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After last night’s 6-3 win over the New York Mets, the Chicago Cubs became just the fourth team this year to sweep the potential World Series contenders. In the process, however, the Cubs became the first team in history to do something that no other team has done, according to both Stats by STATS and ESPN:

Coming into this series, it was obvious the Cubs were not the overall favorite to take the series, let alone win all three games. But after sweeping a series that involved taking down right-hander Chris Bassitt, and arguably the greatest pitcher in baseball for the past few years in Jacob deGrom, there’s a lot to be excited about for the Cubs. Let’s look at some of the positive notes of the successful series from the Cubs.

Cubs Starters Continue to Produce Quality Innings

The starting pitching was the focal point of the series for the Cubs. All three starters pitched at least 5.0 innings and gave up no more than one run, and it started with rookie hurler Javier Assad on Monday night. In 6.0 innings, Assad gave up only five hits and one run, with six strikeouts and just three walks. The outing for Assad was his longest outing of the year so far, and it was encouraging to see manager David Ross leave him in the game for as long as he did.

Right-hander Adrian Sampson continued the trend on Tuesday night earning the win for the Cubs in beautiful fashion. In 6.0 innings, Sampson gave up just just hits while striking out three and walking four. It was arguably his best outing of the season considering the Cubs were on the road facing a very good Mets lineup. 

Veteran lefty Drew Smyly capped off the series sweep doing exactly what he’s done all year long: threw quality innings. In 5.0 innings, Smyly gave up just one run while striking out five and walking only one. Smyly talked to Bill Landson of MLB.com after the game about the series.

“That was an awesome series for the Cubs,” Smyly said. “Everyone played well. It shows how much young talent that we have—a lot of guys that are capable. At this point of our season, it’s about showing how consistent we can be.”

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Smyly has shown his consistency all season long. In 103.1 innings pitched this year Smyly has pitched to the tune of a 3.48 ERA with 89 strikeouts, 26 walks, and a 1.190 WHIP. In 12 of 21 starts this season he’s thrown at least five innings and has just one start where he’s given up more than two walks. It’s safe to say that Smyly has pitched his way into a potential multi-year deal this offseason, and hopefully the Cubs are willing to make him an offer.

Cubs Offense Comes Up Clutch

Another theme to the Cubs’ series sweep of the Mets was clutch at-bats in clutch situations, which started on Monday. Lefty utility man Zach McKinstry came into this series swinging a hot bat, including a four-hit performance on Sunday night. In the opening game against the Mets, McKinstry showed off his hot bat once again, hitting a two-run homer in the third inning off Bassitt. He finished the game going 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI, and a run scored. He also showed off his versatility this series playing solid defense at shortstop in Tuesday’s game.

All-Star outfielder Ian Happ continued the clutch offense production on Tuesday, crushing a solo home run in the second inning off deGrom. The home run was the 17th of the season for Happ and seemed to fire up the Cubs’ offense as they went on to score two more runs off the Mets’ ace and ended up winning 4-1.

Happ has continued to be a consistent offensive threat for the Cubs and make his case for an extension this offseason. Since the All-Star break, Happ has continued his All-Star season posting a .269/.310/.788 slash line with eight home runs, 15 doubles, 24 RBI, and 10 walks. For the season he has an .801 OPS with 17 homers, 66 RBI, and a .272 batting average.

Wednesday night’s matchup was the icing on the cake for the Cubs’ offense. In the first inning Cubs hitters batted around in the lineup, chasing Mets’ lefty starter David Peterson out of the game after recording just one out. Yan Gomes, P.J. Higgins, and outfielder Michael Hermosillo all contributed with RBI doubles in the first, as well as Nelson Velazquez who hit an RBI single. The Cubs would fail to score anymore runs after that, but the offensive explosion in the first inning proved to be a punch to the gut for the Mets and Cubs pitching took care of the rest.

If Cubs hitters can continue to produce quality at-bats in clutch situations, don’t be surprised to play playoff spoilers for teams that are trying to crawl their way into a playoff spot in October.

What’s Next for the Cubs?

The Cubs have an off day on Thursday and then host the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field starting on Friday at 1:20 p.m. CDT. Right-hander Marcus Stroman will take the ball for the North Siders and will face German Marquez. Good news, Adbert Alzolay returns for the first time in 2022 this weekend