The New York Mets continued their homestand with a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs. The Mets were coming off a series win vs. the San Diego Padres in a successful return home. Next up was the Chicago Cubs as the Mets were looking to extend their division lead. The starters for the Mets in the series were David Peterson, Taijuan Walker, Jacob deGrom, and Marcus Stroman.
Mets Take Game 1 As Peterson Shines
The Mets took game one from the Cubs as David Peterson bounced back after two difficult starts. He threw six scoreless innings and allowed just one hit as the Mets defeated the Cubs, 5-2. It was Peterson’s first start in which he went six innings without giving up a run, and only allowed a single hit.
Jake Arrieta started for the Cubs and did not have as flawless a night as Peterson did. He pitched five innings and allowed four hits and four walks while surrendering four runs. The Cubs bullpen also walked four batters in their three innings as the Mets walked more (8) than struck-out (6) on Monday night.
After three scoreless innings for both clubs, the Mets got things started in the bottom of the fourth. After Pete Alonso struck out with Dom Smith on first base, Billy McKinney came up and walked with two outs. That would bring up James McCann, who would come up with a clutch RBI single to center field. He would advance to second base on a throwing error from Jake Marisnick.
Mets Offense Provides Peterson Cushion In Win
With two men in scoring position, Kevin Pillar would come up and drive both in with a two-run double. The Mets would take a 3-0 lead into the fifth inning. Fortunately, that was all Peterson and the Mets needed. Peterson would retire the side in order in the fifth on a strikeout, lineout, and ground out. Dom Smith provided the Mets with some insurance as he hit a solo home run to center field in the bottom of the fifth. Brandon Drury came up in the following inning and drove in a run with a single, giving the Mets a 5-0 lead.
Trevor May, who hadn’t pitched in eight days, came in to relieve Peterson in the seventh inning. He struggled, giving up two home runs to Anthony Rizzo and Patrick Wisdom. Aaron Loup came in with two outs to relieve him and recorded the final out on a Jason Heyward strikeout. He then followed that with a scoreless eighth inning and allowed for Diaz to close out the game in the ninth inning. Diaz struck out the meat of the Cubs order; Contreras, Bryant, and Rizzo to hold on for the victory.
The Phillies lost later that night in LA, pushing the Mets division lead to four games. Taijuan Walker would take the mound the next night, looking to give the Mets their 34th win.
Mets Take Game 2 As Walker Strikes Out 12
The second game of the series was a closer one. The Mets defeated the Cubs 3-2 and were led by the strong performance by Taijuan Walker. Walker has been a godsend for the Mets and one of if not the best free-agent signing of any team this past offseason. In the game, he went seven strong, allowing five hits and two runs, while striking out twelve and walking none. The zero walks for Walker have come a long way as he struggled early in the season with the base on balls.
The only two runs for the Cubs came on a two-run home run from Javier Baez in the third inning. Baez took the first pitch he saw from Walker to right field as the ball found its way into the Mets bullpen. It would be just the third home run that Taijuan Walker has surrendered this season, a true testament to his success and run prevention.
The Mets would get those two runs right back in the bottom half of the third. Pete Alonso drove in both Francisco Lindor and Dom Smith on a single to center field. The Mets evened the score for Walker, as he continued to shut down and power through the Cubs lineup. The Mets would then break the tie in the bottom of the fifth. Pete Alonso would get his third RBI of the game as he drove in a bases-loaded run with a sacrifice fly.
Lugo Pitches Two Scoreless In Relief
The Mets would relieve Walker in the eighth inning and threw a quick and scoreless inning. Lugo would then come out for the ninth inning, and although facing some trouble, got the job done. The Mets got some help from the Cubs’ third base coach, however. Eric Sogard came up with a man on first base and hit a ball to right-center field between Kevin Pillar and Billy McKinney.
Jake Marisnick was the runner and as he was heading to third, Kevin Pillar had just picked up the ball. The Cubs’ third base coach, Willie Harris, made the fateful decision to send Marisnick. A strong throw to Guillorme and a beautiful relay to the plate were enough to gun Mariscnick and keep the game tied. After Lugo walked Jason Heyward, he struck out Sergio Alcantara to end the game.
Mets Take Game 3 And The Series As They Brace For deGrom’s Health
Jacob deGrom was cleared to start after leaving his previous start early due to flexor tendinitis. He pitched a masterful three innings before having to come out yet again, this time due to shoulder soreness. After speaking to doctors, it seems as though there is no structural damage. Despite that, the Mets will surely take things very cautiously with their ace.
