“The Cubs are in the throes of a slump, especially on the pitching side and on the whiffing-at-the-plate side. I doubt the Mets are going to make that second one much better … ”
Does that still fit? That’s actually how the intro started the last time these two teams played. It was a four-game set at Wrigley, and the Cubs were coming off a really, really bad series in Milwaukee. To our pleasant surprise, the Cubs swept the Mets.
Can the Mets be the Cubs’ salve again?
We’re Going Streaking
The Cubs just got savaged in St. Louis, losing all three games there, and also dropped the final two games they played against the Dodgers before that. These are dark times, though it’s all relative – the Cubs are still four games over .500.
The Mets, on the other hands, have won five games in a row after a relatively poor stretch. Of course, those wins came over the Reds and Brewers (the Dodgers and Cardinals they ain’t), but they all count. The Mets are three games over .500, and 2.5 games behind the Nationals in the East (must be nice).
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Tuesday, June 30 at 6:10 CT on CSN, ESPN.
- Wednesday, July 1 at 6:10 CT on WGN-9.
- Thursday, July 2 at 12:10 CT on WGN-9.
Expected Starters and Lineups
These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded, but you’ll want to check each day’s Pre-Gamin’ post for the actual lineup.
Starters: Kyle Hendricks (4.46 ERA, 3.71 FIP; 4.20 K/BB), Jon Lester (4.03 ERA, 3.57 FIP; 3.19 K/BB), Jake Arrieta (2.94 ERA, 2.82 FIP; 4.48 K/BB)
- Dexter Fowler(?), CF
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Miguel Montero, C
- Starlin Castro, SS
- Chris Coghlan, LF
- Chris Denorfia, RF
- Addison Russell, 2B
Starters: Jon Niese (4.12 ERA, 4.39 FIP; 2.15 K/BB), Bartolo Colon (4.89 ERA, 3.89 FIP; 7.10 K/BB), Jacob deGrom (2.15 ERA, 2.61 FIP; 5.56 K/BB)
- Curtis Granderson, RF
- Ruben Tejada, 3B
- Lucas Duda, 1B
- Michael Cuddyer, LF
- Wilmer Flores, SS
- Juan Lagares, CF
- Kevin Plawecki, C
- Dilson Herrera, 2B
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
The Cubs have just 4(!) hits in their last 43 at bats with runners in scoring position. My guess is that trend doesn’t continue in this series. Unless it does.
Kris Bryant is hitting just .189/.254/.396 over the last two weeks, and his strikeout rate crept up to 32.2% in that stretch. We know he wasn’t feeling well for part of it, so hopefully he’s been resting up and is ready to go in this series.
Through nearly a half-season, Starlin Castro’s offensive performance this year – .260/.292/.338 – is actually worse than his nightmarish 2013 season (69 wRC+ versus 72).
The Mets don’t really have any bad starting pitching in their now six-man rotation, but the Cubs do catch a break – the three they miss are Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz. That’s fortuitous.
Also fortuitous? We will probably get to see Bartolo Colon bat, assuming the Cubs don’t knock him out too quickly.
That deGrom/Arrieta matchup sure looks like fun, eh?
Curtis Granderson (.259/.357/.445) and Lucas Duda (.259/.364/.447) are hitting well this year. Thus ends the list of the Mets’ healthy, above-average bats. If you let those two beat you, a pox on your house.