Two seasons ago, the Mets were fully engaged in fall baseball as a young and unheralded pitching staff carried them into the postseason. The grandest moment came in Chicago, where they completed a four-game sweep to win the 2015 National League Championship Series.
David Wright, who is rehabbing from shoulder surgery and won’t make this week’s trip to Wrigley Field for a three-game series with the Cubs, will enjoy looking back.
“In 2015 the outside expectations were probably minimal for what we would do that year,’’ Wright said. “We ended up going to the World Series. In 2017, the expectations were kind of through the roof for the team and the injuries happened and we’re in a completely different September than anybody coming to spring training expected us to be. Baseball’s fickle like that. It’s just you never know.’’
Only a handful of players remain from those who participated in that NLCS. And even fewer are healthy.
“I’ll look down the bench and they’ll be a whole new cast of characters,’’ Terry Collins said. “This is really the first time I’ve even given it a second thought, about what a great sensation it was, you know, what happened in 2015. I haven’t taken the time to think about that. I probably will when I get there.’’
Daniel Murphy, the NLCS MVP, hit .529 with four homers. He had four hits in the clincher. After the season, the free agent signed with the Nationals and has been a recurring nightmare to the Mets. Lucas Duda, who hit .400, was traded away this season, as was Curtis Granderson.
Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom each won a game in the NLCS. Steven Matz started the fourth game. Afterward, Syndergaard told the media: “We’re here, and we’re going to stay. And we’re going to be here for a long time.’’
Obviously, that did not occur. The Mets lost to the Royals in the World Series and last year were beaten at home by the Giants in the NL wild-card game. This season, only deGrom has remained healthy.
Meanwhile, the Cubs won their first World Series since 1908 last year. Entering Monday’s games, they held a two-game lead over the Brewers and Cardinals in the NL Central.
The Mets are 15 games out of the wild card but could play a spoiler role against the Cubs. If not, those who were here in 2015 can reflect on past achievement.
“Anytime I step in that stadium that’s what I vividly remember,’’ said Travis d’Arnaud, who homered in the clincher. “[Jeurys] Familia had the strikeout, so that pops up in my head.’’
Familia struck out Dexter Fowler for the final out.
“Good memory for me,’’ said Familia, who is trying to regain his closer’s role since returning from surgery to remove a blood clot. “The problem this year is the [injuries]. The team doesn’t play good, so they almost trading everybody. For me, I understand it’s baseball. It happens and I think next year will be better.’’
The NLCS was even fun from the bench for unexpected addition Matt Reynolds, who replaced the injured Ruben Tejada on the roster.
“Great memories. We got to pop champagne in that clubhouse,’’ Reynolds said. “It’ll be great to go back there. It doesn’t get much better. We were playing our best baseball at the best possible time. It was a lot of fun.’’
The moment was most special for Wright, the team’s captain, who has played in only 37 games since. He was in only 38 that year, but all four in the NLCS.
“I got great memories,’’ Wright said. “Celebration afterwards I’ll never forget . . . I guess the rallying cry in spring training this year was this group, we probably got one more shot to kind of finish that ultimate goal. Obviously didn’t get there.’’