New York Mets’ Arms Subdue Cubs’ Bats to Advance to World Series


The National League Championship Series matchup between the New York Mets and the Chicago Cubs figured to be decided by one team’s young core group. The Mets rode the strength of their powerful young arms past the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, while the Cubs were led by a group of outstanding young hitters as they knocked off the two teams that finished ahead of them in the NL Central, the Pittsburgh Pirates in the wildcard game and the St. Louis Cardinals in their NLDS.

In keeping with the age old adage, the Mets’ great pitching beat the Cub’s great hitting. The Mets’ staff shut down the Cubs, powering past a hungry, young Cubs’ squad looking to reverse more than a century of bad fortune. Of the Mets’ four starters in their four-game sweep of the Cubs, Jacob deGrom was the elder statesman at just 27 years old. Behind him, Matt Harvey is 26, Steven Matz is 24, and Noah Syndergaard is the runt of the group at 23 years old.

The four young hurlers faced off against an even more youthful Cubs’ lineup. The average age of the Cubs’ offensive starters for the four games was under 26 years of age. When the two catchers used, Miguel Montero (32 years old) and David Ross (38 years old) are discounted, that average age dropped to 24.5 years old. They were no match for the pitchers they faced.

Cubs’ hitters were held to a microscopic .164 batting average in the series, they lowes total ever for a League Championship Series, in either the American or National League. Leadoff hitters were a big point of emphasis through the series, as Cubs’ hitters leading off an inning totaled just two hits in 34 at-bats, both doubles by Jorge Soler in the fourth, decisive game. Anthony Rizzo also reached twice as the leadoff man in game one, via a hit by pitch and a walk. The Cubs cashed in on three of those four leadoff runners. It just wasn’t enough, however.

The Mets’ starters combined to go 25 innings, allowing six runs while striking out 29 Cubs’ batters. New York scored in the first inning in all four games, and the team never trailed in 36 innings.

Of course, the New Yorkers needed some offense to make that pitching stand up, and it was provided in most part by second baseman Daniel Murphy. En route to winning the Most Valuable Player award for the NLCS, Murphy collected nine hits in 17 at-bats, good for a .529 average, along with six runs batted in.

Murphy homered in all four games of the NLCS, extending his streak to six games with a long ball, an all-time postseason record. The list of players he has taken deep is just as impressive as the streak itself, as it includes Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Jake Arrieta, and Jon Lester. He was the obvious choice to win the NLCS MVP.

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With the Mets going to their first World Series since the Subway Series in 2000, Bartolo Colon will also be in the World Series for the first time, at 42 years old. Colon, now the second-oldest pitcher in baseball behind LaTroy Hawkins (who can still make the Series if the Toronto Blue Jays can complete a comeback in the ALCS), was with the Cleveland Indians as a rookie in 1997, but was left off the postseason roster. If the Mets do leave him on their roster, he’ll be in the Fall Classic for the first time in his 18-year career.

Even in defeat, the Cubs have absolutely no reason to hang their heads. With a roster filled with the stars of the future, they were thought to be at least another season or two away from being legitimate contenders in the National League. Instead, they blew past those expectations, and were four wins away from getting to the World Series for the first time in 70 years. The Cubs have an extremely bright future, and will almost certainly have a chance to win their first World Series since 1908 in the very, very near future.

The Mets will have a couple days to rest and recuperate, as the World Series doesn’t begin until October 27th. They still do not know who they will be pitted against, as the Kansas City Royals and the Blue Jays’ series is undecided through five games. The Royals hold a three games to two edge, but the Blue Jays have shown they still have some fight left with a game-five win.

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