The New York Mets took the series opener of their NLCS matchup with the Chicago Cubs, 4-2, last night in a chilly Citi Field and the NL East champions look to make it 2-0 tonight with Noah Syndergaard on the mound against Cy Young candidate Jake Arrieta in Game 2.
Can the Cubs bounce back and even things up before the series shifts to Wrigley Field? Will Syndergaard lead the Mets to another win?
Syndergaard, 23, went (9-7) in 24 regular season starts, putting up a 3.24 ERA, a 3.25 FIP, 31 walks (1.86 BB/9) and 166 Ks (9.96 K/9) in 150 IP, over which he held opposing hitters to a combined .221/.268/.378 line.
In his first postseason start, Syndergaard went 6 ⅓ innings, giving up five hits, four walks and three earned runs in a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers and he threw a scoreless inning of relief in Game 5.
He was asked yesterday what he learned from his first postseason appearances that he didn't know before?
"I think the anticipation before was thinking that the game was going to be completely different," Syndergaard said, "but in reality it's still the same game. You're still 60 feet, 6 inches away. The only thing that's really different is the crowd's a little bit louder."
The 2010 1st Round pick made his MLB debut against the Cubs back in May in Chicago. He talked yesterday about that outing and what he remembered about the start.
"I remember I fell behind a few batters," he said. "Still kind of was a lot to take in. I just feel like a completely different pitcher now and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Arrieta, 29, was (22-6) in the regular season with a 1.77 ERA, a 2.35 FIP, 48 walks (1.89 BB/9), 236 Ks (9.28 K/9) and a .184/.236/.271 line against in 229 IP.
He tossed a complete game shutout in his postseason debut in the Cubs' win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wild Card game, and earned the win in his second outing, giving up five hits, two walks and four earned runs in 5 ⅔ IP in Game 3 of the NLDS matchup with the St. Louis Cardinals.
After last night's loss, Cubs' manager Joe Maddon was asked about having Arrieta available after falling behind in the NLCS.
"Of course it's a nice situation to be in, having him come back," Maddon told reporters. "Listen, honestly, our guys were fine tonight. Our guys were really good. Sometimes you have to give credit to the other guy pitching, and he was really that good tonight. You saw it, I saw it from the side.
"Conversely tomorrow -- they also have another good pitcher going tomorrow. They're very good tomorrow, too. We just have to be able to generate some offense against their pitching. It is that good. We knew that coming in. We have Jake pitching tomorrow; they know how good he is. I would anticipate another really well-pitched game on both sides. From our players' perspective, we feel good about whoever's pitching for us, honestly we do.
"Jake has had a wonderful season. You do feel, I mean from my perspective, putting that name on the lineup card is always a fun thing to do. But if you talk to any of our guys, we feel good about anybody going out to the mound, but it's nice to have Jake tomorrow."
Tonight's game starts at 8:00 PM EDT on TBS. Will the Mets take a 2-0 lead? Will the Cubs even it up?
|CHICAGO CUBS||NEW YORK METS|
|Dexter Fowler - CF||Curtis Granderson - RF|
|Kyle Schwarber - LF||David Wright - 3B|
|Kris Bryant - 3B||Daniel Murphy - 2B|
|Anthony Rizzo - 1B||Yoenis Cespedes - CF|
|Starlin Castro - 2B||Lucas Duda - 1B|
|Chris Coghlan - RF||Travis d'Arnaud - C|
|Miguel Montero - C||Michael Conforto - LF|
|Javier Baez - SS||Wilmer Flores - SS|
|Jake Arrieta - RHP||Noah Syndergaard - RHP|
Syndergaard vs the Cubs:
Arrieta vs the Mets: