How Does Daniel Murphy's National League Championship Series Compare to Other Top Performances?
I'm pretty sure Daniel Murphy just hit another home run.
The New York Mets are in the World Series for the first time since 2000 and, yes, much of that is due to the brilliant pitching performances put forward by their startlingly good rotation. Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz overwhelmed a Chicago Cubs offense that came into the National League Championship Series on a serious roll.
The starters are the main reason the Mets are moving onto the Fall Classic. But it would not have happened without NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy's ridiculous, and completely out of character, power display.
Murphy hit yet another home run in Game 4 on Wednesday night, following homers in Game 3, Game 2, Game 1, Game 5 of the NLDS against the Dodgers and Game 4 of that series as well. That's six straight games with a homer in the postseason, seven total in the playoffs. That's coming off a regular season in which he hit a career-high 14 long balls.
In other words, in this, his very best power season ever, Murphy has gotten half that total in nine postseason games. And five of those homers were against Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw.
Just how unlikely was his eighth inning blast in Game 4 to set the record?
Based on Daniel Murphy's HR ability and batting position, his odds of hitting HR is six consecutive games: 0.0001890%
— numberFire (@numberFire) October 22, 2015
Those six straight games with a home run broke the previous record of five, held by Carlos Beltran. His seven dingers also put him past Chase Utley for most home runs hit by a second baseman in a single postseason. And his seven playoff homers ties him with Melvin Upton, Troy Glaus and Jayson Werth for the second-most in a single playoff season, trailing Barry Bonds, Nelson Cruz and Beltran with eight.
Daniel Murphy's 1.294 slugging percentage surpasses Bob Robertson’s 1.250 (PIT, 1971) as highest for any 4-game LCS. pic.twitter.com/WR02zPSFlc
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) October 22, 2015
So how does Murphy's incredible NLCS stack up among some of the other top League Championship Series performances in MLB history? Here are some of the best.
2011 ALCS - Nelson Cruz
Cruz went on a power rampage as MVP of the 2011 ALCS, but his power display was no fluke after hitting 29 homers for the Rangers in the regular season. Still, his six home runs in a single League Championship Series is still a record, as are his 13 RBI, accomplished in six games. His 1.273 slugging percentage is third-best all-time, behind Murphy, and his OPS is 9th.
For my money, Cruz' performance in this series was the greatest in League Championship history.
2015 NLCS - Daniel Murphy
I've got Murphy's blitzkrieg as the second-best performance in LCS history, simply because of all the damage he did in just four short games.
There's no doubt Murphy's postseason this year will go down as one of the most memorable in baseball history, and it's not even over yet. He'll have another four games to add to his legacy. However, as far as LCS records go, Murphy's slugging percentage of 1.294 ranks second all-time, his 1.850 OPS ranks fifth, his 22 total bases is tied for 10th, and his four homers are tied for second.
2004 ALCS - David Ortiz
Ortiz didn't only put up the stats -- he also got the biggest hits, helping bring Boston back from an 0-3 series hole, the only team ever to pull that off. He had two walk-off hits in that series, and tallied 3 homers and 11 RBI. His 12 hits were tied for seventh-most in an LCS, and his 28 total bases were tied with Cruz and Hideki Matsui in that same series for most all-time.
2010 ALCS - Josh Hamilton
Hamilton's four homers are tied for second-most (along with Murphy and a number of others) in an LCS, helping get the Rangers to their first-ever World Series.
1978 NLCS - Steve Garvey
Garvey also hit four homers in his LCS and was named MVP thanks to a robust 1.611 OPS, helping the Dodgers upset the Philadelphia Phillies that season.
1989 NLCS - Will Clark
This was an epic showdown between two of the best-hitting first basemen, San Francisco's Clark and...
1989 NLCS - Mark Grace
...Chicago's Grace. The Giants came out top in both these battles, with the Giants advancing to the World Series against the Oakland Athletics, and Clark besting Grace in every category, by the thinnest of margins. Clark's .650 batting average was fourth-best in an LCS and Grace's .647 was fifth-best. It was an incredible duel by two of the game's best players.
2004 NLCS - Albert Pujols
It's no surprise to find Albert Pujols on this list. He won the 2004 NLCS MVP by going absolutely crazy, hitting 4 homers in the seven game series, with a 1.563 OPS and a batting average of .500.
1987 NLCS - Jeffrey Leonard
In the same vein as Murphy, Leonard was not a star player for the San Francisco Giants but put on a star performance in the NLCS that year, winning MVP honors with 4 homers and an OPS of 1.417 in seven games.
2011 NLCS - David Freese
David Freese's true heroics game in the World Series against the Rangers (Game 6, y'all), but he also had a tremendous ALCS, winning MVP honors with three homers and a 1.691 OPS that is 10th all-time in a League Championship Series.
1982 ALCS - Fred Lynn
Lynn is one of the most underrated players in baseball history, and he was especially great in the 1982 ALCS. His .611 batting average in that series is sixth-best all-time for a League Championship Series, his .650 on-base percentage was eighth-best. He only hit one homer, though, so it was not a performance powered by the longball. Yet, he was named MVP of that series.