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No Place Like Home

Steven Matz [1] pitched well on Sunday afternoon, showing no signs of any woes from an injured finger.

This concludes the good-news portion of the recap.

Everything else was trash, and familiar trash at that: bad defense, zero offense, a certain fatal sleepiness. The Cubs beat the Mets [2], 2-0, completing a four-game sweep in which they never seemed seriously threatened.

The game turned on two plays at home plate, a locale the Mets never glimpsed during their cameos as baserunners.

The first came in the seventh. Javier Baez [3] singled but looked gimpy at first, to put it mildly. Baez looked like he’d need a limb amputated, and was just remaining in the game out of doggedness. This was eyewash: Baez managed to reach third on a single by Willson Contreras [4], then took an enormous lead off third as Matz — apparently wearing blinders — tried to keep Contreras close. As Matz turned towards first, Baez jetted home. Adrian Gonzalez [5] took the pickoff and threw home, but it was far too late. 1-0 Cubs.

That lone run was enough to beat Matz, but the Cubs weren’t done. With one out and runners again on the corners, Ben Zobrist [6] spun a little pop fly behind second, drifting towards right. As Luis Guillorme [7] twisted and backpedaled, Jay Bruce [8] passed up a far easier path to the ball, regarding it as if he was a signatory to a nonaggression pact. Guillorme made the play — he makes most plays — but was in no position to throw to anyone except the ballboy, last seen doing more for the 2018 Mets than Jose Reyes [9]. Contreras trotted home and the Cubs had an unnecessary insurance run.

That was it. A Cubs team doing everything right, a Mets team doing enough wrong, a loss, a sweep, a once-promising season grinding deeper into the dust. Something has to change, but there’s precious little indication that it will.