The Mets at 40-37 were hosting Joe Maddon's first place Chicago Cubs (51-27). The Cubs considered the NL's best team so far came to Citi Field not having played the Mets since New York swept them in 2015 NLCS.
Maybe the Mets were in the Cubs heads, maybe the ghosts of last year's NLCS or even the ghosts of 1969 came back to haunt these modern day Cubs as well. Because in this four game Holiday weekend set, The Mets got their hitting in gear & their pitching tuned up to sweep the Cubs & get back on the right track.
Thursday June 30th: Steven Matz pitching through bone spurs went up against John Lackey in the opener. Matz served up a 1st inning two run HR to Cubs slugger; Chris Bryant & a solo shot to Javier Baez, putting New York down 3-0.
It looked like the Mets woes were continuing, but in the 6th inning Yoenis Cespedes blasted a solo shot his 19th of the year, putting New York on the board.
In a strange 7th inning, Travis d'Arnaud singled with one out. Joe Maddon removed Lackey bringing in Joel Peralta.
Alejandro DeAza then came on to pinch hit & drew a walk. Young Met Brandon Nimmo then singled thru the hole at short bringing in d'Arnaud.
Next up Neil Walker hit a fielders choice to second, Javier Baez threw the ball away causing DeAza & Nimmo to both score. The Mets went ahead 4-3 & went on for the victory.
A shaky 8th saw Addison Reed load the bases & with two outs Jerry Blevins got Jason Heyward to ground out. Jeurys Familia saved it.
Friday July 1st: As Paul Simon was playing a rainy concert a short distance away in Forest Hills, the Mets had their own problem with rain delays.
In a game that went on past midnight but came in just shy of three hours of actual playing time, the Mets romped Chicago 10-2 blasting five HRs for the first time ever at Citi Field.
Asdrubal Cabrera led the charge with two HRs, Brandon Nimmo hit his first MLB career HR on this night. He also made his first curtain call.
Yoenis Cespedes blasted #20 & James Loney his fourth of the year. Nimmo, Cabrera & Loney all drove in three runs each, with Cespedes contributing with his solo shot. The Mets offense collected nine hits & all ten runs off Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel.
For the Mets, Jacob deGrom earned his first win since the end of April, two long months ago. He even returned after a rain delay to earn his fourth victory to go 4-4. He struck out seven on the night, allowing one run on five hits in five innings of work. Jerry Blevins, Hansel Robles & Seth Lugo mopped up.
Saturday July 2nd: On this evening 41,151 came to Citi to see these Mets & Cubs go at it again. Tonight the Mets Captain David Wright returned to sit with the team & talk with the press for the first time since his neck surgery. If the Cubs weren't anxious to get out of New York, tonight sure made them want to.
They sent their ace, Jake Arrietta to the hill. Arrietta was 12-2 going into the game with a long regular season road winning streak under his belt. Of course in the post season the Mets beat him up in the 2015 NLCS. Tonight was no different.
In the home 1st, Brandon Nimmo, the new Mets lead off man walked. Neil Walker then hit his 15th HR of the year, a two run shot. All the Cubs needed was to see a black cat run out on to the field, ala 1969.
Bartolo Colon was fine for the Mets except for a two run HR he surrendered to Anthony Rizzo to tie it up. Colon would go six innings, allowing two runs on four hits, three walks & five strike outs winning his seventh game of the year (7-4). It must be noted in the 3rd inning, the Mets James Loney turned a nice double play.
In the 4th inning, Asdrubal Cabrera singled & Alejandro DeAza, playing right for the injured Curtis Granderson, walked. Travis d'Arnaud then blooped a pop fly in between short & left centerfield. The ball dropped in was bobbled & a bad throw followed as both Mets runners scored.
Addison Reed had a fine outing as he came on in the 7th & struck out Kris Bryant with a runner on second base to end the inning. In the 8th after giving up a lead off single to Rizzo, he struck out the next three batters.
In the 9th a controversial third strike call by home plate umpire Laz Diaz, assisted Jeurys Familia with the first out of the inning. Diaz' strike calls behind the plate certainly irked a lot of people on this night.
Familia got the next two batters & secured his 28th save of the season. The Mets went on to beat Arrietta & take the third straight game from the Cubs.
Sunday July 3rd: The Mets had no problem sweeping the Cubs today as the scored a season high 14 runs & collected 22 hits beating up on Jon Lester for eight runs in just an inning a third. The Mets scored six more runs off the next three pitchers Patton, Peralta & Montero.
The Mets ace, Noah Syndergaard earned his ninth win of the year (9-4) as he allowed just one run in seven innings of work, lowering his ERA to 2.41. Noah also collected a double & scored a run.
At the plate, seven different Mets had two hits on the day, but Wilmer Flores who had been struggling, had the biggest day of all. He became the second Met in team history to go 6-6 in a game. The other being Edgardo Alfonzo. Flores homered twice & drove in four runs on his big day. He also scored three runs & raised his average to .251.
Quotes: Wilmer Flores- "Unbelievable feeling, Six hits? I never thought I was going to get six hits ever. But it happened. I put good swings on the ball."
Curtis Granderson returned after four games with an injured calf, and hit a 1st inning HR. It was in the Mets 2nd that they caused the most damage scoring seven runs & sending 13 men to the plate. Flores stared it with a solo HR. Matt Reynolds doubled & Rene Rivera hit a two run HR, his 3rd HR of the year.
Noah then walked, went to 3rd on Juan Lagares' double. Granderson then singled in Noah & Yoenis Cespedes singled in Lagares to make it 6-1 Mets. Neil Walker & Flores followed with RBI singles of their own to make it 8-1 New York.
Rene Rivera singled in Flores in the 4th inning for another Mets run. In the 5th Flores hit his second HR of the day a two run shot to make it 11-1. In the 7th Kelly Johnson joined the fun hitting a two run shot to make it 13-1.
In the 8th Jacob deGrom even got a pinch hit appearance, although he flew out. But singles by Johnson, Flores & Loney's RBI single capped off the 14-3 win. The Cubs said goodbye to the black cat & the ghost of Ron Santo from 1969 as they left New York.
Trivia: It was the first time the Mets swept the Cubs in four games in the regular season (remember the 2015 NLCS) since 1985.
Quotes: Cub Manager Joe Maddon- "It was a rough weekend -- give the Mets credit. They really swung the bats well, and of course, they always pitch well. They got us this time, they got us last year at the end of the season. For me, it's keep moving it forward. This is an easy game for me to forget about."