Cubs frustrated, not defeated, by bad breaks
Facing tough pitching, offense making good contact with little payoff
NEW YORK -- The Cubs' Chris Coghlan opened his eyes wide, put his hands on his helmet and stopped his scamper around the bases. His would-be home run had been reduced to just another flyout in the box score by Mets center fielder Curtis Granderson, whose leaping catch added to the growing list of well-struck Cubs outs.
In the wake of another quiet night for Chicago's offense during a 4-1 loss in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series at Citi Field on Sunday, Coghlan lamented his bad break on another night full of them. The Cubs headed home with an 0-2 series deficit.
"I saw him. He robbed me," Coghlan said. "That's probably my second or third time I've been robbed of a homer. Any time you hit a ball you think is a homer and they take it back, it sucks. Especially with the magnitude of it.
"That would have been huge, right after they score three [in the bottom of the first inning], to come back and chip away. But you have to tip your hat. When somebody makes a play like that, it's a huge momentum-shifter for them."
The Mets scored all the runs they needed against Jake Arrieta in the first inning, on David Wright's RBI double and Daniel Murphy's two-run home run. Thanks to Granderson's catch and the work of Mets starter Noah Syndergaard, the Cubs didn't find an answer until the sixth, when Kris Bryant knocked an RBI double.
It was one of five Cubs hits, and the only one for extra bases. Through the first two games of the best-of-seven series, Cubs batters are 10-for-63 with seven singles. Bryant and Dexter Fowler are the only players with multiple hits. Anthony Rizzo is 1-for-6. Kyle Schwarber is 1-for-8, the lone hit a booming solo home run in Game 1.
This is the same Cubs team that slugged 10 home runs in four games against the Cardinals in the NL Division Series, including six in Game 3. That came after the Cubs hit a pair of homers against the Pirates in the Wild Card Game.
It does not get easier in Game 3 on Tuesday (airing on TBS at 7:30 p.m. ET, with game time set for 8). The Mets are sending All-Star right-hander Jacob deGrom to the mound.
"I'd like [to think] 15 degrees more Fahrenheit might help a little bit," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said, a reference to Sunday's 45 degree first pitch. "That's something that would be kind of nice. I'm wishing for that. Beyond that, we have seen good pitching a lot this year. We've been able to beat good pitching a lot this year. Again, you just turn the page. …
"I won't have any kind of huge speeches. I'm not into that kind of stuff. Our hitting coaches do a wonderful job of preparing our hitters, and our hitters are good. Let's get back to Wrigley, get ready to play and see how it all turns out. But I really believe strongly in our players that we'll be able to rebound from this."
Said Schwarber: "We're going to stick with our game plan. We're confident in ourselves. We're not going to lose confidence in ourselves, and we're not going to panic. We haven't given up these last two nights. It's been a grind down to the last inning, to the last out. It's playoff baseball. This is what you're in for, and we're still going to be confident in ourselves."
His interview was interrupted by the "Rocky" theme blaring from the entrance to the visitor's clubhouse at Citi Field. Purportedly, Maddon was behind the musical motivation.
"We're not going to give up on ourselves," he said.