Starting pitching ruled the narrative once again for the Mets. But, it would be remiss not to mention Daniel Murphy, who once again launched a home run and second of the NLCS. Murphy now has hit six home runs in 8 postseason games, and is the favorite to win NLCS MVP. His incredible postseason heroics, combined with the consistent and quiet dominance of the Mets starters has afforded the team a 3-0 series lead and one win away from the World Series.
Jacob Degrom, the ace of the 2015 version of these Mets, came back out onto the mound in a tough to win road environment and produced. Degrom, nearing triple digits with his fastball as usual, gave up only two runs over seven innings while striking out seven. After allowing a first inning opposite field home run to Kyle Schwarber, Degrom settled in until the bottom of the fourth. In the bottom half of the frame, the enigmatic and supremely talented Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler also hit an opposite field homerun into the right centerfield bleachers. After the Soler homer, Degrom settled into a different level, and retired the final 11 batters he faced.
Even with the two punches thrown by the young Cubs, the Mets held firm and continued to do what they’ve done all postseason: grind out at bats, play defense, and take advantage of mistakes.
Where the game was won:
The Mets played the best version of small ball they could in the sixth inning. After a Yoenis Cespedes single, the power hitting Lucas Duda did something he almost never does. Duda dropped down a perfect sacrifice bunt down the third base line. Cespedes then took off and stole third base, the fourth time the Mets have swiped third this LCS. After a groundout to third failed to drive in Cespedes, rookie Michael Comforto stepped to the plate. After working the count to 2-2, Comforto swung at a breaking ball in the dirt for strike three, but the ball skipped away from Cubs catcher Miguel Montero. Comforto reached first base safely, and Cespedes scored the game’s deciding run.
In the top of the seventh, Cubs reliever Travis Wood started the inning with a strikeout of Curtis Granderson. Wood then gave up a double to right-handed hitting David Wright. After surrendering an infield single to David Murphy, Cubs manager opted to bring in righty Justin Grimm into the game. Grimm proved to be mostly ineffective, as Cespedes singled to left, driving in Wright. The next batter was Lucas Duda, who drove in the Mets fifth run with a ground out.
The two runs scored in the top of the seventh proved to be more than enough for the Mets, whose bullpen contributions of Tyler Clippard and shut-down closer Jeurys Familia locked down the win.