Chicago Cubs Recap: Sloppy play, mistakes costly in Game 3
Multiple defensive miscues and ice-cold hitting put the Chicago Cubs in a 3-0 series hole in the NLCS following a 5-2 loss to the New York Mets.
After the Mets scored the go-ahead run in the sixth inning on a dropped-third strike wild pitch, the wheels completely came off for Chicago in the seventh, as New York tacked on a pair of ultimately unnecessary insurance runs.
With Justin Grimm on the hill, Yoenis Cespedes lined a ball to deep left field. Chicago outfielder Kyle Schwarber went back on the ball, but misjudged it off the bat, and the ball bounced off the heel of his glove, allowing David Wright, who doubled earlier in the frame, to come around to score – making it 4-2 Mets.
A Lucas Duda chopper down the first-base line pushed the second run across in the inning after first baseman Anthony Rizzo decided to get the out at first before throwing home in a late attempt to catch Cespedes, who was racing home from third.
On the hill, Jacob deGrom showed why he’s considered one of the most promising talents in all of baseball – making quick work of the Chicago offense. Over seven innings, the right-hander allowed just one hit after the first inning, a solo blast off the bat of outfielder Jorge Soler.
In the sixth, it was a horrendous misplay by Soler that ultimately led to drama in an already-tight game.
With Trevor Cahill on the mound, Cespedes singled to start off the frame, advancing to second on a sac bunt by Duda. The five-tool outfielder then easily swiped third against the Cubs’ right-hander, but was initially stranded on a ground ball to third for the second out of the inning.
Rookie outfielder Michael Conforto battled Cahill, chasing several pitches before going way out of the zone on a breaking ball in the dirt for the third strike. That pitch got past catcher Miguel Montero, allowing Cespedes to score the go-ahead run from third base.
The next batter, Wilmer Flores, lined a ball to right field, where Soler charged, made an awkward excuse of a dive – and the ball rolled all the way to the wall, where it got lost in the ivy. Center fielder Dexter Fowler threw his hands up, keeping Conforto from scoring given it is an automatic two bags on any such play at Wrigley Field.
The Chicago offense had five hits on the night, three of which came in the first inning against deGrom, including Schwarber’s team-record fifth home run of the season – a solo shot that tied things up 1-1.
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New York second baseman Daniel Murphy extended his home run streak to five-straight games, totaling six long-balls, with a solo shot to center field in the top of the third against Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks – tying the longest postseason streak in big league history.
What Stood Out:
Throughout the entire series, the Chicago Cubs’ offense has zero leadoff base hits. Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant went a combined 1-for-8 on Tuesday night, continuing their disappointing play in the NLCS.
Bryant, Schwarber, Montero and Starlin Castro are all batting below the .200 mark in the series, taking major pieces out of the normally-potent Cubs offense.
Chicago will look to avoid a straight four-game sweep and get things turned around in Game 4 Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
Right-hander Jason Hammel is the Cubs’ probable starter, while Steven Matz is slated to take the ball for the Mets. First pitch is set for 7:07 p.m. CT at Wrigley Field.