The Chicago Cubs entered a three-game series with the Mets at a subpar 6-9 record. Entering Friday, Chicago is now an even .500 with a 9-9 record after bringing out the brooms at Wrigley. Similarly, entering Friday, the New York Mets are at an even .500 with a 7-7 record. Chicago didn’t dominate the series (aside from the second game), they just got timely hitting. As a Cubs fan, it’s a good sight to see. As a Mets fan, you may want to turn away.
The first game of the series featured a solid pitching matchup between Taijuan Walker and Jake Arrieta. Both delivered solid games. However, Walker only lasted 3.2 innings due to a high pitch count resulting from six walks. He did have seven strikeouts and only allowed two runs. J.D. David did not help out on the defensive end as he committed two throwing errors. David redeemed himself (sort of) after hitting a home run, however, that was the only run the Mets could put up.
Arrieta (5.0 IP, three hits, one earned run, four strikeouts) was excellent for the Cubbies. His pitches had a lot of movement on them, possibly the most we’ve seen all season. It did get him in trouble at times, but it also got a lot of swings and misses. Chicago’s bullpen pitched four shutout innings with closer Craig Kimbrel shutting the door in the ninth for his fourth save of the season. The Cubs scored off an error, RBI single, and bases loaded walk.
The Mets entered the fourth inning up 2-0. They entered the fifth inning down 7-2. Four errors by the defense, eight walks issued and 13 hits allowed by Mets pitching led to 16-4 drubbing. Javier Baez put the exclamation point after crushing a grand slam in the sixth inning. It came to the point where INF Luis Guillorme came to pitch in the eighth. He allowed two runs but that did not make a difference. At least Francisco Lindor hit his first home run as a Met.
Chicago’s bat awoke on a cold night at Wrigley. The offense had been off to a very slow start as they are barely hitting over .200 as a team. David Bote and Baez had four RBIs while Matt Duffy (three hits and three RBIs) put together his best game as a Cub. Starter Zach Davies went four strong innings, allowing two runs while striking out two.
The final game of the series was the closest one. Chicago built an early three-run lead in the third inning with an infield single by catcher Willson Contreras and a two-run double by Kris Bryant. However, New York quickly retaliated in the fourth inning with a two-run shot from Pete Alonso (his second home run of the series). The Mets tied it in the seventh with a double by J.D. Davis. He had three errors in three games, but he sure did swing a hot bat.
It came down to a battle of the bullpens. The 10th inning was rocky for Cubs reliever Dan Winkler. The bases were loaded with one out after Winkler issued two walks. However, he induced an inning-ending double-play to hype the Cubs up heading into the bottom of the 10th. Chicago also had the bases loaded after a HBP and intentional walk to bring veteran OF Jason Heyward to the plate. Heyward did hit a ground ball but it was a game-winning single off Mets closer Edwin Diaz.
Takeaways from the Series
There is still so much baseball left in the season that this series will be in the back of New York’s minds. It stings now but the NL East surprisingly does not feature a team above .500. Both New York and Philadelphia are leading the pack with .500 records. So, they did not lose ground in the division. However, New York will need their offense and the back-end of their rotation to improve after proving to be problematic in this series. Walks were a plenty and New York scored a total of eight runs in three games. Chicago scored seven runs in one inning.
The Cubs needed a series win, but a sweep is a hell of a lot better. At 9-9, the Cubs are seated in second place in the NL Central. They play a pivotal weekend series against the division-leading Brewers where Cub bats have struggled to produce against Brewer pitching. The momentum will carry over from this series sweep and the Cubbies should be ready to get their revenge.