You heard that right. The Cubs who were a 25-39 team on the road entering this series have swept the New York Mets. They were set to go against the pitching of Stroman, Syndergaard, and deGrom and it seemed it would be a tough battle.The Cubs were coming into the series with a 3 game losing streak as well. It was surprising to see a Cubs sweep, as they had just been swept by the Washington Nationals. The team sat three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the division lead entering this series. This definitely seemed like it would end up being bad news for the Cubs as Stroman is a quality pitcher who the Mets traded for, Syndergaard who’s nickname is literally Thor, and deGrom is one of the best pitchers in the league today.
Game 1: Stroman vs Darvish
Marcus Stroman was traded from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Mets on July 28th. Before the trade, Stroman had a 2.96 ERA and added to the strength of the Met’s starting rotation. The Cubs would end up scoring 4 against Stroman. With two, two-run home runs hit by Addison Russell and Javier Baez. Baez also went 3 for 3 with 3 RBI and 1 walk. This game was the Yu Darvish game however, as he had a phenomenal performance. He went 8 IP. 7 SO, 1BB (which was his first walk since July 23) and 5 H. Before we move on to the next game, Yu Darvish looks extremely good. His stats might say otherwise but you don’t just get five consecutive starts with 8 strikeouts and 0 walks out of nowhere. He even learned a new pitch – the knuckle curveball which he even struck out two batters with.
Game 2: Hendricks Vs Syndergaard
The Mets were regarded as one of the hottest teams in August and their pitching was nothing short of amazing. Noah Syndergaard lowered his ERA from a 4.68 on July 6th to a 3.71 before this game. The Cubs would end up scoring 10 runs on Syndergaard. The last time he gave up anything close to 10 runs against a team was back on June 2nd, of 2015. Against the San Diego Padres, he gave up 7 runs. Syndergaard gave up 6 runs from 3 home runs. It is the first time in Syndergaard’s major league career that he has given up 3 home runs in a single game.
Cubs Sweep with the Victor Caratini Game
Now comes the final game of the series, Jon Lester vs Jacob deGrom. Now this game was nerve racking for Cubs fans. Lester has been having inconsistent and kind of shaky performances as his ERA is up to 4.49 on the year. Early on in the game he seemed to be missing some of his pitches. He gave up a home run that was blasted by J.D Davis for his 18th homer on the year. The hero of the team ended up being Victor Caratini who has filled the role as catcher in place for Willson Contreras. This game, however, he was filling in first base for the injured Anthony Rizzo. This whole series has seen Caratini on fire for the Cubs. Caratini went 3 for 4 with 2 HRs and 4 RBIs. deGrom before this game had an ERA 2.56 which landed him 4th of all MLB starters in ERA according to FanGraphs.
Expectations for the Cubs After the Sweep
Can the Cubs keep this hot streak up? Possibly. The team has not been able to find a rhythm or momentum all year long. As a team on the road, the offense is slashing .245/ .322/.444 .766. All of those stats are significantly worse than their home numbers. The Cubs have a losing record on the road and yet sweep one of the hottest teams in August at Citi Field. They have a series with the Milwaukee Brewers at home in Wrigley and numbers wise, the Brewers are an equal away team to how the Cubs perform on the road. Milwaukee’s road slash line as a team are .244/.320/.435. The team has a 29-36 record away from Miller Park. The 1st game of the series will be Chase Anderson (6-3, 4.34 ERA) vs José Quintana (11-8, 4.05 ERA). On August 31st we’ll see Zach Davies (8-7, 3.90 ERA) vs Cole Hammels (7-4, 3.73 ERA). And the final game of the series on September 1st will be Gio Gonzalez (2-2, 4.34 ERA) vs Yu Darvish (5-6, 4.25 ERA). A Cubs sweep of the Mets put them in the driver’s seat for a spot in the postseason and they will be looking for more.