NEW YORK CITY — Revenge is a dish best served
cold red hot, which is exactly what Daniel Murphy is against his former team, the New York Mets.
Going into Sunday’s game, the All-Star second baseman had at least one hit in each of his 12 games against the Mets, with eight of those being multi-hit games. That’s an astronomical batting line of .438/.462/.875.
His slugging percentage was 89 points higher against the Mets than against any other team in his career, beating out the Kansas City Royals, who he punished in last year’s World Series.
The contact to damage ratio has also been high, as he had three doubles, six home runs and 19 RBI, while also scoring 10 runs. He has just 10 home runs against the entire rest of the league.
With one game left to go before the All-Star break, the Nats put out this highlight video of Murphy’s revenge on the Mets:
Not one to be jinxed, Murphy started out Sunday’s game against the Mets the only way he knows how: drilling a two-run home run in the top of the first inning for the early lead:
For those of you keeping track at home, that’s now 22 hits in 13 games, seven home runs and 21 RBIs, with 11 runs scored.
So what makes Murphy so good against his former team? It isn’t the quality of the pitching staff, as the Mets are currently third best in baseball for team ERA (3.39), trailing only the Nats (3.30) and Cubs (3.34). In fact, if not for Murphy, the Mets would have the best ERA in baseball.
It isn’t even pitch selection, as Murphy has drilled his home runs from a diverse pitch location:
“It definitely means more when you’re playing your old team,” Nats manager Dusty Baker said of Murphy. “He knows them, and they know him. He knows the catchers. He knows most things about the matchups and stuff and what they’re gonna try to do to him and do to us.”
As a result, frustrated fans at Citi Field have stopped cheering for Murphy, who spent seven seasons in New York after coming up through the system. He might have stayed forever, if the Mets had bothered to offer him a contract in free agency.
Now, the Nats’ $37.5 million offer looks like a bargain, as Murphy will go into the All-Star break leading the National League in hits, average and total bases.
“I don’t understand the booing because he took them to the World Series,” Baker told the media. “That part I don’t understand, because Murph didn’t do anything to cause that. He didn’t say anything adverse about the Mets’ organization that I know of or certainly not anything against the players. He’s a gentleman, lead-type warrior. I’m glad we have him.
“Murph is learning how to hit the ball out of the ballpark, so sky’s the limit. Who knows what he may become? I know what he already is. He’s a gentleman, lead-type warrior. I’m glad we have him.”