In what was a dominant performance across the board, the Mets blew away the Cubs 10-2. Zack Wheeler made a great bounce back start, while Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil continued to show that they’re deserving All Stars. Wilson Ramos and Todd Frazier also contributed with home runs in the win.
Offensively, the Mets got started early. After Jeff McNeil popped out, Pete Alonso worked a long at bat against Cubs’ starter Jose Quintana. On the seventh pitch, Pete took a curveball that caught just a bit too much plate and launched it out to centerfield for his 26th home run of the season. The blast tied Darryl Strawberry’s Mets rookie home run record, and we’re only in June. Pete also set the record for most home runs by an NL rookie before the All Star Break.
Wheeler almost gave that lead right back, as the first two Cubs singled in the bottom of the first. Instead of struggling as he often has with men on base this season, Wheeler rallied and induced a double play ground ball before striking out Wilson Contreras to end the inning. The Mets immediately rewarded him with a couple more runs, when Jeff McNeil slapped a single over the third base bag to drive in Wilson Ramos and Amed Rosario, giving the Mets a 3-0 lead in the top of the second.
Once again, Wheeler had some traffic on the basepaths and once again, he rallied. after a single and an error by Jeff McNeil again put the first two Cubs on base in the bottom of the second. Wheeler struck out Victor Caratini, then escaped the inning thanks to a sacrifice bunt and a pop out. The leadoff single would be the last hit against Wheeler until the seventh inning.
With another threat averted, the Mets’ offense continued to smack Quintana around. Todd Frazier launched a two-run home run in the third, and McNeil notched another RBI with a double in the fourth. The double was McNeil’s second hit of the game, giving him five straight multi-hit performances.
The Mets added two more in the fifth on Wilson Ramos’ two run home run, giving them a 9-0 lead and chasing Quintana from the game. Rowan Wick entered for the Cubs, and while he escaped the fifth inning without any more runs, the Mets struck again in the sixth on Todd Frazier’s RBI infield single. It was the sixth time in Mets’ history that they’ve scored in each of the first six innings, and the third time they’ve done so against the Cubs.
With a massive lead, Wheeler was cruising until the seventh, when he a pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs. Wheeler only needed three pitches to work out of the jam, inducing a double play and a soft line out to end the inning. Wheeler finished his outing after seven innings of one run ball, striking out five and walking one. He allowed only five hits, all of which were singles.
Chris Flexen replaced Wheeler and had an uneventful eighth innings, as did new Cubs’ reliever Kyle Ryan. In the ninth inning, we got some fun moments, as backup catcher Victor Caratini took the mound for Chicago. The Mets went in order, a disappointing result against a position player pitching, but Caratini entertained with a jumping (though unnecessary) play on a dribbler off the bat of Wilson Ramos.
In the bottom of the ninth, we had another fun moment, when a hard ground ball off the bat of Jason Heyward literally broke Dom Smith’s glove, necessitating a long delay while Robinson Cano retrieved Dom’s bright blue backup. A cross up and a wild pitch allowed Heyward to come around to score, but Flexen eventually closed out the win without further drama.
The decisive win broke what has been an insanely long streak for the Mets; this is the first time in 17 years that they’ve won back-to-back games in Wrigley in the same regular season series. More importantly, the Mets still have a chance to win this series, which would be their first series win on the road since April. Jacob deGrom will take the mound against Cole Hamels as the Mets look to close out the series on a high note.
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Win Probability Added
Big winners: Jeff McNeil, +14.9% WPA; Zack Wheeler, +14.6% WPA; Todd Frazier, +11.8% WPA; Amed Rosario, +10.4% WPA
Big losers: None
Total pitcher WPA: +14.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: +35.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jeff McNeil drives in two with a single in the second, +14.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Zack Wheeler strikes out swining with runners on second and third in the second, -7.2% WPA