In what most were expecting to be a six or seven game series, the New York Mets dispatched the Chicago Cubs in four games. Starting pitching dominated the series, as the Mets never trailed in any game. Only once did the Cubs have a 2-run inning, that being the 8th inning last night. Here is a breakdown of why and how the Mets dominated.
Two words: Daniel Murphy
Murphy homered in all four games in this series, as he won the NLCS MVP. Murphy has put on a Carlos Beltran-type show this postseason, as he set an all-time MLB record with six straight games going deep. While pitching was key for the Mets in this series, Murphy’s power surge led the Mets offense in the NLCS.
Cubs Power Outage
While the Cubs went yard often against the St. Louis Cardinals, they failed to connect as often versus the Mets. The Cubs hammered the Cardinals staff in the NLDS (10 home runs), however they only hit four home runs in the NLCS. For a team that relies heavily on the long ball, the Cubs lack of home runs hurt their ability to score runs. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that they were facing a team and staff that wasn’t as banged up. Not to mention the fact that the Mets staff has four frontline starters.
While the Cardinals did not throw one legit postseason ace to the mound in the NLDS, the Mets threw multiple. Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Matt Harvey can all stake claim to potentially being a #1 starter in a postseason rotation right now. Steven Matz may be at some point, and still has elite talent. The Cubs fell short here. Having to start Kyle Hendricks and Jason Hammel hurt the Cubs tremendously, as they were forced to use their bullpen early. In the postseason, bringing the bullpen into the game in the 4th inning or earlier usually doesn’t work. While the Mets bullpen has been a weakness this season, having Bartolo Colon as a reliever not to mention having to use less arms cancelled out this weakness.
Looking forward to the World Series, I think the Mets will be a formidable opponent for whomever they face. That is all assuming Yoenis Cespedes plays. If Cespedes doesn’t play, or isn’t at 100%, it will be much tougher for the Mets to score runs. And if the Mets face the Kansas City Royals, they will need a lead late due to the Royals bullpen. If Cespedes is 100%, I think the Mets should win due to the advantage they have over the Royals staff. Keep in mind the fact that Royals are more of a line-drive offense, which would make them much tougher for the Mets starters to strike the Royals hitters out. The Cubs were too easy of an opponent for the Mets pitchers: power hitters with uppercut swings trying to hit legit front line starters. Kansas City will provide a different challenge, as their offense is much more balanced. Regardless, expect a much more competitive World Series than NLCS.