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wrigley field inside featureI love me a Jake Arrieta start these days. I can’t entirely isolate it, but I think it has to do with the fact that he’s the one guy in the rotation who *could* emerge as a front-end long-term piece, but who hasn’t already showed what he can do. The latter excludes Travis Wood (we’re already fairly sure that he’s going to be a solid, medium-term mid-rotation guy), and the former excludes probably trade pieces Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. I guess you could make an argument for Edwin Jackson, but, since he’s a free agent signee on a big-ish contract, it doesn’t have the same feel.

The Cubs will be facing a quality young arm in Zack Wheeler, who’s still in the process of establishing himself in the bigs. You could kind of say that about Arrieta after all of these years, too, though he’s four years Wheeler’s senior. Let’s all watch to see how well Arrieta does at inducing weak, groundball contact early in the game.

John Baker slides into the regular catcher’s role with Welington Castillo out, and I have to wonder what the impact will be on the pitchers who usually go with Castillo behind the plate.

Game Info

New York Mets (28-29) at Chicago Cubs (20-34), 7:05 CT on CSN.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Game threads now live here in the comments – and with Disqus, they should be even more enjoyable.

The Series Preview lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Zack Wheeler (4.31 ERA, 3.52 FIP, 3.49 xFIP; 2.30 K/BB)

versus

Jake Arrieta (3.20 ERA, 2.71 FIP, 3.12 xFIP; 2.60 K/BB)

New York Mets Lineup

1. Matt den Dekker, CF

2. Daniel Murphy, 2B

3. David Wright, 3B

4. Curtis Granderson, LF

5. Chris Young, RF

6. Lucas Duda, 1B

7. Wilmer Flores, SS

8. Travis d’Arnaud, C

9. Zack Wheeler, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B

2. Junior Lake, CF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Starlin Castro, SS

5. Luis Valbuena, 3B

6. Nate Schierholtz, RF

7. Chris Coughlan, LF

8. John Baker, C

9. Jake Arrieta, P

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