Lester was outdueled by Matt Harvey as the Mets right-hander allowed only two runs in 7.2 innings while fanning nine and surrendering only four hits in New York’s 4-2 win in Game 1. “I wanted to put to rest the talk that has been surrounding me over the last month or so,” Harvey said regarding his pitch count and number of innings pitched following his Tommy John surgery that shelved him for the 2014 season. “I felt strong. I had good command of all my pitches and I wanted to go deep into the game.”
Harvey’s solid outing brought his season total of innings pitched to 202 and he looked as good as he has all year, which will bode well for manager Terry Collins and the Mets to have a reenergized Harvey in New York's rotation for the remainder of the postseason.
In Game 2 of the series, right-handed flame thrower Noah Syndergaard took center stage among rookies by going 5.2 innings and allowing only one run and striking out nine batters in the Mets’ 4-1 victory—holding opposing first-year Cubs players to a 2-for-8 performance with five strikeouts. Syndergaard fanned Kyle Schwarber all three times he faced him and Javier Baez in both of his at-bats. Kris Bryant was the only Chicago rookie who had success against the hard throwing righty (known to Mets fans as Thor) by going 2-for-3 with an RBI double.
Syndergaard suffered his first big league loss to the Cubs last May 12 when Chicago collected six hits, four walks and three runs while going down on strike six times. But Syndergaard is not the same pitcher he was in his debut five months ago.
“We made a lot of improvements,” he said since his first major league start. “We implemented a secondary changeup grip, which has allowed huge strides for my career. My mechanics are completely different. My mentality is a lot different. I have a lot more confidence in myself and getting myself out of certain situations.”
Syndergaard didn't allow the Cubs many scoring opportunities in Game 2 of the N.L. Championship Series and his dominance gave New York a two games to none lead before they head to Wrigley Field for the middle three games of the best-of-seven match.
The Mets are in the driver’s seat and are anticipating another strong outing from their most consistent starter during the regular season in Jacob deGrom. Good news for the Mets, bad news for the Cubs.