New York Mets 4, Chicago Cubs 0
Game 1: New York 4, Chicago 2
Game 2: New York 4, Chicago 1
Game 3: New York 5, Chicago 2
Game 4: New York 8, Chicago 3
Back to the Future 2 famously included a newspaper headline “Cubs Sweep Series” on October 21, 2015. Well, on October 21, 2015, the Cubs were part of a sweep in a postseason series, although it wasn’t the World Series, and they were the ones being swept. The New York Mets swept Chicago, as the Mets never trailed in any of the four games in the series, to advance to their first World Series since 2000, as they try to win their first championship since 1986.
Since this series was not as back-and-forth as some other postseason series have been, the key points in this series I will outline won’t be individual moments, but the things that helped the Mets throughout the series.
Starting Point: Daniel Murphy
Murphy, the Mets second baseman, set a postseason record with a home run in six straight games, dating back to Game 4 of the NLDS against the Dodgers. Murphy’s homer in Game 5 of the NLDS was the difference, as the Mets won to advance, and he homered in the first inning of Game 1 against the Cubs to give the Mets a 1-0 lead, and again in the first inning of Game 2 to give the Mets a 2-0 lead. In the third inning of Game 3 in Chicago, Murphy went long again to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. In Game 4, after the Mets had already taken a 6-1 lead, Murphy made history with a 2-run shot to center to extend New York’s lead to 8-1, as he set the postseason record for consecutive games with a homer, breaking Carlos Beltran’s record set in 2004. For the series, Murphy hit .529 with four homers and six RBI, and was named the series MVP.
Turning Point: The Mets’ Starting Pitching
It is not news to close followers of the game that the Mets have good, strong, young starting pitching, but that was shown off to the world in this series. Over 25 IP, the Mets starting staff had a 2.16 ERA. In Game 1, Matt Harvey pitched 7.2 innings, allowing four hits and two runs. In Game 2, Noah Snydergaard, threw 5.2 innings, allowing three hits and one run. In Game 3, ace Jacob deGrom went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits. In the clincher, Steven Matz only went 4.2 innings, but only allowed a run on four hits. Each starter except Matz got credit for a win in their game (Matz didn’t pitch the minumum of five innings for a starter to get a win). For the series, the rotation had an incredible WHIP of 0.84.
Ending Point: Lucas Duda
The Mets’ first baseman was just 1-for-6 in the series going into Game 4, with his lone RBI coming on a groundout, but he took over in the finale, with a 3-run homer as part of a first inning that gave the Mets a 4-0 lead. In the second, Duda got two more RBI on a double, which made the Mets lead 6-0. While Duda wasn’t a huge part of the Mets success in the first three games, he helped to put away Game 4 early, and got the party started in Queens as the Mets clinched their first NL pennant in 15 years.
The Mets will advance to the World Series to play either the Toronto Blue Jays or the Kansas City Royals, with the Royals currently leading the ALCS, 3-2. The AL winner will have home-field advantage in the series, so the Mets will host Games 3-5, but many experts are saying the Mets will be the favorites in the Fall Classic, regardless of the opponent.