On a night when Daniel Murphy hit another ho-hum homer, on a night when Steven Matz showed what he could do on a national stage, on a night David Wright has waited for since he was a raw rookie in 2004, the star was Lucas Duda. The Mets hung six runs on the board before the second inning was done, thanks to a Duda smash over the left-centerfield fence with Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes aboard. Travis d’Arnaud backed him up immediately, with a right field shot of his own. They scratched out another deuce in the second on a walk to Wright, a single by Murphy and a double by Duda. That’s five of the six runs driven in by Duda, if you’re scoring at home.
With that much breathing room, we could all settle in for six innings of anti-climax. Matz held the Cubs mostly in check. He was removed in favor of Bartolo Colon in the fifth. Manager Terry Collins, then went to his more-or-less “regular” bullpen configuration of Addison Reed in the seventh, Tyler Clippard in the eighth and Jeurys Familiar closing — and in the center of the dogpile. On the Cubs’ side, manager Joe Maddon apparently had decided early that he was going to use his pitchers as if it were spring training. So starter Jason Hammel quickly gave way to Travis Wood, who passed the ball to Clayton Richard, who was succeeded by Trevor Cahill, who was backed up by Pedro Strop, who yielded to Fernando Rodney, who was replaced by Hector Rondon. The Mets could do nothing against most of these guys, until Murphy’s requisite blast in the eighth inning with Wright on base. Gallant to the last, the Cubs answered with a smash of their own from Kris Bryant — who will be a pain in the butt for years to come. One area of concern is that Cespedes had to leave the game with what’s being termed “shoulder soreness.” Luckily, he’ll have until next Tuesday to heal.
That’s when the World Series begins.