2015 National League Championship Series

2015 National League Championship Series

2015 National League Championship Series
Dates: October 17–21
MVP: Daniel Murphy (New York)
Television: TBS
TV announcers: Ernie Johnson Jr.; Cal Ripken, Jr.; Ron Darling, Matt Winer, and Sam Ryan
Radio: ESPN
Radio announcers: Jon Sciambi and Chris Singleton
Umpires: Ted Barrett (crew chief), Eric Cooper, Rob Drake (Games 1–2), Tim Timmons, Paul Emmel, Bill Miller, and Mark Wegner (Games 3–4)
NLDS: New York Mets beat Los Angeles Dodgers (3–2)
  Chicago Cubs beat St. Louis Cardinals (3–1)
 < 2014 NLCS 2016 > 
2015 World Series

The 2015 National League Championship Series was a best-of-seven playoff contested between the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets for the National League (NL) pennant and the right to play in the 2015 World Series. The Mets swept the Cubs four games to none for their fifth National League Pennant in franchise history. The series was the 46th in league history with TBS airing all games in the United States. Game 1 was played on October 17.[1]

This was the first NLCS since 2007 not to be won by the Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, or St. Louis Cardinals, the first postseason meeting between the Mets and Cubs, and the first NLCS in which the losing team never had a lead during a game. It was also the first since that year to end in a sweep, and the third best-of-seven NLCS to do so (the other being in 1995).

Contents

  • Background 1
  • Summary 2
  • Game summaries 3
    • Game 1 3.1
    • Game 2 3.2
    • Game 3 3.3
    • Game 4 3.4
    • Composite line score 3.5
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Background

The Chicago Cubs finished the 2015 season with a 97–65 record, the third best record in the majors. With new manager Joe Maddon and the great play of pitcher Jake Arrieta and hitters Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, the Cubs experienced their best season since 2008 when they also won 97 games. Despite their record, the Cubs only received the second Wild Card bid and had to travel to play the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2015 National League Wild Card Game, where they won 4–0.[2] They then advanced to the NLCS by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 3 games to 1 in the NLDS. This was the first time the Cubs won a postseason series at Wrigley Field. It is their first appearance in the NLCS since 2003 and their fourth appearance overall.

The New York Mets made their first playoff appearance since 2006, thanks to their starting pitchers Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard as well the late season acquisition of hitter Yoenis Céspedes. The Mets finished 2015 with a 90–72 record, clinching the National League East on September 26 with a 10–2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. They defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games in the 2015 NLDS, their first playoff series played at Citi Field since its opening in 2009. This is the second straight NLDS in which the Mets clinched in L.A., advancing to the NLCS for the first time since 2006 and their eighth appearance overall.

During the 2015 regular season, the Cubs won all seven games against the Mets.

Summary

New York won the series, 4–0.
Game Date Score Location Time Attendance 
1 October 17 Chicago Cubs – 2, New York Mets – 4 Citi Field 2:55 44,287[3] 
2 October 18 Chicago Cubs – 1, New York Mets – 4 Citi Field 3:07 44,502[4] 
3 October 20 New York Mets – 5, Chicago Cubs – 2 Wrigley Field 3:01 42,231[5] 
4 October 21 New York Mets – 8 Chicago Cubs – 3 Wrigley Field 3:32 42,227[6]

Game summaries

Game 1

October 17, 2015 8:07 p.m. (EDT) atCiti Field in Queens, New York
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chicago 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 2 5 0
New York 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 x 4 8 1
WP: Matt Harvey (1–0)   LP: Jon Lester (0–1)   Sv: Jeurys Familia (1)
Home runs:
CHC: Kyle Schwarber (1)
NYM: Daniel Murphy (1), Travis d'Arnaud (1)
Attendance: 44,287
The Met and Cub reserves and coaches stand on the field for introductions before Game 1 at Citi Field.

