The Mets and Cubs face off in game 1 of the National League Championship Series. Tonight’s game is at Citi Field and starts at 8:07 PM. Matt Harvey (2.71 ERA, 3.05 FIP, 1.02 WHIP, 189 1/3 IP over 29 starts) gets the game 1 assignment against Jon Lester (3.34 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 1.12 WHIP, 205 IP over 32 starts). The Mets and Cubs have never faced each other in the postseason.
In his one postseason start, Matt Harvey has allowed 3 runs over 5 innings (2 earned), 7 hits, and 2 walks while striking out 7. Lester, in his one postseason start of 2015, pitched 7 1/3 innings while allowing 3 runs, 5 hits, 1 walk, and 2 wild pitches while striking out 9. Harvey made one start against the Cubs this season, and shut them out over 7 innings while allowing only 2 walks and 3 hits while striking out 9. Lester made two starts against the Mets this season, and in 13 innings, he allowed 3 runs, 10 hits and 5 walks while striking out 13. His second start against the Mets in July was an outing of 7 shutout innings.
- Curtis Granderson, RF (L)
- David Wright, 3B (R)
- Daniel Murphy, 2B (L)
- Yoenis Cespedes, LF (R)
- Travis d’Arnaud, C (R)
- Michael Cuddyer, 1B (R)
- Wilmer Flores, SS (R)
- Juan Lagares, CF (R)
- Matt Harvey, P (R)
- Dexter Fowler, CF (S)
- Kyle Schwarber, LF (L)
- Kris Bryant, 3B (R)
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B (L)
- Starlin Castro, 2B (R)
- Jorge Soler, RF (R)
- Javier Baez, SS (R)
- David Ross, C (R)
- Jon Lester, P (L)
Mets Pitchers (projected starters denoted with asterisk):
**Gilmartin replaces Erik Goeddel, after Goeddel did not record an out while facing 4 batters in the NLDS. Gilmartin is likely on the rosters for a couple of reasons. First, Jon Niese may miss part of a game due to a death in his family [Rubin] and second, the Cubs as a team have not hit lefties (.303 wOBA) as well as they have hit righties (.316 wOBA). Also of note for the Mets, Juan Uribe is unavailable for this series.
**Quintin Berry replaces Addison Russell, who is unavailable for the NLCS after re-injuring his hamstring in game 3 of the NLDS. Javier Baez will start at shortstop in his place.
Cubs Pitchers (projected starters denoted with asterisk):
As always, LET’S GO METS!
The Mets defeated the Dodgers by a score of 13-7, taking game 3 of the NLDS to take a 2-1 series lead. The Mets fell down 3-0 in the 2nd, on a 2-run single by Yasmani Grandal, on which a 3rd run scored due to a Curtis Granderson throwing error. However, the Mets came right back in the bottom of the 2nd, scoring four on an RBI single by Travis d’Arnaud and a 3-run double by Curtis Granderson. From there, the Mets didn’t look back, scoring a postseason franchise record 13 runs (including 5 RBI by Curtis Granderson, tying a Mets postseason record).
After both pitchers retired the side in the 1st inning, the Dodgers got to Matt Harvey with four consecutive singles in the 2nd, scoring 3 runs. The fourth single was a 2-run single by Yasmani Grandal, on which Curtis Granderson’s throw to 3rd got away, allowing a 3rd runner to score. Harvey got out of the inning, and the Mets came right back in the bottom of the 2nd. Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda singled, before Travis d’Arnaud hit an RBI single to get the Mets on the board. Wilmer Flores singled to load the bases, and Brett Anderson got Juan Lagares to ground into a forceout at home. Matt Harvey struck out, but Curtis Granderson hit a bases-clearing double to right center, giving the Mets a 4-3 lead.
Matt Harvey worked around a walk and a single in the 3rd, before the Mets tacked on 2 more with Travis d’Arnaud’s 2-run home run to left. The Mets had a 6-3 lead, and wouldn’t stop there. In the 4th, Juan Lagares led off with a double off of reliever Alex Wood, and with 2 outs, Wood intentionally walked David Wright. Daniel Murphy hit an RBI single to left, scoring Lagares, and setting up a 3-run home run by Yoenis Cespedes, a shot that landed in the 2nd deck. The Mets led 10-3.
