I'm going to just rip the band-aid off. Tonight, the Cubs dropped the second game of the National League Championship Series, 4-1 to the New York Mets. The Mets take a two games to none lead in the best-of-seven series.
I'm not going to pretend this doesn't stink. I'm not going to pretend the Cubs aren't in deep trouble. But I'm also not going to pretend this series is over. Just last week, the Toronto Blue Jays dropped the first two games of a best-of-five series at home against the Rangers. They came back to win. The Cubs are going to have to win four of the next five games. It won't be easy. But at least three of those games will be at Wrigley Field. The Mets have held serve. The Cubs get their chance to serve starting on Tuesday.
The game was pretty much over in the first inning although we did not know that at the time, the howls of despair throughout the Cubs internet notwithstanding. Jake Arrieta had uncharacteristic control issues in the first inning when he got a 2-2 pitch up to leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson, who singled to lead off the bottom of the first. Then Arrieta left a meatball down the middle of the plate and David Wright crushed it for an RBI double to make it 1-0.
What happened next is a sign that it just wasn't your night. On a 1-2 pitch, Arrieta uncorked a curve ball. Was it his best pitch? No. It wasn't as sharp as Arrieta's breaking stuff usually has. But it was low and out of the zone and at worse, it should have been a ball in the dirt that catcher Miguel Montero would have had to keep in front of him to keep Wright from going to third. But you know what happened. Daniel Murphy took out his two-iron and golfed it into the right field seats. The Mets grabbed a three-run lead and they haven't even recorded an out yet.
The Mets got another run in the third inning when Granderson walked and stole second and, after a debatable decision to intentionally walk Murphy, stole third. The Mets aren't the best positioned team to take advantage of the Cubs problems with the running game, but Curtis Granderson is not the guy the Cubs want to put on base. Yoenis Cespedes then hit an infield single to score Granderson and the Cubs trailed by four.
After the Cespedes infield single, the Cubs pitching staff slammed the door shut. They retired the next 16 straight Mets until Murphy singled with two outs in the eighth. But you know the saying about closing the barn door after the animals were out? The Cubs were only able to push one run across in the sixth inning when Dexter Fowler singled with one out and Kris Bryant lined a two-out double off the left field wall. It just missed being a home run.
That was the second home run the Cubs just missed in this game as Granderson robbed Chris Coghlan of a home run in the second inning. Not much else to say about that one other than it was a great play.
Things are bleak right now, no doubt. But this series was always scheduled to be a best-of-seven, not a best-of-three. The Cubs luck has been terrible in the first few games. When the Cubs make a mistake, the Mets are punishing them. When the Mets make a mistake, the Cubs punish the ball right at someone. We have to hope that doesn't continue.
There's nothing to do now but win four of the next five. The Cubs have done it before. They can do it again.