If I’m the Mets, I skip his next start just to be extra safe, even if everything is ok with deGrom. The Mets cannot afford to lose him for any significant amount of time and must be smart in how they handle him. They have a semi-healthy division lead as of now, although that could change with all the Mets’ upcoming division games. They need to ensure that deGrom is 100% healthy before he next takes the mound. Additionally, they also need to determine the reasons as to why deGrom is having such issues.
Prior to his exit, deGrom handled the Cubs in dominant fashion. He pitched three perfect innings without allowing a hit. He also struck out eight of the nine batters that he faced, including seven straight. Before he left the game, he was able to do what he’s done best as well this season. He drove in yet another run with a man in scoring position as he extended the Mets lead to 2-0.
deGrom Exits, Bullpen Holds Firm
Sean Reid-Foley came in relief for deGrom and gave up one run in two innings while walking two and striking out zero. It was his first appearance since May 29th, and he didn’t look too rusty. Following Reid-Foley, the Mets ran out Aaron Loup, Miguel Castro, Trevor May, Drew Smith, and then Edwin Diaz for one out to close out the game. Loup has quietly not allowed a run in his last eight appearances. He currently has a 1.93 ERA on the year in 18.2 innings.
Miguel Castro finally returned to the mound following some neck tightness and threw a scoreless 7th inning with two strikeouts. Trevor May was given the eighth inning and looked much better than previous nights. he struck out the side in order, and hopefully this is the beginning of his turnaround. May was signed to be a key piece in the Mets bullpen, and to this point, he has underperformed. If he can find himself and become a reliable reliever, he will prove to be yet another bullpen threat.
Drew Smith was called upon to the ninth and recorded two outs while giving up a two-run home run to Rafael Ortega. The Mets called upon Edwin Diaz to get the final out and he did just that. He got Wilson Contreras to fly out to center on a nice catch from Kevin Pillar.
Mets Shutout 2-0 As Cubs Salvage Finale
Four game sweeps are difficult and rarely occur. The Mets had a chance to pull off a four-game sweep of the first-place Cubs on Thursday night for the first time since 2016. Unfortunately for the Mets, Kyle Hendricks was too good and he shut down the Mets’ offense.
Marcus Stroman had yet another strong pitching performance, albeit giving up two runs on another Javier Baez home run. Despite that, he did not deserve the loss and he now falls to 6-5 with a 2.35 ERA on the season.
The Mets offense had some chances throughout the game to bring in some runs, however, were unable to get the big hit. For instance, Jonathan Villar led off the game with a double and he was unable to even be advanced to third base. With the Mets big batters coming up, they were unable to get the job done. In the bottom of the 2nd, Billy McKinney would get a one-out double. He, too, was unable to be advanced as the Mets blew yet another scoring chance.
Cubs Pitching Stymies Mets In Defeat
The last scoring chance of the night for the Mets came in the bottom of the fourth inning. Kyle Hendricks did something extremely are for himself, which was walk two batters in a row. In fact, it was only the ninth time he had ever achieved that feat. James McCann subsequently grounded into a double play, which has happened often for him this year. Billy McKinney then grounded out to Contreras and the inning was over.
Cubs pitching, including Hendricks, Tepera, Chafin, and Kimbrel shut down the Mets completely and retired 17 in a row. Chafin picked up his 16th hold, while Tepera picked up his 14th. Kimbrel finally picked up his 19th save of the season. The back-end of the Cubs bullpen has become one of the best in all of baseball. They have proved to be a truly dominant force, which is why the Cubs are as good as they are.
Overall, it was another great series for the Mets. They also continue to enjoy home-cooking as they are now 20-7 at home after going 5-2 in this recent homestand. The pitching was outstanding yet again, and the Mets even got a quality start from David Peterson, who had been struggling.
The offense did just enough in the first three games as they were able to pick up some clutch two-out hits. Lastly, the bullpen did its job once again and has proved to be a major reason for the Mets’ continued success. Diaz picked up two of the saves, while Lugo picked up the other save.
Look Ahead For The Mets
The Mets now head to Washington D.C. for a mini road trip, in which they will have to play four games in a three-day span. That is, of course, to begin the makeup games from earlier in the season. The doubleheader will be on Saturday with the first game starting at 1:05 pm ET and the second game starting at 6:05 pm ET.
The Mets will have Joey Lucchesi up against Erick Fedde on Friday. This will be followed by David Peterson for the first game on Saturday against TBD, and then TBD vs TBD for the nightcap. The Mets will likely have to call up a pitcher to start that game such as Jared Eickhoff or Thomas Szapcuki. On Sunday, it will be Taijuan Walker against the struggling Patrick Corbin.