One Man Offensive Show
Daniel Murphy. If two words were to describe the reason for the Mets wins and the Cubs losses in this NLCS, no two words could better do it than "Daniel Murphy." He has become the unsung hero of the postseason for the Mets and the man who proved that Jake Arrietta is, in fact, a human.
After Tuesday night's game, Murphy hit a homer in his fifth straight postseason game and his sixth homer of the postseason. With his fifth straight, Murphy has tied Carlos Beltran's MLB record that he set in 2004.
On the Cubs side, Kyle Schwarber hit his franchise-best fifth postseason home run. Schwarber's home run came in the first inning off New York's starter Jacob DeGrom.
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The DeGromination Continues
Aside from a little hiccup in the first inning with the solo shot to Schwarber and another home run in the fourth from Jorge Soler, DeGrom continued his dominating ways.
The starter went at the Cubs young lineup with a mix of offspeed pitches that resulted in seven strikeouts over seven innings, nothing less than the Mets and their fans expected from the phenom.
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The Mets' pitching has been exceptional all the way throughout the postseason, but in the last three games has been something not seen earlier. Cubs manager Joe Maddon touched on this, saying
"The Mets have just pitched exceptionally well, and you've got to give them credit in these three games,"
Sure, Daniel Murphy has been creating runs out of thin air, but yet the pitching staff deserves credit beyond measure. Without their performances this series, the Mets might not be in the same position they are in. Whether it be the starting pitchers, the bullpen, or even closer Jeurys Familia, the Mets pitching staff has been a vital part of this postseason run.
The Cubs pitchers haven't been pitching badly, rather they've been outpitched. With the combination of Murphy and the Mets' pitchers, it has been tough to get away with just a "good" performance this series.
The Mets have set the bar at exceptional with their play so far. On Tuesday night, Kyle Hendricks was pulled after four innings at which point the score was 2-2. Maddon handed the game off to the bullpen, but it was defensive issues like a dropped ball in the outfield that led to the eventual Mets lead.
Amongst the defensive lapses was a strikeout that led to a run after the pitch went wild and Yoenis Cespedes scored from third. This gave the Mets a 3-2 lead, and they didn't look back.
Yet, the Cubs aren't down and out. They know they've dug themselves into a deep hole, but are still confident in their abilities. Outfielder Dexter Fowler said,
"If anybody can do it, it's us."
If the Cubs are able to pull off the comeback, they would join the 2004 Red Sox as a team to come back from a 3-0 deficit.
Looking Ahead: Game Four
The Mets send rookie Steven Matz to the mound in what would be the game that sends the Mets to the World Series for the first time since 2000. He will face off against veteran Jason Hammel who has struggled a bit but still been a solid pitcher for the Cubs. It will be interesting to see how the rookie handles the pressure of game 4, potential clinch situation.