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Playoff Gameday Thread, #13: Arrieta seeks to bear down

The Mets' ace, Matt Harvey having done his job last night, staking his team to a lead, today sees whether the Cubs' ace, Arrieta, can do the same and take the series back to Chicago all level.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
5:07pm, TBS. Game 2: Mets lead 1-0
Jake Arrieta
RHP, 22-6, 1.77
Noah Syndergaard
RHP, 9-7, 3.24
Dexter Fowler - CF Curtis Granderson - RF
Kyle Schwarber - LF David Wright - 3B
Kris Bryant - 3B Daniel Murphy - 2B
Anthony Rizzo - 1B Yoenis Cespedes - CF
Starlin Castro - 2B Lucas Duda - 1B
Chris Coghlan - RF Travis d'Arnaud - C
Miguel Montero - C Michael Conforto - LF
Javier Baez - SS Wilmer Flores - SS
Jake Arrieta - RHP Noah Syndergaard - RHP

If anyone can square up things, Arrieta can: while Dallas Keuchel's performance at home for the Astros was remarkable, the road-work of the Cubs' starter has been perhaps even more phenomenal. He has one loss away from Wrigley this season, and that was back in the first week of May. Since then, he is unbeaten in 16 starts on the road, going 12-0 with a 1.18 ERA. One of those was eight innings of one-run ball against these Mets, so they have experienced Hurricane Arrieta's fury.

It's going to make for a very interesting Cy Young debate this winter. In any normal season, Arrieta, Zack Greinke or Clayton Kershaw would all be perfectly decent winners. But the voters will have to pick from the three; it's the first time since 1977, there have been three pitcher in the National League worth 7.5 bWAR or better. Personally, you could make a case for any of them, and it depends to some extent on how you weight the various metrics:

  • ERA: Greinke, Arrieta, Kershaw
  • Wins: Arrieta, Greinke, Kershaw
  • FIP: Kershaw, Arrieta, Greinke
  • bWAR: Grienke, Arrieta, Kershaw
  • fWAR: Kershaw, Arrieta, Greinke

Using those five, admittedly arbitrary, categories and a 3-2-1 points system for the trio's rankings, Greinke gets 10 points, Arrieta 11 and Kershaw 9. So, yeah: find yourself a three-sided coin and flip it, you'll not find me arguing.

That's who the Mets are going to have to face, but Syndergaard isn't exactly chopped liver, though he will be going on short rest, having thrown an inning of relief in the clinching game of the Division Series against the Dodgers. He actually debuted earlier this year against the Cubs, and it didn't go too well, but he has clearly blossomed since then. Over his first eight starts, his ERA was north of four, but in his final 16 during the regular season, that was slashed by more than a run, to 2.91, with a K:BB ratio of 118:21 in 105.1 innings of work. If the Mets prevail, beating the Cubs' ace, it'll be a long flight back to Chicago for the visiting team.