Just like Chicago weather, Cubs being blown away by Mets in every way
Thoughts after a Tuesday night in which the Cubs’ outlook and Chicago’s weather tracked one another closely: promising at the outset, dreary by the end.
● In one sense, yes, Trevor Cahill’s sixth-inning wild pitch was the decisive play in the Mets’ 5-2 victory in Game 3. But it’s hard to assign credit — or blame — to a singular moment in such a lopsided National League Championship Series. The Cubs haven’t led at any point over these three games. So complete is the Mets’ dominance that the score has been tied after only four of the 27 innings.
● Before Game 3, Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen voiced some concern that the Cubs could benefit from facing three consecutive hard-throwing right-handed starters. That wasn’t the case. Jacob deGrom allowed only one hit after the first inning and finished his night by retiring 11 hitters in a row. Now the Cubs will see a left-handed starter, Steven Matz, but it’s hard to interpret that as a good sign for Chicago. Matz’s fastball can reach 97 mph, and the Cubs managed only a .691 OPS against left-handed pitching during the regular season.
● Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy has tied a major-league record with home runs in five consecutive postseason games. The man he equaled — Carlos Beltran — did so in 2004, leveraging a sensational postseason in Houston into his lucrative free-agent contract with … the Mets. Murphy, too, will be a free agent after the season. To his credit, he’s avoided self-aggrandizement at this opportune time. When I asked after Game 3 what it feels like to be Daniel Murphy right now, he smiled and replied, “We’re up 3-0, and we’ve got a chance to win a series tomorrow. That’s what it feels like.”
● Meanwhile, the Cubs’ third and fourth hitters have been quiet. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are hitting a combined .190 (4-for-21) with one extra-base hit and one RBI in the NLCS.
● For those who wanted Joe Maddon to start Jon Lester on short rest in Game 4, here’s some context: Lester has done so twice in the majors, according to STATS LLC, most recently with the Red Sox on the final day of the 2011 regular season. (Yes, that was the game at Camden Yards that completed Boston’s late-season collapse.) Lester turned in a quality start that night — 6 innings, 2 earned runs — but Maddon remains committed to Jason Hammel in Game 4 on Wednesday.
● Finally, a biographical note courtesy of STATS LLC: Matz (Stony Brook) is the only pitcher born in the state of New York to start a postseason game for the Mets.