Having used aces Jake Arrieta and Jacob deGrom late in their respective Division Series, the Cubs turned to Jon Lester and the Mets to Matt Harvey for Game 1 of the Championship Series. Daniel Murphy, fresh off a Division Series in which he hit three home runs, jumped Lester early on with a solo home run in the first inning. Lester would settle down, only allowing that lone run through four innings, but Harvey was even better, throwing four perfect innings as he blew away the Cubs hitters.[7]

After getting ahead of Javier Báez. Testing the strong arm of left fielder Yoenis Céspedes, Castro attempted to score on the hit by Báez, but was thrown out at the plate by Céspedes in plenty of time, helping Harvey escape the inning having only allowed the one run.

Flores batting before hitting his single.

In the bottom of the fifth, Wilmer Flores and Lagares would both reach on one-out singles against Lester, bringing up Harvey with runners on first and second. The Met starter attempted to move the runners over with a sacrifice bunt, but did so right towards the first baseman Rizzo who fired over to third to force out Flores for the second out of the inning.

Harvey at-bat, before bunting into a fielder's choice.

Undeterred, the next batter, Curtis Granderson, with runners still on first and second, blooped a single into center field to score Lagares and help the Mets regain the lead.

Granderson takes an at-bat before singling in Lagares.
Trevor Cahill pitches for Chicago in Game 1.

Once again with the lead Harvey would regain control and blank the Cubs in the top halves of the sixth and seventh, while the Mets would add insurance runs off of Lester. Travis d'Arnaud hit a solo home run in the sixth inning off of Citi Field's Home Run Apple in center field. The Mets would then manufacture another run in the seventh after a Lagares leadoff single. After Harvey sacrificed Lagares to second, the Met center fielder stole third with one out, setting up a Granderson sacrifice fly to make it a 4–1 game.


With Harvey still pitching into the eighth, Kyle Schwarber smoked a solo home run deep into the Cubs bullpen in right center, ending Harvey's night after 7⅔ innings, having allowed only two runs and four hits to go along with nine strikeouts.

Familia enters for the save.

Mets closer Jeurys Familia came on for the 4-out save, and would finish it off for Harvey, getting help from a Murphy diving play for the last out of the game.[8]

Game 2

October 18, 2015 8:07 p.m. (EDT) atCiti Field in Queens, New York
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chicago 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 5 0
New York 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 x 4 5 0
WP: Noah Syndergaard (1–0)   LP: Jake Arrieta (0–1)   Sv: Jeurys Familia (2)
Home runs:
CHC: None
NYM: Daniel Murphy (2)
Attendance: 44,502

Looking to rebound and tie the series, the Cubs turned to ace Jake Arrieta in a matchup against Mets rookie Noah Syndergaard. Much like in Game 1, the Mets got on the board in the first inning after a Curtis Granderson single, a David Wright RBI double, and a Daniel Murphy two-run home run to give the Mets a 3–0 lead through three batters against Arrieta. For Wright, it was his first hit and RBI since Game 1 of the NLDS. Murphy's home run extended his streak of consecutive postseason games with a home run to four, and also gave him five home runs for the entire postseason, a Mets record.[9]

The three runs was all Syndergaard would need. He went on to pitch 5⅔ innings, striking out nine while only walking one. He allowed only three hits, the last of which was a Kris Bryant RBI double that plated the only run against him and ended his outing in the sixth inning. Met relievers Jon Niese, Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard, and Jeurys Familia combined for 3⅓ scoreless innings to finish off the win, giving the Mets a 2–0 series lead.[10]

Game 3

October 20, 2015 8:07 p.m. (EDT) atWrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 1 0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 5 11 0
Chicago 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 1
WP: Jacob deGrom (1–0)   LP: Trevor Cahill (0–1)   Sv: Jeurys Familia (3)
Home runs:
NYM: Daniel Murphy (3)
CHC: Jorge Soler (1)
Attendance: 42,231

Hosting their first NLCS game at Wrigley Field in 12 years, the Cubs started Jorge Soler would ground out to end the threat with the game still tied at 1–1.