Harvey was finished after only 5 innings, allowing 7 hits, 3 runs (2 earned) and 2 walks while striking out 7. Bartolo Colon came on to pitch the 6th and struck out the side, but he allowed a solo home run to Adrian Gonzalez in the 7th. The Dodgers cut the lead to 10-4, but the Mets tacked on again in the bottom of the inning. After d’Arnaud, Flores, and Lagares loaded the bases with a single and two walks, respectively, pinch hitter Michael Conforto hit a sacrifice fly, and Curtis Granderson hit a 2-run double off the left field wall. The Mets had a 13-4 lead.
Addison Reed pitched a clean 8th before Erik Goeddel ran into trouble in the 9th. Goeddel allowed consecutive singles before allowing a 3-run home run to Howie Kendrick. Another single signaled the end of the night for Goeddel, and Jeurys Familia got the next 3 batters to close out the 13-7 victory.
POSITIVES: Curtis Granderson was 2/5 with 2 doubles and 5 RBI and continues his torrid postseason. Travis d’Arnaud came out of his funk nicely with a 3/5 performance with a home run, 3 RBI, and 3 runs scored. Wilmer Flores was 2/3 with a double, a walk, and 2 runs scored, and Juan Lagares was 1/3 with a double, as walk, and 3 runs scored. Yoenis Cespedes was 3/5 with a home run, 3 RBI, and 3 runs scored. Matt Harvey battled through 5 and Bartolo Colon was solid out of the bullpen despite giving up a solo home run. Addison Reed had a nice bounce-back effort. Jeurys Familia retired all 3 batters he faced.
NEGATIVES: Erik Goeddel looked very hittable in the 9th, leaving his pitches up and allowing hits to all 4 batters he faced, including a 3-run home run. Lucas Duda looks lost at times, and was 1/5 tonight with 4 strikeouts (but he did have a single against the lefty Anderson).
- Travis d’Arnaud (.294)
- Curtis Granderson (.290)
- Yoenis Cespedes (.112)
WPA Loser: Matt Harvey (-.155 pitching, -.103 batting, -.258 total)
- Curtis Granderson hits a 3-run double, Mets up 4-3, 2nd inning (.323)
- Travis d’Arnaud hits a 2-run home run, Mets up 6-3, 3rd inning (.189)
- Travis d’Arnaud hits an RBI single, Mets down 3-1, 2nd inning (.106)
Worst Play: Yasmani Grandal hits a 2-run single, 3 runs score, error on Curtis Granderson. Dodgers up 3-0, 2nd inning (-.162)
The Mets take on the Los Angeles Dodgers in game 1 of the National League Division Series. Jacob deGrom (2.54 ERA, 2.70 FIP, 0.98 WHIP, 191 IP over 30 starts) faces off against reigning NL Cy Young and MVP award winner Clayton Kershaw (2.13 ERA, 1.99 FIP, 0.88 WHIP in 232 2/3 IP over 33 starts). For the Mets, it is their first playoff game since 2006, while the Dodgers are making their 3rd straight appearance in the Division Series. This is the 3rd playoff series the Mets and Dodgers have played; The Dodgers took the 1988 NLCS 4 games to 3, while the Mets swept the 2006 NLDS 3 games to none.
- Curtis Granderson, RF (L)
- David Wright, 3B (R)
- Yoenis Cespedes, CF (R)
- Daniel Murphy, 2B (L)
- Travis d’Arnaud, C (R)
- Lucas Duda, 1B (L)
- Michael Cuddyer, LF (R)
- Ruben Tejada, SS (R)
- Jacob deGrom, P (L)
- Carl Crawford, LF (L)
- Howie Kendrick, 2B (R)
- Corey Seager, SS (L)
- Adrian Gonzalez, 1B (L)
- Justin Turner, 3B (R)
- Andre Ethier, RF (L)
- A.J. Ellis, C (R)
- Joc Pederson, CF (L)
- Clayton Kershaw, P (L)
Mets Pitchers (projected starters denoted with asterisk):
Dodgers Pitchers (projected starters denoted with asterisk):
As always, LET’S GO METS!
Max Scherzer threw his 2nd no-hitter of the 2015 season in a 2-0 victory by the Washington Nationals. The Mets had one baserunner all night, Kevin Plawecki, who reached on a throwing error by third baseman Yunel Escobar. It is fascinating to consider that Max Scherzer was only a bloop single, a leaned-in hit-by-pitch, and a throwing error away from 3 perfect games this season. Scherzer is only the 5th player in history to throw 2 no-hitters during one regular season, and the first since Nolan Ryan in 1973. Scherzer ties Ryan’s 1973 record for strikeouts in a no-hitter, with 17. Scherzer also fell one shy of Tom Seaver‘s 10 consecutive strikeouts, but Curtis Granderson popped out to end the strikeout stretch and end the game.
