Since joining the Washington Nationals last season, Daniel Murphy has been among the best hitters in the league. He has also performed especially well against his former team, the New York Mets.
The New York Mets elected not to re-sign Daniel Murphy after an unbelievable 2015 postseason, and he went on to sign with their division rival and main competition, the Washington Nationals. Murphy’s phenomenal postseason performance carried over into the 2016 season, and his MVP-caliber season led the Nats to a division title.
Murphy hasn’t looked back since joining the Nats, and he has proved that his 2015 postseason performance was not a fluke. He’s always an excellent hitter and is an integral part of the Nats’ potent lineup, but he reaches a whole new level when playing against his former team.
In 26 games against the Mets, Murphy is hitting .394 with eight homers and 28 RBI’s. The Mets didn’t make much of an effort to re-sign him after he spent ten years in their organization, and now they are paying the price.
Out of all the teams that Murphy has played at least ten games against, the Mets are by far the team he hurts the most. He has his best batting average (.394), on-base percentage (.434), slugging percentage (.712), and on-base plus slugging (1.145) all against New York.
When asked if games against the Mets are more meaningful to Murphy, he always says that it’s just another game. However, his teammates have said otherwise. Earlier this year, Max Scherzer said that Murphy “wants to beat their brains in.”
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Players seem to love facing their former teams; a couple other examples of Nats performing well against their former teams are Scherzer recording 20 strikeouts against Detroit last year and Matt Wieters walking off Baltimore earlier this year.
The Mets traded for Neil Walker to replace Murphy at second base and he has performed well, but is nowhere near Murphy. Walker hit .282 with 23 homers last year, which is a solid season, but Murphy was easily one of the best players in the league.
In his first season in the nation’s capital, Murphy hit .347 with 25 homers and finished second in NL MVP voting. The Mets finished eight games behind the Nats, and Murphy played a crucial role in their success.
Murphy is putting together another excellent season in 2017, batting .344 with 11 homers in 61 games. Walker, on the other hand, is currently injured. Before getting hurt, he was hitting .270 with nine homers. Walker is once again having a solid season, but is still nowhere near Murphy.
The decision to not re-sign Murphy has hurt the Mets dearly and although they found a quality replacement, they miss him more than they could have ever imagined. Murphy playing against the Mets has turned into must-see TV, and he haunts them nearly every single game.
The Nats and Mets match up 12 more times this season, and it should be a lot of fun to watch Murphy continue to haunt his former team.