Through three 2015 NLCS games, the Mets not only look like a smarter baseball team than the Chicago Cubs, they look like the better team … by leaps and bounds. Playing heady baseball in Game 3 Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, New York took advantage of Chicago miscues and came away a 5-2 winner. The red-hot Mets are now just one win away from making their first World Series since 2000.
In the top of the sixth, it looked as though Cubs pitcher Trevor Cahill had gotten out of the inning when he got Michael Conforto to strike out swinging. But Chicago catcher Miguel Montero could not handle the pitch, which scraped across the dirt. It got by him and allowed Yoenis Cespedes to score from third base to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. Cespedes had gotten to third by stealing the bag moments earlier as New York continued to roll the dice and win on the base paths.
Cespedes would continue his offensive rampage in the seventh when he absolutely ripped a ball just past Chicago left fielder Kyle Schwarber. It was ruled a hit and David Wright was able to score to put the Mets up, 4-2.
The visitors would tack on another run in the seventh as Daniel Murphy got his chest dirty by sliding into home from third on a chopping, RBI ground out to first by Lucas Duda. Earlier in the night, Murphy continued his torrid pace at the plate, belting a solo homer to center in the third inning.
Key to the Mets success this postseason has been jumping out to early leads. They never trailed Tuesday night, holding leads of 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, 4-2 and 5-2.
Mets starter Jacob deGrom seems to be the one Met incapable of having a scorching hot start to a game, but when the long-haired righty settles down, he settles down for good.
deGrom allowed an opposite-field home run to Schwarber in the first inning and also gave up singles to Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro in the frame. But much like he did in Game 5 against the Dodgers last Thursday, deGrom rebounded in a major way. He finished the night having allowed just two earned runs on four hits in seven innings. He struck out seven Cubs and walked just one.
The New York bullpen held up fine in Game 3 as Tyler Clippard got through the eighth having given up just one hit (a double to Dexter Fowler). Closer Jeurys Familia was again spectacular, not allowing a base-runner and getting Jorge Soler to strike out looking as the rain poured at Wrigley.
The Mets now have a golden opportunity to close things out Wednesday (8:07 p.m., TBS) and rest up for the Fall Classic.