After a Game 1 win in the NLCS, the Mets are preparing to face the ace of the Chicago Cubs, Jake Arrieta, in Game 2. The Mets are familiar with the right-hander, as they've faced him twice in the 2015 season. The former Texas Christian University Horned Frog began an unbelievable tear in August, though, so this'll be the first meeting between the two sides since then. Arrieta's 0.41 ERA since August 4 led MLB by a gigantic margin, making him one of the NL Cy Young front-runners. Let's take a look at how the Mets have fared against the Cubs' ace in their five previous encounters.
June 18, 2012: Orioles vs. Mets
Though some seem to forget, Arrieta's career began with the Baltimore Orioles. This was his third season in the majors and in Baltimore, so it required perfect timing of interleague play to create this matchup. Arrieta went seven innings, allowing four runs and striking out four. His major blemish came on a swing of the bat by Ike Davis, who crushed a two-out grand slam in the bottom of the sixth. This game is remembered in Mets lore as the second straight one-hit shutout by R.A. Dickey. Arrieta was charged with the loss.
June 3, 2014: Mets vs. Cubs
The Mets came into Chicago riding a hot streak, having won four out of five in Philadelphia in the days preceding this game. The Cubs were struggling mightily, so it seemed like a good opportunity for New York to get back to .500. Arrieta matched up against Zack Wheeler, and a pitching duel ensued. Arrieta only went 4.2 innings, allowing seven hits and one run with three walks and two strikeouts. He was pulled in the fifth inning with two on and two out. Chicago's bullpen shut out the Mets for the rest of the game, and the Cubs went on to win the game in walk-off fashion. Arrieta received a no-decision, and his only run allowed came from a sacrifice fly off the bat of Curtis Granderson.
August 17, 2014: Cubs vs. Mets
The Cubs came into Citi Field for a four-game set, and the Mets won the first two. Arrieta started the third game of the series, and he was dominant, throwing seven scoreless innings with nine strikeouts and two walks. He allowed only two hits, both of which were singles. Rafael Montero pitched well for New York, but it was Jenrry Mejia who allowed a game-winning home run to Starlin Castro in the ninth. Arrieta did not factor into the decision, but this was his first excellent performance against the Mets.
May 12, 2015: Mets vs. Cubs
Noah Syndergaard made his major league debut, as he matched up against Arrieta at Wrigley Field. Syndergaard started off strongly, but he ended up receiving a loss. Arrieta stole the show, throwing eight magnificent innings, allowing one run and striking out ten. The Mets had two on with one out in the eighth, but the righty was able to maneuver himself out of the situation without giving up more than a Kevin Plawecki sacrifice fly. Arrieta gets the win, his first against the Mets.
July 2, 2015: Cubs vs. Mets
Arrieta and Jacob deGrom faced off in a Thursday matinee pitching duel. The Mets' ace did not fare too well, exiting the game in the sixth, which prompted him to punch a Gatorade cooler. Arrieta, on the other hand, was masterful, throwing eight one-run innings and striking out seven. He was credited with the win, his second career victory against the Amazins.
For his career, Arrieta has a 1.82 ERA against the Mets in 34.2 innings. He's held Mets hitters to a meager .511 OPS. His first two starts against them weren't spectacular, but he's dominated in three outings since. The postseason is a different animal—tonight's meeting between the two will have the highest stakes of all.