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Mets defeat Dodgers, advance to NLCS

The final four is set: Toronto, Kansas City, Chicago, and New York advance to the Championship series.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Jacob deGrom had to fight, but he got the big outs he needed to keep the Mets. It was never going to be easy. Facing Zack Greinke was always going to be a challenge, and besides: a $271,608,629 opening day payroll is ridiculous. How could the Mets, with a $101,344,283 payroll, hope to even be on the same playing field?

Fortunately, the economics of the game are not the be-all, end-all of the competition. As the economic fractures of the game threaten to rip the seams of competition apart, in a league where spending and revenue is all over the board, teams with mid-market or even small payrolls can compete if they're managed well. The Mets, who had shaved their payroll from $142 million in 2011 to $84 million in 2014, were finally able to put together a good product on the field in 2015 and it was obviously good enough to overcome the most gluttonous organization in Major League Baseball.

For reference: when the A's faced the Yankees in the autumn of the 2001 playoffs - as seen in the opening scene of the film Moneyball - there was an image that showed you what Oakland was up against: a payroll that was 288% of their own.

moneyball 9.0

In 2015, the Dodgers' payroll was 268% of the Mets. Moneyball 9.0.

Greinke did a fair enough job for the Dodgers, striking out nine over six and two-thirds. But deGrom only allowed two runs, and Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia (remember him from another winter meetings sim?) gave New York three innings of shutout relief.

Daniel Murphy did the rest.

Congratulations to the Mets, who will host Chicago for games one and two of the NLCS beginning tomorrow night.