The New York Mets are one win away. One win away from making all of the losing of the past several seasons a distant memory; one win away from putting the memories of Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS far in the rear view mirror; one win away from forgetting about the chokes of 2007 and 2008.
The Mets are one win away from the World Series.
Let that sink in for a minute.
The Mets took a commanding 3-0 series lead on the Chicago Cubs with a solid 5-2 victory at Wrigley Field, shocking a legion of fans in Chicago that expected so much more out of their young heroes, the Cubs; all while sending their own Met fans to a level of ecstasy they haven’t felt in a long time.
Teams that take a 3-0 lead in an LCS more times than not find a way to win that series. Only one team has come back from a series deficit of 3-0, and that was the 2004 Boston Red Sox. Theo Epstein was the GM of the Red Sox back then, he's the GM of the Cubs now, but this Cubs team doesn't have the veteran leadership the Red Sox did that season.
Not to say this series is over, because anything can happen, but let's just say it's looking really, really good for the guys in the New York dugout right now.
On Tuesday, the Mets got contributions from just about everyone, especially David Wright, Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Murphy.
With the game tied at one in the top of the third inning it was Murphy, once again, who played the catalyst. Murphy cracked his sixth home run of the playoffs, (a new Mets record), into the bleachers in right-center field, giving New York a 2-1 lead.
The home run extended Murphy’s hitting streak to eight games, and rose his average to .364. The home run also tied former Met, Carlos Beltran for the most consecutive days with a home run in the postseason at five. Beltran hit a home run in five straight playoff games when he was a member of the Astros in 2004.
After the Cubs tied the game on a Jorge Soler solo home run in the bottom of the fourth, the Mets grabbed the lead right back in the sixth inning on a wild pitch from Trevor Cahill that allowed Yoenis Cespedes to score the go-ahead run to make it 3-2.
The Mets iced the game in the seventh inning when David Wright led off with a double to left field, and scored on a base hit by Cespedes to make it 4-2. Finally, Lucas Duda grounded out to first on a squeeze play, allowing Cespedes to score to push the lead to 5-2.
While Jacob deGrom didn’t have his best stuff, he still gave the Mets seven quality innings, allowing only two runs on four hits, while striking out seven. The victory was deGrom’s third of the playoffs, the most wins by a Met since Jesse Orosco in 1986.
All that stands in the way of the Mets likely facing the Kansas City Royals in the World Series is Jason Hammel. Hammel won 10 games for Chicago, and will be a tough out in Game 4; he also beat the Mets in May. The Mets are trusting that Steven Matz won’t let the moment overtake him. If Terry Collins senses any danger, he might go to Bartolo Colon in relief. In order to win Game 4, New York has to jump out early to 1) to put doubt in the heads of the Cubs, and 2) relax Matz on the hill. The opportunity is there for the Mets, now they have to take it.