It's the first time in baseball's "modern" age (post-1900) that the Cubs swept an entire season series of seven or more games. Baseball historian Ed Hartig says that the Cubs went 10-0 against Cincinnati in 1876 and 16-0 against Buffalo in 1885, the latter an MLB record for the most wins without a loss against any team.
The teams haven't met in more than three months; the last game between them was July 1 at Citi Field. The Mets are quite different now from then; they've added Yoenis Cespedes by trade, Michael Conforto from their system, and gotten David Wright back from injury.
But the Cubs are different too; Jake Arrieta was just beginning to become Jake Arrieta! when these two teams last played, Jorge Soler missed the second series with an injury, Kyle Schwarber was in the minor leagues, and Kris Bryant hadn't yet begun his great second-half run.Here's a look back at all seven games these teams played earlier this year.
May 11 at Wrigley Field, Cubs 4, Mets 3: Bryant and Anthony Rizzo both homered off Jacob deGrom in the first inning to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead. After Kevin Plawecki put the Mets on the board in the top of the fourth, Addison Russell got that run back on an RBI single in the bottom of the inning. Lucas Duda and Wil Flores hit back-to-back homers off Jon Lester in the sixth to bring the Mets to within one, but the Cubs pen shut them down the rest of the way to preserve the win.
May 12 at Wrigley Field, Cubs 6, Mets 1: Noah Syndergaard made his major-league debut against the Cubs in this game, and he matched up pretty well with Arrieta until Chris Coghlan homered off him in the sixth, breaking a scoreless tie. Miguel Montero later hit a two-run single in that inning. Arrieta had one of his best early-season starts, throwing eight innings, allowing three hits and one run, and striking out 10.
May 13 at Wrigley Field, Cubs 2, Mets 1: Jason Hammel had one of his best starts of the year, going eight innings and allowing just one run. The Mets nursed that 1-0 lead into the eighth on the strength of seven shutout innings from Matt Harvey, but the Cubs tied the game on an RBI single by Dexter Fowler. In the ninth, Rizzo and Starlin Castro led off with singles off Carlos Torres. The Mets intentionally walked Miguel Montero to load the bases. Torres struck out Jorge Soler, but then walked Coghlan on a 3-1 pitch to give the Cubs a walkoff win.
May 14 at Wrigley Field, Cubs 6, Mets 5: Travis Wood was removed from the rotation after this start; he allowed five runs in 4⅓ innings including homers by Flores and Anthony Recker. The Mets built a 5-1 lead going into the bottom of the fifth, but the Cubs came back again, tying the game in that inning. Rizzo, Bryant and Matt Szczur all drove in runs and another scored on a Mets error. The winning tally came in the seventh, when Fowler singled with one out, advanced to second when Rizzo was hit by a pitch and to third on a fly ball, then scored on a passed ball.
June 30 at Citi Field, Cubs 1, Mets 0: Kyle Hendricks threw six shutout innings and Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop and Jason Motte retired all nine batters they faced. The Cubs' run scored on a Szczur double after Bryant had led off the sixth inning with a walk. It was an important win for the Cubs coming off being swept by the Cardinals in St. Louis and losing the last two of a series at Wrigley to the Dodgers.
July 1 at Citi Field, Cubs 2, Mets 0, 11 innings: Lester and Bartolo Colon matched up in a magnificent pitchers' duel, both throwing seven shutout innings. With Pedro Strop throwing in the eighth, the Mets got runners on second and third with one out. Then this happened:
The Cubs won the game on RBI singles by Castro and Miguel Montero.
July 2 at Citi Field, Cubs 6, Mets 1: After two tense, low-scoring games, the Cubs broke this one open in the sixth. Jonathan Herrera, of all people, hit a two-run homer off deGrom to make the score 4-1 Cubs, and Montero hit a two-run blast in the ninth to seal the win and the Cubs had not only a sweep of this series, but the entire season series, as noted above. Arrieta threw eight innings and allowed just five hits and a run, striking out seven.
For the season, Lester had a 2.08 ERA against the Mets in 13 innings, with a WHIP of 1.154 and 13 strikeouts and Arrieta had a 1.13 ERA in 16 total innings against them with a 0.625 WHIP and 17 strikeouts. Those two men will throw Games 1 and 2 in the NLCS. I like the Cubs' chances.