Daniel Murphy continued his historic hot streak with yet another home run, a solo shot to center field to give the Mets back the lead in the top of the third. For Murphy, it was his sixth home run of the postseason, making him the all-time Mets postseason home run leader in just eight games. It was also his fifth consecutive postseason game with a home run, tying Carlos Beltrán's all-time mark from the 2004 postseason. The Cubs would tie the game on a Soler solo home run in the fourth, but deGrom would allow nothing further. After a first inning where he gave up three hits, the only hit that deGrom allowed was the Soler home run. Meanwhile, Hendricks was pulled after four innings as Joe Maddon turned to his bullpen starting in the fifth.

Left-hander Clayton Richard escaped the fifth inning unscored upon after inducing a double play from none other than Murphy to retire the side. Right-hander Trevor Cahill was called upon next for the sixth, and he promptly gave up a single to Céspedes to lead off the inning. The struggling Lucas Duda, at that point just 3-for-23 in the postseason, attempted to bunt against the infield shift, but was thrown out at first for a sacrifice, advancing Céspedes to second. Céspedes then stole third base with one out, but Cahill retired Travis d'Arnaud on a ground out to third with the infield drawn in, forcing Céspedes to hold at third. The following batter, rookie Michael Conforto, saw nothing but curveballs from Cahill, who often bounced his curveballs despite the go-ahead run being on third base. Catcher Miguel Montero was up to the task of blocking Cahill's curveballs in the dirt until the 2-2 pitch when Conforto chased another curveball for strike three. Montero could not handle this last curveball, allowing it to get past him and roll to the backstop. Conforto would reach first safely after the uncaught third strike while Céspedes scored to give the Mets back the lead for the third time. The Cubs would catch a break as the following batter Wilmer Flores hit a line drive that got past a diving Soler in right and would have assuredly scored Conforto had the ball not rolled to the outfield wall and gotten stuck in the Wrigley Field ivy. Per Wrigley's ground rules, Flores was awarded an automatic double while Conforto was called back to third base. Cahill would retire deGrom on a flyout to end the threat, but the Mets weren't yet done offensively.[11]

The Mets were presented with more opportunities in the seventh thanks in part to more defensive miscues by the Cubs. With one out and facing new reliever Travis Wood, David Wright doubled down the line in left, narrowly beating the throw from the left fielder Schwarber. The next batter Murphy hit a soft tapper towards the hole between the third baseman Kris Bryant and the shortstop Báez. Bryant fielded the ball moving to his left but double-clutched before throwing to first, allowing Murphy to reach safely for an infield single as Wright advanced to third. Looking for a strikeout, Maddon inserted Justin Grimm to replace Wood, but Céspedes would follow with a line drive to deep left that glanced off of Schwarber's glove, going for what was ruled to be a long RBI single with Wright scoring, Murphy advancing to third, and Céspedes reaching second after Schwarber's throw went to third. Murphy would score after the next batter Duda hit a high chopper fielded by Rizzo, who elected to step on first base to force out Duda before throwing home, which may have given Murphy extra time to score.

With the Mets up 5–2, deGrom shut the Cubs down with a perfect seventh inning, ending his night having only allowed four hits and two runs while striking out seven. He would pick up the win after Jeurys Familia finished off the ninth for his third save in as many games in the series, giving the Mets a commanding 3–0 series lead. It was Familia's fifth save this postseason.[12]

Game 4

October 21, 2015 8:07 p.m. (EDT) atWrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 8 11 0
Chicago 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 3 6 0
WP: Bartolo Colón (1–0)   LP: Jason Hammel (0–1)
Home runs:
NYM: Lucas Duda (1), Travis d'Arnaud (2), Daniel Murphy (4)
CHC: Kris Bryant (1)
Attendance: 42,227

The Cubs entered Game 4 facing the daunting task of having to overcome a 3–0 series deficit, done only once in MLB history when the 2004 Boston Red Sox came back to defeat the New York Yankees after losing the first three games of the 2004 ALCS. Attempting to repeat the accomplishment was Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, who was the general manager of the Red Sox in 2004.

