If you’re a Cubs fan, well, we’re not sure what to tell you.
The Cubs lost at home to the Mets, 5-2, in Game 3 of the NLCS on Tuesday to fall behind 3-0 in the series. Chicago has scored just five runs in 27 innings – this after scoring at least six runs in each of its final three games against the Cardinals in the NLDS.
Few people could have predicted the Mets would make it look this easy, but that’s exactly what it’s been. Will it be this easy going forward? Will the Mets finish off the Cubs fairly quickly?
“Well, it certainly feels that way,” former Mets executive and current MLB analyst Steve Phillips said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “You want to get it done before you’re having to go back through (Jon) Lester and (Jake) Arrieta and trying to beat both of those guys again. But that being said, why shouldn’t we believe that they can do it? To think about this postseason for the Mets – with (Clayton) Kershaw twice and (Zack) Greinke twice and to go through Arrieta and to beat everybody – it’s amazing to me the run that they’re on. There are no guarantees. It’s been done before. Only once has a team come back from down 0-3 – and Theo Epstein certainly knows that from his Red Sox days – but it certainly is going to be a very difficult road considering how well the Mets are playing.”
Daniel Murphy, in particular. The Mets second baseman has homered in five consecutive postseason games – the second player ever to do so.
“Daniel Murphy is – I don’t know what he is,” Phillips said. “He’s a combination of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and you-name-it. He’s that guy right now. It’s amazing how locked in he is and how confident he is. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.”
The Cubs hope to stave off elimination in Game 4 on Wednesday. What do the Cubs have to do to force a Game 5 and extend this series?
“Well, they need to get Daniel Murphy out. That’s a good start,” Phillips said. “I mean, whatever the scouting report said, try something different. They’re going to need to score. They’re going to need the power numbers to start to come through – and that’s not an easy task against the pitching. But with Steven Matz on the mound for the Mets in Game 4, you got a young guy. You got to get on him early, and then they need to punish. They need to rebuild some of the offensive confidence that they had. And then if the Mets make any mistakes and leave any openings, you have to take advantage of it. . . . You don’t get many, but when the other team makes an unforced error, you’ve got to capitalize on it. I think the Mets have done that.”
The Cubs will turn to Jason Hammel in Game 4. Hammel lasted just three innings in his only start this postseason.