It's a bit odd when a team from New York City beats a team from Los Angeles and you feel like the underdog just got over on the big boy. But after Thursday night's 3-2 Mets win over the Dodgers, that's the vibe baseball fans have.
Zach Greinke was 19-3 this season. If those numbers don't tell you enough about the Dodgers Game 5 starter on Thursday, consider that his ERA was a ridiculous 1.66 and his WHIP (walks + hits/innings pitched) wasn't just under 1.00, which would have been excellent, but it was actually under .85, which is astounding.
And Greinke is the #2 starter for the Dodgers.
Clayton Kershaw, the Game 4 winner and 3-time Cy Young Award recipient, is their number one starter.
So the Mets had to face Kershaw and Greinke, who were a combined 35-10 on the season, four times in their five game seriesand somehow figure out a way to win three of those games to advance to their first NLCS since 2006.
In large part, they have Daniel Murphy to thank for this trip.
A huge stolen base in the 4th inning by the not-so-fleet-afoot Murphy led to the Mets tying the game at 2-2, and then Murphy took Greinke deep in the 6th to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. That would be the way it ended as Mets starter Jake deGrom, reliever (for a night) Noah Syndergaard and closer Jeurys Familia kept Los Angeles under wraps all night after the Dodgers scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning.
But the story Thursday was Murphy.
Down 2-1 in the 4th, Murphy led off with a single. Then with one out and lefty Lucas Duda at the plate, the Dodgers shifted three infielders to the right side of the infield. Duda walked on a 3-1 pitch and Murphy jogged to second base and never stopped. He sprinted to third base and reached safely, scoring on a sacrifice fly by Travis d'Arnaud.
"You've got to give a peek and hope that nobody calls timeout, because then I go sprinting to third base and somebody calls timeout, I look like a buffoon," Murphy said.
With runs against Greinke at a premium, Murphy literally stealing one was critical for the Mets, according to Mets captain and third baseman David Wright.
"An incredible play and a game-changer for us," Wright said.
Murphy's biggest moment came later with the homer off Greinke.
"I was pitching good, I was feeling confident," Greinke said. "I decided to challenge him. Looking back at it, it was the wrong decision."
Wright remembers 2006 well as the Mets swept the Dodgers in the NLDS that postseason, but this series win is more appreciated by the veteran.
"Back in 2006, it was a little less stressful because we ended up sweeping them," Wright said. "So this is probably more gratifying and sweeter, just because we went through the pitchers we did to get to this point."
For the Dodgers, they now face an offseason filled with uncertainty. Greinke could opt out of his contract and seek a bigger deal elsewhere and there is speculation that manager Don Mattingly may not be back at the helm in 2016. Mattingly looked like a man who was resigned to that fact after Thursday's loss.
"There are really no words to describe how you feel right now," said Mattingly.