What to look for: Cubs vs. Mets, NLCS Game 2 8:07 PM
The Mets will look for a 2-0 advantage in their best-of-seven National League Championship Series against the Cubs on Sunday night at 8:07 pm at Citi Field.
Here is tonight’s starting lineup for New York:
Curtis Granderson – RF
David Wright – 3B
Daniel Murphy – 2B
Yoenis Cespedes – CF
Lucas Duda – 1B
Travis d’Arnaud – C
Michael Conforto – LF
Wilmer Flores – SS
Noah Syndergaard – RHP
Here is tonight’s pitching matchup:
Noah Syndergaard (0-1, 3.68 ERA in the postseason) will start for the Mets.
Jake Arrieta (2-0, 2.45 ERA in the postseason) will start for the Cubs.
Here is what I’m looking for from the Mets tonight…
A difficult time of it at the plate.
It’s cold, it’s windy, and the Mets are once again facing a Cy Young Award contender, and a pitcher who has been lights out amazing in the second half in Jake Arrieta.
Runs will probably be hard to come by if he’s on, although he didn’t have an easy time of it in the NLDS against the Cardinals despite going 2-0.
But facts are facts. He’s 13-1 with a 1.60 ERA on the road this year. He’s held left-handed hitters to a sub-.500 OPS and a .159 average in 2015. He’s been absolutely incredible in 2015, and certainly worthy of a Cy Young Award and arguably an MVP Award in the National League.
So the Mets have to simply match Arrieta pound-for-pound and just not give up any runs if they can avoid it. That means quality pitching, tight defense, and good at-bats to get Arrieta’s pitch count up as fast as possible.
It’s not that easy, but that’s the task at hand.
It’s always a fun night when Syndergaard takes the hill, as he’s capable of dominating with his 100 mph fastball, filthy curveball and a couple of tricks up his sleeve with his two-seamer and change-up.
He last faced the Cubs in his big league debut in early May, and he’s obviously an evolved pitcher since that time. He’s cool, confident and knows what he’s doing out there now. That and his electric stuff in a pitcher’s environment on Sunday should make for an amazing show if he’s got his good command and mixes his pitches up right.
The one thing to watch with Syndergaard is the life on his pitches. Remember, just 72 hours ago he spent a good amount of time warming up to relieve Jacob deGrom, and finally came in late in the game. But there were some questions as to whether or not he could make this start, so they’re clearly concerned about his stamina tonight.
The Mets have a grand opportunity to take control of this series ahead of the next three games in Chicago.
Since the seven LCS game format was introduced in 1985, nine of the 10 teams that took a 2-0 series lead went on to win the series.
The only team since then to lose a series with a 2-0 lead was the 1985 Dodgers against the Cardinals.
In addition, during the Wild Card era, four teams have opened up a 2-0 series lead in the NLCS at home: the 2013 St. Louis Cardinals, 2008 Philadelphia Phillies, 2004 St. Louis Cardinals and 1999 Atlanta Braves.
All four of those teams went on to advance to the World Series.
A win today forces the Cubs to win four of the next five with a guarantee of having to come back to Citi Field to do it. They have a huge mountain to climb to get there as they attempt to crack Arrieta, but they defeated both Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke to get this far, so this isn’t out of the realm of possibility.