This is happening, Mets fans. With a Game 3 win on Tuesday night, Terry Collins’s club is one win away from the World Series, and will go for the sweep of the Cubs in Wednesday’s Game 4. Perhaps the Mets’ October mojo is so strong right now that they’re unstoppable. Perhaps the Cubs and their unparalleled baggage were bound to eventually suffer yet again this fall. Or perhaps the Mets are simply using a mix of timely hitting and great pitching to win ballgame after ballgame. In any case, what really matters is that the Mets, following a 5-2 win in Game 3, are on the verge of reaching the Fall Classic for the first time in 15 years.
In the sixth and seventh innings of Game 3, the Cubs played like a team that really has been cursed, be it by a goat or a black cat or a Bartman. In a 2-2 game in the sixth, with Yoenis Céspedes on third and two out, Michael Conforto swung and missed for strike three, but the ball got by catcher Miguel Montero and rolled to the backstop, allowing Conforto to reach first and Céspedes to score the go-ahead run. The next batter, Wilmer Flores, then hit a ball to the right that Jorge Soler misplayed, and it, too, would have meant a Mets run if not for the Wrigley Field ivy and the ballpark’s unique ground rules.
Then in the seventh, with the Mets up 3-2, Kyle Schwarber dropped a catchable ball in left, allowing David Wright (who had three hits on the night) to score a fourth Mets run. By the time the inning was over, the Mets had added another insurance run to take a 5-2 lead — more than enough for a bullpen that’s pitched splendidly of late.
The Mets got on the board in the first inning on a Céspedes double, but Chicago evened the score in the bottom half of the inning on a Schwarber homer. (Fun fact: Schwarber, a rookie, is now the Cubs’ all-time leader in postseason home runs.)
New York would jump ahead again in the third when future former Met Daniel Murphy homered for a ridiculous fifth straight game. (Another fun fact: Murphy, with six homers in these playoffs, is now the Mets’ all-time leader in postseason home runs.) But the Cubs would tie the game on a Soler homer in the fourth, and the score would remain 2-2 until things got weird in the sixth.
Jacob deGrom, who allowed three hits and a run in a first inning in which he threw 29 pitches, settled down to go seven, allowing just one more hit (the Soler homer) and striking out seven to improve his record to 3-0 in these playoffs. After Tyler Clippard threw a scoreless eighth, closer Jeurys Familia was brilliant again, pitching a perfect ninth for this third save of the series.
And so if the Cubs are going to reach their first World Series since 1945, they’ll need not just a miracle, but the same miracle as the 2004 Red Sox, who also found themselves down 3-0 to a New York team in an LCS before breaking a curse of their own. But the Mets don’t look like a team about to collapse. Rather, as these playoffs go on, they’re only getting stronger.