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Murphy wonders if postseason HRs were no fluke

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Murphy wonders if postseason HRs were no fluke

Deep playoff runs, regardless of sport, often feature production from places which are least expected. And for the New York Mets and their 2015 World Series run, nothing was less predictable than the home run surge of second baseman Daniel Murphy, who is now with the Nationals.

It's not that Murphy wasn't a good hitter. He had long been known as a guy who can get a bat on the ball and avoid strikeouts. But home runs? Not exactly his forté.

That was until October, of course, when Murphy smacked seven homers in 14 games in his first ever postseason. His unlikely run included homers in six straight games, which earned him NLCS MVP honors.

Murphy hit only 14 homers in 130 total games in the 2015 regular season. That was a career-high after he clubbed only nine the year before.

Though the postseason homers appeared at first to be an aberration, Murphy wonders if an adjustment to his swing is the real reason for his newfound power.

"The big question is whether I can hit homers. I did it in the postseason with some adjustments and some foundations that were laid in New York last year working with hitting instructors there. And I’ve already been in discussions with Rick Schu. Hopefully some of the adjustments we’ve made can continue. I feel that Rick and I will be able to add to that, hopefully going forward. He will be able to tell me some things and we can have a new dialogue that I’ve never heard before. Hopefully we can have that relationship growing in spring training. I don’t know if I can keep hitting home runs, but I sure hope so," Murphy said.

Murphy had never played in the postseason before, but did not look like it, as he helped power the Mets NL pennant. He hopes to draw confidence from that experience, which could also help him as a hitter moving forward.

"I think the biggest thing is it kind of allowed me to realize that I can slow my heart rate down when things are moving really fast. I had never done the postseason before and then Game 5 against the Dodgers, I needed Maalox. Things were moving really fast leading up to the game starting. To be able to be in that position, which many players on the Nationals have done before. To have that postseason experience allows you to slow your heart rate down and become a little more accustomed to it. It was something I had never experienced before," he said.

That is not to say Murphy will be overconfident, either. He described how his life changed after the playoffs. Whatever did change, it didn't last long.

"It's humbling. The home runs and the run we were able to go on in New York, it was fun," he said. "But you come back to reality really quickly when you get home and look at the wife with a 21-month-old and she's nine months pregnant. It's like 'alright, time to focus on the offseason.'"

[RELATED: Nats' GM Rizzo issues a detailed defense of Papelbon]

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

Remember Jim Riggleman, the infamous Nats manager that resigned from the position back in 2011 after a win against the Seattle Mariners? Well he's back in a managerial position.

Bryan Price was fired as manager of the Cinncinati Reds Thursday, after the team started the 2018 season 3-15. Riggleman, who spent four seasons as their bench coach, was named the interim manager to replace Price.

Riggleman was promoted to interim manager of the Nats in July of 2009, after Manny Acta was let go midseason. He stayed on as manager for 2010 and 2011, and he then resigned from the team on June 23, 2011 after a win agaisnt the Seattle Mariners. He had lead the team to a win in 11 of their last 12 games prior to stepping away.

The reason behind the dramatic exit was due to the organization not yet picking up his 2012 contract option. He had reportedly requested a conversation with the front office about his future with the organization, and was upset after they declined. At 58 years-old, he felt he deserved more respect.

He's been with the Reds organization since 2012, and has spent time managing the Padres, Cubs and Mariners, in addition to the Nationals. His career winning pct. with each team has been below-.500.

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes launched a grand slam during a nine-run outburst in the eighth inning that rallied the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 11-5 on Wednesday night, preventing a three-game sweep.

Todd Frazier tied it at 4 with a two-run single and pinch-hitter Juan Lagares put New York ahead for the first time with a two-run double off ineffective setup man Ryan Madson (0-2).

Shut down by Tanner Roark for seven innings, the first-place Mets broke loose in the eighth and improved to 13-4 with a stirring victory against their NL East rivals.

Ryan Zimmerman homered twice, tripled and drove in four runs for the Nationals, who pulled off their own big comeback in the eighth inning of the series opener.

Two nights later, New York returned the favor.

Roark limited the Mets to two hits and left leading 4-2. Michael Conforto, Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera singled off Madson to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. Jay Bruce fouled out before Frazier smacked a two-run single up the middle and advanced to second on the throw home.

After an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez loaded the bases again, pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores struck out. Lagares then lined a two-run double the other way, just inside the right-field line at the outer edge of the infield grass, to put the Mets up 6-4.

Sammy Solis walked Amed Rosario and Conforto to force in a run. Cespedes connected for his sixth career slam -- the third by the Mets already this season -- off A.J. Cole, sending fans into a frenzy.

Both of Cespedes' hits in the inning came on 0-2 pitches.

AJ Ramos (1-1) worked a perfect inning for his first win with the Mets since being acquired from Miami last July.

Howie Kendrick reached on an infield single for Washington in the first and Bryce Harper drew his 24th walk, most in the majors. Zimmerman, batting .121 at that point and struggling to make opponents pay for bypassing Harper, came through with a drive to left-center off Steven Matz for his second home run of the season.

Matz steadied himself after a 33-pitch first inning and retired his final 10 batters. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fourth after throwing 74 pitches.

Cabrera doubled to open the fourth and scored on Gonzalez's single. Zimmerman had a chance to start an inning-ending double play, but his throwing error from first base allowed another run to score on Jose Lobaton's RBI grounder as the Mets cut it to 3-2.

After Mets pitchers retired 16 in a row, Zimmerman's leadoff triple in the seventh got past a diving Bruce in right field, and Moises Sierra followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Zimmerman also hit a solo homer in the ninth.