Takeaways from the Mets 4-2 win against the Cubs on Saturday…
The Mets defeated the Cubs by the score of 4-2 in Game 1 of the 2015 National League Championship Series on Saturday night at Citi Field.
Here are my takeaways from the win…
A stingy win.
Great pitching always trumps great hitting. And on Saturday night, the Mets got that great pitching and silenced the bats of the young and electric Chicago Cubs.
The Mets set the pace early in this one with a first inning run thanks to another home run from Daniel Murphy, this one off of Jon Lester. That made the score 1-0, and that’s how it would be through the fourth inning as Matt Harvey was scintillating through his first four innings of work, retiring the first 12 he faced.
But Harvey ran into trouble immediately in the fifth inning when he plunked Anthony Rizzo. Starlin Castro followed with a liner to right field which sailed over Juan Lagares’ glove to plate Rizzo.
Suddenly, it was a tie game, and the crowd was really stunned after Lagares once again did not catch a ball he should have.
But it could have been worse, if not for a monumental throw from Yoenis Cespedes to nab Castro at the plate on an single from Javier Baez with one out. That play completely changed the complexion of the inning and stymied a huge opportunity for the Cubs to put up a crooked number.
The Mets immediately responded with a run of their own against Lester in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Wilmer Flores singled to left field. Then, Lagares semi-redeemed himself with a single of his own. After Harvey failed to get a bunt down, Curtis Granderson notched a two-out single to plate Lagares which gave the Mets the lead right back.
Harvey then retired the Cubs in order in the top of the sixth. And in the bottom of the sixth, the Mets bought an insurance run with a long solo home run from Travis d’Arnaud to center field.
After a dicey top of the seventh for Harvey, the Mets tacked on another run in the seventh inning, the Mets got another big run in the seventh inning.
Lagares capped a nice night at the plate with a leadoff single. He was bunted over to second by Harvey, and then he stole third on Lester, setting up another RBI opportunity for Granderson.
And Granderson delivered with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1 Mets, more than enough for Harvey and Jeurys Familia, the latter earning his third save in six games in the playoffs.
A valiant #HarveyDay.
Harvey was scintillating early in this game, retiring the first 12 batters he faced with relative ease. He started to stagger a bit in the fifth inning when he hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch to lead off the frame, and then was burned by a misread on a line drive to center field off the bat of Starlin Castro, which Juan Lagares just needed to catch.
But he bucked down for an easy sixth inning, before running into more trouble in the seventh inning thanks to a leadoff walk to Rizzo and some really bad luck on two double play attempts. But he willed himself out of the inning with some incredible heat to Javier Baez and finished off Tommy La Stella to get out of the jam.
He showed his guile in the seventh inning. He was clearly losing his grip on this game as his pitch count began to rise, but he willed himself through some very bad luck and some difficult, but free swinging hitters in the Cubs lineup.
His stuff was outstanding, and his early efficiency helped saved just enough gas for him to get out of the seventh inning, and earn himself a playoff win.
It was originally believed to be a difficult night for anyone to get any carry on the ball thanks to the cold and stiff breeze blowing in from the outfield on Saturday.
The Mets clearly didn’t get that memo.
Both Murphy and d’Arnaud hit some absolute bombs to help pace the Mets offense.
D’Arnaud’s home run was absolutely crushed. He hit a line drive over the center field wall which hit the apple.
And to think, it was the Cubs who were supposed to come to town and show off the power. On this day, the power display came from the Mets and were a big part of this game one win at Citi Field.
Teams that win the first game of a National League Championship Series have gone on to win 31 of the 45 previous series.
Needless to say, this was a huge win for the Mets in their quest for the National League pennant in 2015.
It also got a huge monkey off the Mets backs as they ended a nine-game losing streak dating back to August, 2014 against the Cubs, and a five-game losing streak against Chicago at Citi Field dating back to that same time.
Now the Mets are tasked with taking command of the series in game two before heading out to Wrigley Field, a building they have lost seven straight games in and haven’t won in since May 19, 2013. They’ll have to get through Jake Arrieta in order to be in that situation, but they’ve shown they’re up for such a challenge already in this Postseason.
Other notes from Saturday:
The Mets won for the first time against the Cubs in 2015 on Saturday. They’re 1-7 against Chicago this season.
All seven of Granderson’s RBI have come against left-handed pitching in the playoffs. He had 14 RBI against left-handed pitching during the regular season.
David Wright is now 1-for-19 in the playoffs, although he’s now drawn six walks in six games.
Three of Murphy’s four home runs in the playoffs have come against left-handed pitching in the playoffs.
Harvey allowed a home run to Kyle Schwarber in the eighth inning. It was the first home run allowed by a Mets starting pitcher in six games in the playoffs.
Familia has faced 22 batters in the playoffs. He’s recorded 20 outs, issuing just one walk and one single so far.