- Associated Press - Sunday, October 18, 2015

The latest on the League Championship Series. The Mets and Cubs are playing Game 2 of the NLCS in New York. The Royals and Blue Jays play Game 3 of the ALCS in Toronto on Monday night. Here’s a look at what’s happening (all times EDT):


10:15 p.m.

That’s it for Noah Syndergaard after 101 pitches in 5 2-3 impressive innings.

The hard-throwing rookie nicknamed Thor was pulled by Mets manager Terry Collins after Kris Bryant’s run-scoring double off the left-field wall trimmed Chicago’s deficit to 4-1 in the sixth.

Jonathon Niese, a starter now working out of the New York bullpen, pounded his hand into his glove and pointed to the sky after striking out Anthony Rizzo with a 93 mph fastball to end the inning.


9:55 p.m.

Cubs ace Jake Arrieta is done for the night.

Arrieta was lifted for a pinch hitter to start the sixth inning with Chicago trailing 4-0. He threw 94 pitches and gave up four runs on four hits in five innings. The right-hander struck out eight and walked two, one intentional.

After his sensational finish to the season and five-hit shutout at Pittsburgh in the NL wild-card game, that’s two consecutive starts now that Arrieta has been hittable.

The 22-game winner gave up four runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-6 victory over St. Louis in Game 3 of the Division Series.


9:50 p.m.

Noah Syndergaard looks perfectly fresh after making his first career relief appearance for the Mets in Game 5 of their Division Series at Dodger Stadium on Thursday night.

Three days later, Syndergaard has cruised through five innings of one-hit ball with eight strikeouts against the Cubs. New York leads 4-0.


9:18 p.m.

Curtis Granderson robbed the Cubs of a homer and then stole a run for the Mets.

The leadoff man drew a walk from Jake Arrieta to start the bottom of the third inning, then stole second and third before scoring on Yoenis Cespedes’ infield single. That gave New York a 4-0 lead in Game 2.

The Mets, who don’t have much team speed, have stolen third base three times in seven playoff games after doing it five times during the entire regular season, according to STATS.


8:42 p.m.

Curtis Granderson makes a leaping catch just in front of the right-field fence to take away a home run from Chris Coghlan, and everything is going the Mets’ way at charged-up Citi Field.

Trying to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, New York leads 3-0 in the second inning against Jake Arrieta and the Cubs.

Arrieta is pitching in short sleeves on a cold night. The game-time temperature was 45 degrees, with an 18 mph wind. Several players wore ski masks under their caps in an attempt to stay warm.

Mets rookie Noah Syndergaard is wearing long sleeves and throwing 98-99 mph heat. He has six strikeouts through the first three innings.


8:35 p.m.

Including the postseason, Cubs ace Jake Arrieta had gone 25 straight starts (since May 29 against Kansas City) without allowing a run in the first inning, STATS said.

It was only the second time the right-hander gave up at least three runs in the first. The other game also was versus the Royals, on July 30, 2010, STATS said.


8:30 p.m.

Daniel Murphy is on some kind of postseason tear.

It took 13 pitches for the Mets to build a 3-0 lead against Cubs ace Jake Arrieta in Game 2, capped by a two-run homer from Murphy that sent bundled-up fans at Citi Field into a jumping frenzy - almost in delighted disbelief at Murphy’s amazin’ power surge this October.

The second baseman became the first player since Tampa Bay slugger Evan Longoria in 2008 to homer in four consecutive postseason games.

Murphy’s five playoff homers are a Mets record for one postseason. In fact, they matched Mike Piazza’s output for the most CAREER postseason homers in franchise history. Murphy has accomplished that in all of seven games this month.

Murphy reached down and hooked Arrieta’s 1-2 curve into the right-field corner, finishing his swing with one hand and raising his fist as he rounded first base

The shot came two pitches after Murphy sent a long drive with home run-distance about 10 feet foul to right.

Fans chanted Murphy’s name, and he came out of the dugout for a curtain call.


8:28 p.m.

David Wright breaks out of a 1-for-19 postseason slump with a hit-and-run double that gives the Mets a first-inning lead.

After a leadoff single, Curtis Granderson was running on a 2-1 pitch when Wright sent a drive over the head of Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler. The ball bounced on the warning track and one-hopped the wall as Granderson scored easily.

With his team facing Cubs ace Jake Arrieta, it appears Mets manager Terry Collins wants to be aggressive early in the game and was looking for a way to help Wright out of his skid.

Calling a hit-and-run is a tactic some managers - including Collins - like to use when a slumping player is at the plate. The idea is it keeps the hitter focused on hitting the ball the other way and not trying to do too much other than make solid contact.

Certainly worked in this instance, and Collins is pushing all the right buttons this postseason.


7:20 p.m.

The bruised big apple at Citi Field got a temporary band-aid.

A day after being hit by Travis d’Arnaud’s long home run, the 4,800-pound faux fruit behind the center-field fence had two large, white strips in the shape of an “X” on top of it before Game 2 between the Cubs and Mets.

The playful bandage was visible during batting practice Sunday evening. It was pulled off before the Mets hosted the Cubs.

The apple got dinged by d’Arnaud’s 431-foot homer as New York won the opener 4-2.