Matt Harvey was very good for the Mets tonight, allowing 1 unearned run on 4 hits in 6 innings, while walking none and striking out 11. His one run allowed scored in the 6th inning, after Michael Taylor reached on a fielding error by 3rd baseman Kelly Johnson. Clint Robinson singled him to 3rd with 1 out, and Wilson Ramos hit a sacrifice fly to bring him in. Dan Uggla homered in the 7th against Hansel Robles to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead, and those two runs were all they needed.
Max Scherzer was absolutely dominant, and his game score of 104 is 2nd in major league history. Scherzer walked none, hit none, and struck out 17, while only allowing one baserunner on Yunel Escobar’s throwing error (a throw first baseman Clint Robinson should have handled). Between the two teams, there were 35 strikeouts and no walks, and some part of that must be a major league record. I’m fairly certain that the 35 strikeouts is a major league record for a 9-inning game, but I have not been able to confirm that. It was definitely the best pitching performance I have ever seen.
NEGATIVES: Offense… but frankly, a game like this is much easier to accept than game 1. Here, they were facing a pitcher who, honestly, was not going to be stopped. Also, Hansel Robles allowed yet another home run, around 3 strikeouts.
The Mets finish their season tomorrow at 3:10 against the Nationals. Jacob deGrom, in an abbreviated start, will face off against Tanner Roark. The Mets are now 1.5 games behind the Dodgers for home field advantage, and their magic number to clinch it is now 1.
WPA Winner: Matt Harvey (.107 pitching, -.011 hitting, .096 total)
WPA Losers: Hansel Robles (-.100), offense (none under -.100, but aside from Plawecki’s ROE, none over -.042 either…)
Best Play: None over .100 (highest was Plawecki’s ROE, .069)
- Dan Uggla homers, Nationals up 2-0, 7th inning (.133)
- Clint Robinson singled, Michael Taylor to 3rd, 0-0, 6th inning (-.111)
The Mets (89-69) fell to the Phillies (61-97) by a score of 7-5. The Mets held a 5-0 lead in this game after two home runs in the first inning, but Logan Verrett and the bullpen blew the lead in the ugliest game Mets fans have seen in a long time. Wild pitches, ejections, hit batsmen, they were all present.
The Mets jumped over Phillies starter Alec Asher in the first inning, after a Curtis Granderson double, a walk to David Wright, and a 3-run home run by Daniel Murphy. They tacked on even more after a walk to Yoenis Cespedes and a 2-run home run by Michael Conforto. The Mets jumped to a 5-0 lead. In the bottom of the first, starter Logan Verrett worked around a couple baserunners.
Verrett struck out the side in the bottom of the 2nd, and in the top of the 3rd, Yoenis Cespedes was hit by a pitch on his left hand. Fortunately, x-rays were negative and Cespedes only has a contusion. Kirk Nieuwenhuis would pinch-run and remain in the game in center field. Verrett ran into trouble in the bottom of the 3rd after allowing consecutive singles. A fantastic sliding catch by Kirk Nieuwenhuis induced a double play, but Verrett walked Aaron Altherr to set up a 2-run double by Darin Ruf. The lead was cut to 5-2. The Mets threatened in the top of the 4th, but to no avail, but Wilmer Flores was removed for a pinch-runner with lower back stiffness. Ruben Tejada replaced him.
Verrett worked out of trouble in the bottom of the 4th, but was not so lucky in the 5th. After getting a groundout to lead off the inning, Verrett hit Odubel Herrera with a pitch, a pitch that looked intentional enough for the home plate umpire to warn both benches. The Mets had been hit twice in the game so far; Cespedes and Nieuwenhuis. Verrett lost Aaron Altherr to a walk and Erik Goeddel was able to get Darin Ruf to pop out. Jon Niese, in to face Cody Asche, was not so lucky, allowing an RBI single before getting a sharp groundout. The Mets lead was cut to 5-3.
After Michael Cuddyer reached on a fielding error by Cody Asche, pinch runner Eric Young Jr. stole 2nd with one out. Unfortunately, the Mets didn’t convert and left Young at 2nd. In the bottom of the 6th, things really fell apart. After Hansel Robles got Brian Bogusevic to line out to left, Robles was ejected from the game (along with manager Terry Collins) after a pitch sailed at Cameron Rupp‘s head. Reliever Bobby Parnell inherited a full count and walked Rupp on 1 pitch, then walked pinch hitter Chase d’Arnaud. A wild pitch advanced the tying runs into scoring position, and Freddy Galvis converted with a single to center, taking 2nd on the throw to the plate. The game was tied at 5-5. Dario Alvarez entered and got Odubel Herrera to pop out for the 2nd out, but then hit Aaron Altherr with a pitch on his back foot. Carlos Torres relieved him, and two wild pitches allowed the go-ahead run to score before he struck out Darin Ruf.
