NEW YORK -- Jake Arrieta gave up unusually hard contact again Sunday, and his Game 3 performance against St. Louis in the NLDS no longer looks like a fluke. In that game, Arrieta gave up four runs. Against the New York Mets in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series, the Chicago Cubs' ace gave up four more, including three in the first inning, with Daniel Murphy once again doing the damage. Murphy homered with a man on, which energized a freezing crowd and helped the Mets to a lead en route to a 4-1 victory.
The Cubs did little on offense against Noah Syndergaard, who struck out nine over 5 2/3 innings. The Cubs struck out 10 times overall, which backs up the narrative that power pitching beats power hitting. The Cubs were beaten in all phases in Game 2, and they find themselves in a big hole as they head home.
Thumbs up: Kris Bryant broke out of a road slump with two hits and the Cubs' lone RBI. He is now 5-for-27 in the postseason.
Thumbs down: It’s rare to give a bad review of a Jake Arrieta performance, but his velocity was down and the crispness of his pitches wasn’t there, especially in the first inning. The Cubs expect so much from him, but in two postseason outings, Arrieta has given up eight runs. This one was more shocking, considering it came on a pitcher’s night, with temperatures in the mid-40s.
Kyle Schwarber had a rare off-night at the plate, where he struck out three times.
What’s next: The Cubs return to Chicago to lick their wounds and regroup before Game 3 on Tuesday at Wrigley Field. Only one team has come back from a 3-0 deficit, which makes the next contest nearly a must-win. Kyle Hendricks will take the mound, but more important than the starting pitchers might be the climate. The forecast calls for much warmer temperatures -- the sort that helped with nine home runs hit by the Cubs in two games at home during the division series. After the Cubs were outplayed in all phases in Games 1 and 2, a change of scenery could be much needed.