The 16-foot-tall by 18-foot diameter red apple, which rises after Mets home runs, is much larger than the old Shea Stadium version, which was 9 feet high and weighed 582 pounds.

The old apple is now stationed near the home plate entrance of the new ballpark.


6:50 p.m.

Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to start for the Chicago Cubs in Game 3 of the NLCS against the New York Mets when the series shifts to Wrigley Field on Tuesday night.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon also says Jason Hammel will “more than likely” pitch Game 4 - depending on whether he’s used out of the bullpen before that.

“I’m still going to talk to him about it. If we need to use him between now and then, you still may see him utilized, but we might have to do something differently,” Maddon said. “If we don’t have to use Jason, it will be him.”

Hendricks was 8-7 with a 3.95 ERA this season. He made his postseason debut in Game 2 of the NLDS at St. Louis, yielding three solo homers in 4 2-3 innings of Chicago’s 6-3 victory. The right-hander struck out seven, walked none and knocked in a run with a safety squeeze.

Hendricks beat the Mets 1-0 at Citi Field on June 30 and has won both career starts against them, allowing one run in 13 innings.

Hammel started Game 4 at home against the Cardinals and was pulled after three-plus innings. The right-hander went 10-7 with a 3.74 ERA this season.


6:30 p.m.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon is starting Chris Coghlan in right field during Game 2 of the NLCS, hoping he can provide another big swing against Mets rookie starter Noah Syndergaard.

Coghlan hit a two-run homer off the hard-throwing Syndergaard when the New York pitcher made his major league debut on May 12 at Wrigley Field.

“A little bit of that,” Maddon said. “I just need to keep him solvent. I need to keep him out there a little bit.”

Syndergaard lost his debut 6-1 to Jake Arrieta, the Chicago starter Sunday night at Citi Field.

With a right-hander on the mound for the Mets, the lefty-swinging Coghlan replaces right-handed-hitting Jorge Soler in right field. Soler went 1 for 4 with an infield single and two strikeouts during Chicago’s 4-2 loss in Game 1. Coghlan flied out as a pinch hitter.

“Jorge will be back out there,” Maddon said. “But you ask these guys to pinch-hit or come off the bench or play, and if you don’t give them an opportunity to play, why would I expect a good result when you ask him to come off the bench?”


5:00 p.m.

Royals manager Ned Yost has chosen Chris Young over Kris Medlen as his starter for Game 4 of the ALCS.

Young has only made two starts since July 28, but they were good ones. He allowed one run in 11 1-3 innings over those two outings, with his final start coming Oct. 2.

“He’s got really good numbers against these guys,” Yost said. “They’re both great choices, but, you know, Chris Young, his last two starts of the year were really, really good for us. We feel like he gives us a good chance to win.”

The 6-foot-10 third round draft pick out of Princeton in 2000 appeared as a reliever in Game 1 of the ALDS, giving up a run in four innings. Overall, he was 11-6 in 34 appearances - 18 starts - this year.

Young faced the Blue Jays once this year, on July 11, a 7-5 loss. Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run shot and Young yielded five hits and three runs over six innings. But over his 11-year career, Young has held members of the Blue Jays to a .229 average (22 for 96) with two homers.

Medlen was 6-2 with a 4.01 ERA in 15 appearances - eight starts this year. He returned from Tommy John surgery on July 20 and hasn’t pitched since Oct. 1.


4:35 p.m.

Matt Harvey appears to be set to start for the Mets in Chicago on Thursday if the series reaches a Game 5.

Harvey joked after Saturday night’s opening 4-2 win that Dexter Fowler’s line drive “kind of dented my arm a little bit, got me right in the triceps.”

Mets manager Terry Collins said “there were some stitches on Harv’s arm last night, so he’ll be sore today” but also said Harvey did not arrive early at Citi Field on Sunday for treatment.

Harvey allowed two runs and four hits in 7 2/3 innings, struck out nine and walked two. He threw 97 pitches.

“We’ll see how he is with the bruise and how it’s going to affect him,” Collins said. “If you’re going to come back on four days’ rest, keeping his pitch count where it was, I think it will be fine for him.”


3:35 p.m.

The Blue Jays just took the field for their off-day workout after returning home from Kansas City down 2-0. After blowing a late lead in a tough 6-3 loss in Game 2, the team knows the challenge ahead: All but three of the previous 25 teams to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven era have won the series.

Toronto trailed 2-0 in the best-of-five ALDS and rallied to beat Texas.

“I’m not going to say it’s a position we’re comfortable being in, but we’ve been there and we’re going to try to go out and win games,” center fielder Kevin Pillar said. “That’s what we do.”


3:15 p.m.

The Yankees may be gone from the postseason, but Alex Rodriguez is sticking around.

Fox said Sunday it has hired A-Rod as a guest analyst for the remainder of the ALCS and the World Series. He is to start Monday, joining pregame and postgame shows that include Pete Rose, Frank Thomas and Raul Ibanez.

Rodriguez returned to the majors this year after serving a season-long suspension for violations of baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract.

He hit .250 with 33 homers and 86 RBIs, raising his home runs total to 687, behind only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).

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