Tonight is Game 1 of the NLCS, as the New York Mets take on the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field in New York, and it should be a great series whether you like deep dish or thin crust pizza. Both of these teams are in a World Series drought that they’ll looking to break after the NLCS — one much longer than the other. The Mets haven’t been to the World Series since 2000 and they haven’t won the Fall Classic since 1986. Does anyone else remember Bill Buckner’s boot? The Cubs haven’t been to the World Series since 1945 and haven’t won one since 1908.
The Cubs took a longer route to the NLCS. They won the second NL Wild Card spot and beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the one-game NLWC game. Chicago then beat their division rival St. Louis Cardinals in the other NLDS matchup, 3-1.
The Cubs finished the regular season with a better overall record and a better road record than the Mets. Chicago finished 97-65 this season. In fact, if the Cubs had been in any other division they would have won it. Chicago has been one of the hottest teams in baseball since September. So far, even the postseason, when their pitching staff hasn’t been on fire their bats have done the job to keep them in the game.
Game 1 is a matchup between Jon Lester and Matt Harvey and Game 2 has Jake Arrieta pitching against Noah Syndergaard. The Mets have announced their Game 3 and Game 4 starters, but the Cubs haven’t. Jacob deGrom will start Game 3 and Steven Matz will start Game 4 for the Mets.
Lester has an 0-1 record this postseason with a 3.68 ERA. In his last outing, he went 7.1 innings and gave up seven hits and three earned runs. With that start, his career postseason numbers are 6-5 with a 2.66 ERA.
Harvey has only one postseason appearance and it was this season. He went five innings and gave up seven hits and three runs, with two of them earned.
Arrieta has been solid for the Cubs all year long and he’s 2-0 this postseason with a 2.45 ERA. In his most recent outing, he went 5.2 innings, giving up five hits and four earned runs.
Syndergaard has also only played in one postseason game in his career. He went 7.1 innings and gave up five hits and three earned runs in the outing.
Now that we have who is pitching against who — at least in the first two games — it’s time to speculate.
The Cubs are going to win the NLCS, plain and simple. They’ve already beaten their toughest opponent in the Cardinals and they’re still playing like a team on a mission. The Mets, on the other hand, had a hard time getting past the Dodgers, and neither the Mets nor the Dodgers won as many games as the Cubs did this season. The Mets looked like they had trouble getting it done late in the season as well. New York is going to have to knuckle down if they hope to beat the Cubs in the NLCS
Chicago also had the best road record in baseball this season. The Cubs got it done in the NLDS against St. Louis, mostly on the road. The Cubs have been playing great this season, especially during their current stretch that has seen them play some of the best baseball of the season. As long as the Cubs can keep the bats alive and keep making the plays in the field the pitching will handle itself because their rotation is solid and so is the bullpen.
Expect this series to provide some monster home runs and great pitching matchups. The Cubs and Mets should provide baseball fans with an exciting series that could go to a Game 7.