Both teams were turned aside in the 7th and the Mets were turned aside in the 8th before Tyler Clippard unleashed the 7th wild pitch of the game, scoring Andres Blanco (leadoff double) from 3rd. The Phillies led 7-5. Ken Giles retired the side in the 9th to end an ugly game.
What an absolutely ugly game. Between the two teams, there were 10 walks, 7 wild pitches, 4 hit batsmen, 2 ejections, a passed ball, an error, and a ball thrown at Cameron Rupp’s head. Gary Cohen called it a candidate for the worst game in MLB history. It truly was something to behold. After Alec Asher’s incredible struggles in the 1st inning, the Mets bullpen (sans their best relievers, of course) one-upped him.
As the Mets battle for home field advantage, these games simply can’t happen. When Robles was ejected in the 6th, I didn’t comprehend Bob Geren‘s decision not to bring in Addison Reed. Bobby Parnell, who has certainly been better later, was absolutely no help, as he gave up the lead after a couple walks and a line-drive single to Freddy Galvis. Through that ridiculous 6th inning, neither Reed nor Clippard entered the game. Instead, it was a combination of Parnell, Dario Alvarez, and Carlos Torres who gave up the lead.
Thank goodness, though, nothing is broken in Yoenis Cespedes’s left hand. Wilmer Flores’s stiff back may be more of a concern, but it does not appear like Cespedes will be out for a lengthy period of time.
POSITIVES: Daniel Murphy and Michael Conforto continue to show more power than expected, Murphy with his career-high 14th home run of the season and Conforto with his 9th. Curtis Granderson was 2/5 with a double and a run scored, while Addison Reed pitched a clean outing in relief. Dario Alvarez made an appearance and retired a lefty, so that’s something.
NEGATIVES: The bullpen, the manager, the bench coach, and the downright ugliness. The game was on the line in the 6th inning, and the failure of Bob Geren or Terry Collins (whoever was making the decision) to bring in Addison Reed or Tyler Clippard is downright insulting to the fans. Bobby Parnell, Dario Alvarez, and Carlos Torres, all of whom are coming off either injury or ineffectiveness, were entrusted to a key inning. The three relievers, at least two of which will not be on the postseason roster, failed the test. Somehow, Geren felt the need to bring Reed and Clippard in after the fact. Too late, buddy. Aside from Addison Reed, all the relievers were guilty to some extent, even if they weren’t charged with a run. Logan Verrett, apart from the 2nd inning, was shaky during his entire start. The offense blew multiple opportunities after converting on their opportunities in the first inning.
The Mets take on the Phillies in the series finale tomorrow at 12:05, a changed game time to accommodate the weather forecast. Sean Gilmartin or Tim Stauffer (likely both, since neither were used tonight) will face off against Jerad Eickhoff.
WPA Winners: None over .100
WPA Losers: Bullpen (-.505) (-.633 without Goeddel, Alvarez, and Reed, who had net positive contributions)
- Daniel Murphy hits a 3-run home run, Mets up 3-0, 1st inning (.157)
- Michael Conforto hits a 2-run home run, Mets up 5-0, 1st inning (.108)
- Freddy Galvis hits a 2-run single, game tied 5-5, 6th inning (-.237)
- Aaron Altherr scores on a wild pitch by Carlos Torres, Phillies up 6-5, 6th inning (-.167)
- Darin Ruf hits a 2-run double, Phillies down 5-2, 3rd inning (-.104)
- Cody Asche hits an RBI single, Phillies down 5-3, 5th inning (-.102)
Game 1 of the National League Division Series between the Mets and Dodgers is in only 9 days, on Friday, October 9th at a time and place to be determined. Here are my predictions for the roster in round one:
The starting 8:
No surprises here. Barring injury, these 8 are all locks for the roster (though Flores and Cuddyer will certainly get some starts).
No surprises here as well. The only uncertainty is Eric Young Jr., who will almost certainly be left off the roster if Juan Uribe is healthy and ready to play.
Maybe Bartolo Colon will be the fourth starter, but I think it’ll be Matz. Assuming his side injury is nothing major, this should be what we see.