However, as had happened in every previous game of the series, the Mets took the first lead of the game in the first inning. Lucas Duda, just 1-for-6 in the series in the first three games, launched a three-run home run to center field against Cubs starter Jason Hammel to get the Mets off to a fast start again. The next batter, Travis d'Arnaud also took Hammel deep with an opposite field solo home run to make it 4–0 before the Cubs would even step up to the plate. After Mets starter Steven Matz quickly retired the side in order in the bottom of the first, Hammel issued a one-out walk to David Wright in top of the second, ending his night as Joe Maddon quickly went to his bullpen. Reliever Travis Wood allowed a two-run double to Duda later in the inning, making it a 6–0 game.[13]

Matz held the Cubs hitless through three innings, but Chicago mounted its first rally in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases with nobody out for Starlin Castro. Though Castro hit a bullet of a line drive, Wright made a leaping grab at third base to save an extra base hit and at least two runs. The Cubs would score their first run after an RBI groundout from Kyle Schwarber, but Javier Báez popped out in foul territory near the Cubs bullpen, stranding two runners and leaving the Cubs still down 6–1.[14]

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Matz looked as though he would retire the Cubs in order, but with two outs a Bartolo Colón was called upon to make his first relief appearance of the series. The veteran Colón struck out Kris Bryant and again the Cubs stranded two baserunners.[15]

The Mets themselves wasted opportunities to extend their lead, getting Wilmer Flores on third with less than two out in the top of the sixth as well as having the bases loaded in the top of the seventh but never scoring in either inning. However, in the top of the eighth inning, New York would finally pad its lead with a two-run home run from Murphy, his fourth home run of the series, his seventh of the postseason, and his sixth consecutive game with a home run, a new postseason record. Though Bryant would hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth off Tyler Clippard, he would allow nothing more. Jeurys Familia finished off the sweep by striking out Fowler, sending the Mets back to the World Series for the first time since 2000. After hitting .529 with the four home runs and a 1.294 slugging percentage for the series, Murphy was named series MVP.[16]

Composite line score

2015 NLCS (4–0): New York Mets beat Chicago Cubs

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chicago Cubs 1 0 0 2 1 1 0 3 0 8 21 1
New York Mets 9 2 2 0 1 2 3 2 0 21 35 1
Total attendance: 173,247   Average attendance: 43,312

References

  1. ^ Newman, Mark (September 24, 2015). "2015 Postseason Schedule". mlb.com. MLB Advanced Media, LP. Retrieved October 1, 2015. 
  2. ^ "2015 Wild Card Game (1-0): Chicago Cubs (97-65) over Pittsburgh Pirates (98-64)".  
  3. ^ "Boxscore: Chicago vs. New York, Game 1". MLB.com. October 17, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Boxscore: Chicago vs. New York, Game 2". MLB.com. October 18, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Boxscore: New York vs. Chicago, Game 3". MLB.com. October 18, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Boxscore: New York vs. Chicago, Game 4". MLB.com. October 21, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Daniel Murphy, Travis d'Arnaud back stout Matt Harvey effort in Game 1 win". ESPN News Services ( 
  8. ^ DiComo, Anthony; Muskat, Carrie. "Harvelous! Mets thwart Cubs in windy Citi". mlb.com.  
  9. ^ "Daniel Murphy homers in 4th straight playoff game; Mets beat Jake Arrieta". ESPN News Services ( 
  10. ^ DiComo, Anthony; Muskat, Carrie. "Win, chill factor: Mets, Thor thump Cubs' Arrieta". mlb.com.  
  11. ^ "Daniel Murphy matches playoff homer mark as Mets put Cubs on brink". ESPN News Services ( 
  12. ^ DiComo, Anthony; Muskat, Carrie (October 20, 2015). "Mets roll in Wrigley, 1 win away from WS". mlb.com.  
  13. ^ Couch, Greg (October 21, 2015). "New York Mets usher in new era with first World Series trip in 15 years".  
  14. ^ "New York Mets sweep Chicago Cubs, head to World Series".  
  15. ^ "Daniel Murphy homers again as Mets sweep Cubs, reach World Series". ESPN News Services ( 
  16. ^ DiComo, Anthony; Muskat, Carrie (October 21, 2015). "Dan-cin' in the sweep: Mets waltz into World Series!". mlb.com.  

External links

  • "2015 Postseason". MLB.com. Retrieved August 22, 2015.