I did not expect this. You did not expect this. No one expected this!
But here we are, reveling in one of the nicest surprises of the 2022 Cubs season, a three-game sweep over the playoff-bound Mets after a well-played 6-3 Cubs win Wednesday evening in New York.
How unusual was this? It was the first three-game sweep of the Mets this year by any team and just the second three-game sweep by the Cubs this year — oddly enough, the other one was also of a NL East team on the road, the Phillies. Yep, the Cubs have not swept a three-game (or longer) set at Wrigley since they took a four-game series against the Pirates there last September, but this year they’ve swept two likely postseason teams — on the road.
Almost all of the relevant action happened in the first inning when the Cubs scored all six of their runs, so let’s have a look.
Mets starter David Peterson had no control or command from the very beginning of the game. He walked Christopher Morel, Seiya Suzuki and Franmil Reyes to start the contest, loading the bases with nobody out. It was noted on the Marquee broadcast that it was the first time this year that had happened for the Cubs — this seems like an unusual thing, I’d like to know how often it happens in general, and there’s no real systematic way to look it up.
Anyway, after Peterson struck out Patrick Wisdom, runs began to score in bunches.
That was a real good piece of hitting and Jim Deshaies called it on the broadcast, saying Gomes should try to take the ball the other way.
Reyes stopped at third, and P.J. Higgins brought him and Gomes home with another double just two pitches later [VIDEO].
That was it for Peterson, who threw only 12 strikes in 29 pitches and recorded only one out. There have been only 13 starts in all of MLB this year where the starter recorded only one out, and at least seven of them ended due to injury (including Alec Mills vs. the Red Sox on July 2). Here’s the entire list — so this outing for Peterson was really unusual. The five runs allowed matched the most by any starter this year who recorded only one out.
Old friend Trevor Williams entered to replace Peterson, but the Cubs weren’t done scoring runs. Another double by Michael Hermosillo made it 5-0 [VIDEO].
The Cubs completed the first-inning scoring on this RBI single by Nelson Velázquez [VIDEO].
It looked like this could be a game like the 21-0 thrashing of the Pirates back in April, when the Cubs scored eight first-inning runs, but Mets pitching settled down and allowed the Cubs just three more hits the rest of the way.
Fortunately, Drew Smyly and the Cubs pen was up to the task of preventing the Mets from scoring at least six. Tomas Nido homered off Smyly in the third to make it 6-1, and a second Mets run scored off Smyly in the fifth on an error by Patrick Wisdom. In the eighth, the Mets put a third run on the board on Pete Alonso’s 35th home run of the season.
I was a bit surprised Smyly wasn’t sent out for the sixth, considering he had thrown only 77 pitches. That’s especially true given Thursday’s off day, which will give the entire rotation an extra day of rest before their next start. Here’s a slick defensive play completed by Morel in the second inning after a ground ball was deflected by Smyly [VIDEO].
In the end the Cubs pen (Erich Uelmen, Rowan Wick, Michael Rucker and Mark Leiter Jr.) threw four innings and allowed four hits and one run, with no walks and a pair of strikeouts, so that’s good. Here’s the final play of the game, a double-play grounder induced by Leiter [VIDEO].
The rest of the story of this game happened in the ninth inning and it revolved around Seiya Suzuki.
Suzuki was hit by a pitch from former Cub Mychal Givens. There was no intent, but the pitch got Suzuki on the side of his left hand. He looked in considerable pain but stayed in the game. Here’s the postgame update:
With the off day tomorrow, any updates on Suzuki expected Friday. Suzuki was in the process of getting the imaging done postgame before Cubs fly back to Chicago tonight. https://t.co/KtjfHZGT1N— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) September 15, 2022
Here’s hoping Suzuki is all right and doesn’t miss any time.
Then in the bottom of the inning, Leiter hit Jeff McNeil. Mets fans weren’t happy but it clearly wasn’t intentional.
That brought Eduardo Escobar to the plate, and he hit a long fly ball to right-center and... look out, Seiya! [VIDEO]
That looked worse than it wound up. Hermosillo made a nice grab and he and Suzuki were laughing when it was all done. I’m guessing Suzuki is pretty sore this morning, though.
The sweep also gave the Cubs the season series win over the Mets four wins to three, something that in the end doesn’t mean much, but is still satisfying. The Cubs are 16-9 against NL East teams this year, which includes a mark of 10-6 against the three East teams likely heading to the postseason (Mets, Braves, Phillies). They still have six games remaining vs. East teams (three at Miami, three at Wrigley vs. Philadelphia).
The Cubs will certainly enjoy their off day Thursday. Friday, they will open a series against the Rockies at Wrigley Field, as the Rockies spend an entire week in Chicago (they split a pair against the White Sox on the South Side). Marcus Stroman will start for the Cubs Friday against Colorado’s German Marquez. Game time Friday is 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network (and also MLB Network outside the Cubs and Rockies market territories).