Here’s where there’s the most uncertainty. Familia, Clippard, Reed, and Robles are all locks. Colon and Niese are very likely, and the final spot will likely go to Erik Goeddel or Sean Gilmartin. My money’s on Goeddel, since he can be a situational right-hander in the earlier innings. Gilmartin is not a lefty specialist (nor is Niese, for that matter), but Niese has a much longer track record with the Mets. Plus, with Niese and Colon in the bullpen, they won’t need another long-relief type.
A couple of things could throw a wrench into the plan. Don’t be shocked to see Carlos Torres in the postseason bullpen if he can prove his health over the next few days. Similarly, don’t count out Dario Alvarez or Eric O’Flaherty. Alvarez has rejoined the team, but he may be as much of a long shot as Jerry Blevins. With O’Flaherty, the team’s desire to have a situational lefty in the bullpen may trump his terrible performance so far. I certainly wouldn’t include him, since I think Goeddel, Gilmartin, and Torres are all far superior options.
The Mets have not shied away from platoons this season, a move I see as a smart one. Others, like perpetual cliché machine Harold Reynolds, believe a team’s struggles can stem from failure to use a regular lineup. For example, when commenting last night on the Dodgers’ use of platoons, especially in their outfield, Reynolds commented that he believed it would be their undoing in the NLDS against the Mets.
Platoons have served the Mets well for the season, but with Juan Uribe hurt and Juan Lagares struggling, it is very possible the only extra right-handed bat that enters the lineup against lefties is Michael Cuddyer (in place of Michael Conforto). Since 3/4 of the Dodgers pitchers the Mets will face will likely be left-handed (Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson, Alex Wood), it is very likely we see a lot more of Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda, and Daniel Murphy against lefties. However, if Juan Uribe is healthy and ready to go, don’t be shocked to see him at 2nd base in place of Murphy or Duda (with Murphy sliding to 1st base).
The Mets (89-68) lost to the Phillies (60-97) by a score of 4-3. The Mets were undone by a 1st inning 3-run home run by Darin Ruf, and despite two home runs from Lucas Duda, were unable to convert on a slew of offensive opportunities.
Bartolo Colon got off to a rough start, and after 1-out singles to Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr, Colon allowed a 3-run home run to Darin Ruf to make it 3-0 early. Lucas Duda struck back with a solo home run in the top of the 4th to make it 3-1.
Colon, after the 3-run home run, went through 5 innings without allowing another run. Colon allowed 8 hits, walked none, and struck out 3. Jon Niese came on in relief in the 6th inning, and got through the 6th before getting into a 1st and 3rd, 2-out jam in the 7th. Erik Goeddel allowed an RBI single to Aaron Altherr through the left side before striking out Darin Ruf to end the threat. The Phillies were up 4-1
In the top of the 9th, David Wright walked against Ken Giles to lead off the inning. After Giles got Daniel Murphy to ground into a forceout and Yoenis Cespedes to strike out, Lucas Duda hit an opposite-field 2-run home run to cut the Phillies’ lead to 4-3. Giles then came back to strike out Travis d’Arnaud to end the game.
Overall, it was a game of missed opportunities for the Mets. They had at least one runner on in every inning of tonight’s game, but the team left 12 men on base and was 1/10 with runners in scoring position. Despite 5 walks and 9 hits, they were only able to convert on Duda’s two home runs.
Let’s hope Madison Bumgarner can take a bite out of Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers to help the Mets’ quest for home field advantage. Bumgarner and Kershaw face each other tonight at 10:15 in San Francisco.
POSITIVES: Lucas Duda continues his hot hitting, and was 3/5 with two home runs and a hard-hit out. Unfortunately, the one plate appearance in which he didn’t hit a ball hard was a strikeout against lefty reliever Adam Loewen, which left the bases loaded to end a major threat. Bartolo Colon worked around multiple jams and kept his team in the game after the early home run. Jon Niese, while not great out of the bullpen, showed he was able to get some outs. Carlos Torres made his first appearance in 9 days and pitched a scoreless inning; Torres had been recovering from a calf strain.
NEGATIVES: The offense, while getting 8 hits and 5 walks, was unable to convert any of their opportunities. Yoenis Cespedes in particular was 0/5 with 2 strikeouts.
WPA Winners: None over .100
- Bartolo Colon (-.168 pitching, -.053 batting, -.221 total)
- Yoenis Cespedes (-.166)
Best Play: None over .100
- Darin Ruf hit a 3-run home run, Phillies up 3-0, 1st inning (-.234)
- Curtis Granderson flied out with the bases loaded and 1 out, 3-1 Phillies, 6th inning (-.107)
- David Wright flied out with the bases loaded and 2 outs, 3-1 Phillies, 6th inning (-.106)