Daniel Murphy has hit out of the #2 spot in the Mets’ lineup throughout most of the season, but manager Terry Collins decided to shake things up today by moving up to lead-off. Murphy responded with an eighth-inning solo home run that gave the Mets a 4-3 lead. The jolt of offense seems to have motivated Collins to keep Murphy at the top.
Collins on Murphy, via ESPN’s Adam Rubin:
“He gets on base, because he can hit. And when he’s swinging good, he can get some walks. We’ve got to get some people on ahead of David [Wright]. That’s for sure.”
While it is true that Murphy can get on base — his on-base percentage has ranged from .332 to .362 over the last three seasons — he isn’t really someone who draws walks as his career rate is a meager 6.5 percent. Given the Mets’ dearth of options however, Murphy is one of the better players to put up there.
The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.
The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.
Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.
The matchups for Tuesday’s action:
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.
Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.
The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.