spite of his inexperience.
The two pitchers got off to a good start, each only issuing a walk through the first two innings. In the 3rd, however, Los Angeles got going, and it was Kershaw who opened the hostilities with a one-out single to left. He was forced out by Enrique Hernandez, then Howie Kendrick singled to put runners on the corners with two out. Adrian Gonzalez followed with a single to open the score, then Justin Turner victimized his former teammates with a double to left that plated two more runs. It was 3-0 and the Dodgers had all the runs they would need with Kershaw having a good day. The Mets finally had their first hit in the bottom of the 4th, when Daniel Murphy homered to right field with one out. There would be no further scoring in the game, however.
Matz was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the 5th, having given up 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4. Bartolo Colon took over for him, a huge quantitative jump in major league experience, but the Dodgers were unable to generate any more offence. For the Mets, a lead-off single by Yoennis Cespedes off Kershaw in the 7th led to nothing and the two-time Cy Young Award winner left after 7 innings, having given up 3 hits and a walk while striking out 8. Chris Hatcher took over on the mound. The Mets sent up a couple of pinch-hitters, Michael Conforto and Kelly Johnson, in the hope of igniting something, but both made outs. Curtis Granderson did succeed in drawing a two-out walk and then stole second base. Hatcher walked David Wright, putting the tying run on base, but he got out of the inning by getting Murphy to fly out to right. The Mets had wasted their best opportunity of the evening - not that it was a huge one. In the 9th, Kenley Jansen was sent out to close the game, and doing his best Mariano Rivera impression, he struck out Cespedes and Travis d'Arnaud before getting Lucas Duda on a fly ball to center.
Game 5 @ Dodger Stadium
|WP: Jacob deGrom (2-0); LP: Zack Greinke (1-1); SV: Jeurys Familia (2)|
|Home Runs: NY Daniel Murphy (3)|
- Attendance: 54,602
The Mets eliminated the Dodgers with a 3-2 win at Dodger Stadium in Game 5. Both teams had a top-rank starting pitcher on the mound, Jacob deGrom for the Mets and Zack Greinke for the Dodgers, the two having spent a good part of the season in the top two spots in the National League ERA race, before Jake Arrieta sneaked up between them in the final stretch. As it turned out, deGrom did not have one of his best nights, as his stuff was mediocre and he was constantly in the ropes, starting in the 1st inning. Noah Syndergaard was warming up as early as the 2nd inning, but the Dodgers failed to get the hit that would have broken the Mets' backs. It was Daniel Murphy who turned out to be the hero.
New York got off to a good start as Curtis Granderson led off the game by beating out an infield single on a close play that was overturned following a video review. After a strikeout by David Wright, Murphy doubled to the left field corner, and the speedy Granderson raced home while Murphy advanced to third on an error by LF Enrique Hernandez, normally an infielder. However, Greinke struck out the next two batters, Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda, to strand Murphy on third base. The Dodgers then replied immediately as Corey Seager, Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner and Andre Ethier hit consecutive singles with one out to score twice and take a 2-1 lead. DeGrom managed to wiggle out of the jam by striking out Yasmani Grandal and Hernandez, however.
While the Mets were going down easily over the next couple of innings, the Dodgers were continually placing men on base against deGrom. They had two on with one out in the 2nd, but the Mets' starter reached back to strike out the next two batters. In the 3rd, Turner hit a lead-off double and stole third base with one out; Grandal walked to put a second man on, but Hernandez grounded into an inning-ending double play. In the 4th, Murphy led off the inning with a single, then moved to second on a one-out walk to Duda. With Travis d'Arnaud at the plate, the Dodgers put on a defensive shift that left third base uncovered, and Murphy alertly took advantage of the situation to steal the base. He was thus able to score the tying run when d'Arnaud hit a fly ball to right for a sacrifice fly. The Dodgers again put a man in scoring position in the bottom of the 4th, on a walk to Joc Pederson and a sacrifice bunt by Greinke, but they were unable to cash him in. It was a similar story in the 5th, as Turner hit his second double of the game, and his record-breaking 6th of the series, with one out, but Ethier popped up and Grandal struck out to end the inning.
Murphy, the Mets' most dangerous hitter all series, came up to face Greinke with one out in the 6th. He worked a full count, fouled off a change-up and then teed off on a fastball, sending it into the right field stands for a 3-2 lead. The crowd at Dodger Stadium went very quiet, realizing that all the missed opportunities to score runs in the previous innings were going to be a big problem. A reinvigorated deGrom came out for a 6th inning of work, and he retired the Dodgers in order for the first time, making the situation more critical for Los Angeles. The Mets threatened to add to their lead in the 7th, when Wilmer Flores singled with two outs and Kelly Johnson was sent to pinch-hit for deGrom; he singled as well, and that ended Greinke's night, as Luis Avilan took over on the mound. He got Granderson to fly out for the final out.
Mets manager Terry Collins had decided before the game that he would ask his closer, Jeurys Familia, to go two innings if he had a late lead. The question was who he would send to pitch the 7th. He decided to go with Syndergaard, who had warmed up a couple of times already, and he came out throwing 100 mph. He struck out a pair of batters around a walk to Gonzalez to put the Mets six outs away from a win. Familia came on as planned in the 8th and got the Dodgers in order. The Mets then tried to add an insurance run in the top of the 9th, as defensive substitute Juan Lagares doubled with two outs; Don Mattingly decided to walk Flores intentionally to force Familia to bat. Collins declined to send in a pinch-hitter, and let his closer come up to the plate where, as expected, he struck out against Kenley Jansen. Collins was confident that Familia could get the final three outs and did not need any further cushion, and he was proved right. Pinch-hitter Chase Utley, making his first appearance since his overaggressive slide in Game 2, lined out to right for the first out; A.J. Ellis and Howie Kendrick then both struck out and the Mets were moving on to the NLCS.
- Greg W. Prince: Amazin' Again: How the 2015 New York Mets Brought the Magic Back to Queens, Sports Publishing LLC, New York, NY, 2016. ISBN 978-1-61321-945-8
- Lyle Spencer: "Mets move on, while LA left to pick up pieces: Youth plays key role in NY's win over Dodgers, out early for third straight fall", mlb.com, October 16, 2015. 
|Major League Baseball National League Division Series