Matt Harvey dominated as the NY Mets drew first blood in the NLCS with a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs in Game 1.
In his second postseason start, Harvey limited the Cubs to two runs and four hits in 72/3 innings. He departed after allowing Kyle Schwarber’s fourth homer of the postseason, a solo shot that landed deep in the Cubs’ bullpen.
Still, he walked off to a rousing ovation, with a supercharged crowd at Citi Field serenading him with his own name: “Har-vey! Har-vey! Har-vey!”
The Cubs had beaten the Mets in all seven regular-season meetings, but entering the NLCS, the Mets insisted that they are a different team. Then they proved it.
“I wanted to go out there, I wanted this game bad, and luckily we put up some runs,” said Harvey.
As those “Har-VEY, Har-VEY” chants grew louder by the inning, it was impossible not to get the message from Mets fans: “Just keep doing what you’re doing, pal — and we’re cool.” The Amazings even had die-hard Mount Vernon, Yankee fans routing for them.
“I don’t usually route for the Mets, but I’m glad to see them winning, ya gotta love it.” TC, a 37-year-old female Yankees fan, who lives on the Southside of Mount Vernon told BW.
The Mets provided plenty of support on a night in which Harvey flashed near-total command of his arsenal. The performance energized a fan base that had briefly questioned his priorities. He fed off the energy of 44,287 fans gathered at Citi Field for the Mets’ first NLCS game since 2006 and first-ever playoff game against the Cubs.
Daniel Murphy who isn’t a home-run hitter was a difference maker. He and Travis d’Arnaud each homered to lead the attack against Jon Lester, and Curtis Granderson drove in two runs for the Mets, who won a second straight opener in this postseason.
Harvey focused on his secondary pitches, in which he allowed two earned runs on four hits with two walks on nine strikeouts before Harvey handed off to Jeurys Familia, who took it to the finish.
“[Harvey’s] change-up was outstanding early,” manager Terry Collins said. “He threw some curve balls, good curve balls early. On a night like this you’re not going to have your real good fastball. The weather just isn’t conducive to it.”
The approach appeared to fluster the Cubs.
Chicago hit several line drives that were turned into outs, including one that prompted Harvey to duck quickly out of the way and another that struck the pitcher near the shoulder.
Harvey threw to first for the out and immediately waved off Mets trainer Ray Ramirez, who came out to check anyway with Collins before they left Harvey on the mound.
It was his game, indeed.
“The ball kind of dented my arm a little bit. Got me right in the triceps,” Harvey said. “It’s a little bit swollen right now, but the training staff will take care of that.”
In 1986, they easily won the division with a record of 108-54, one of the best in National League history. They won a dramatic NLCS in six games over the Houston Astros. Then went on to win their second World Series title on the Boston Red Sox. The Mets continued playing well after 1986 and won the division in 1988, but were eliminated from the playoffs that year and declined into the 1990s. In 2000, they easily clinched a wild-card spot in the playoffs, and earned a trip to the 2000 World Series against their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees for a “Subway Series”. The Mets were defeated by the Yankees in five games.
On April 23, 2015 the Mets tied a franchise season record of eleven straight wins. For the first time in its history the Mets won ten straight homestand games, becoming the 7th team since 1900 to win at least 10 straight homestand games. On September 26, 2015, the Mets clinched the NL East division title, and thus their first postseason berth since 2006, by defeating the Cincinnati Reds 10-2.
The New York Mets lived on the edge for all 27 outs of their Game 5 National League Division Series match-up against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and lived to tell about it. Now they’re in the National League Championship Series after an edge-of-your-seat, 3-2 victory Thursday night and three wins away from earning another trip to the World Series and they have Gotham excited about it.