Game 2 of the NLCS finds the Cubbies in a 1-0 hole, after the Mets won 4-2 behind a brilliant outing by Matt Harvey and more heroics from Daniel Murphy, who hit a home run in his third consecutive postseason game.
Sunday’s game features a rematch between Cubs ace Jake Arrieta and Mets rookie Noah Syndergaard, who faced each other on May 12, with Chicago coming out on top 6-1.
After spinning a 21-start run for the ages, Arrieta came crashing back to Earth in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Cardinals, giving up 4 runs in 5 ⅔ innings, but St. Louis couldn’t capitalize, as the Cubs went on to win, 8-6. Despite his humanity being confirmed, Arrieta is still the best bet in baseball right now, and he was dominant in two starts against the Mets this year, allowing only 2 runs over 16 innings, while striking out 17 and walking 2. Arrieta will be pitching on an extra day of rest, which may be just what he needs after a grueling stretch, during which he pitched 161 ⅔ innings over 22 starts in since June 21.
Syndergaard couldn’t make a 2-run lead stand up in Game 2 against the Dodgers, giving up 3 runs over 6 ⅓ innings, but he was solid in his 1-inning relief stint in Game 5 of the NLDS, and overall this postseason has pitched 7 ⅓ innings of 3-run ball, though he has been dogged by walks, giving up 5 free passes.
That May 12 showdown against Arietta was Syndergaard’s Major League debut. He lasted just 5 ⅓ innings, while giving up 3 runs on 6 hits and 4 walks, with Cubs 3B Kris Bryant going 3-for-4 with a home run and a triple. Since then, Syndergaard has a 3.17 ERA over 144 ⅔ innings.
If the Cubbies go down 0-2 after rolling out Lester and Arietta, they are in deep, deep trouble.
All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com
Watch the Chicago Cubs vs. the New York Mets at 8pm ET on TBS.