Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

new york mets oldIt has been 108 days since the Cubs and Mets last squared off, and much has changed for the Mets since falling to the Cubs 6-1 on July 2, which completed a clean season series sweep of the Mets.

Those Mets were going through some lean times in early July. The Cubs’ three-game sweep ended a 14-game stretch in which the Mets had lost 10 of 14, thanks in part to a sputtering offense that slashed .175/.246/.270/.516 over the course of 502 plate appearances.

Through July 2, those Mets were 40-40 with an offense that averaged 3.46 runs per game while riding a .232/.296/.358/.654 slash line along the way.

Those Mets aren’t these Mets, though.

These Mets are much improved in part to deals that brought a superstar offensive force (Yoenis Cespedes) and veteran role players (Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe), plus the additions from the disabled list (David Wright) and the farm system (Michael Conforto).

Since July 3, the Mets are 50-32. Their offense showed significant improvement with a slash line of .256/.326/.439/.765 as it improved its scoring output to an average of 4.95 runs per game.

Here is a look at some of the key cogs in the Mets line-up since the last time they saw the Cubs:

  • Curtis Granderson: Slashed .263/.377/.478 with 13 homers, 20 doubles and a 14.6 percent walk rate to spark the offense from a lead-off spot.

  • David Wright: Since returning from the DL on August 24, Wright has slashed .277/.381/.437 with a 14.4 percent walk rate, .361 wOBA and 135 wRC+.
  • Daniel Murphy: The NLDS hero hit .278 with a wRC+ of 112 starting on July 3 in what is the final year of his Mets contract.
  • Yoenis Cespedes: His .604 slugging percentage is the most eye-opening stat of anyone in the Mets line-up. He owns a .394 wOBA since joining the team at the trade deadline.
  • Lucas Duda: Hasn’t hit for average (.232), but owns a .342 OBP and a 13.2 BB% to go along with 17 home runs and a 146 wRC+.

  • Travis d’Arnaud: Slashed .256/.340/.464 with a .349 wOBA and 10.5 BB% while catching the Mets’ dynamic arms.
  • Michael Conforto: Called up on July 24 (in part because of Kyle Schwarber’s rookie success?) Conforto has slashed .270/.335/.506 with a 134 wRC+.
  • Wilmer Flores: Believed to have almost been traded in a deal for Carlos Gomez, Flores has slashed .300/.330/.430 in 227 PA since July 3.

Nothing represents the change in the Mets offense like seeing four regulars with a 10 percent walk rate or better since the lat time the teams had crossed paths.

The Mets offense owned a .235/.300/.363/.664 slash line entering their most recent series against the Cubs, which began on June 30. During the three-game set, the Mets collectively hit .150 and drew three walks in 105 plate appearances.

Those Mets aren’t stepping on to Citi Field this evening.

And that’s not to say the Cubs are the same team since the last time the two teams squared off. Starlin Castro has gone from the team’s starting shortstop, to reserve infielder, to starting second baseman. Dexter Fowler has a .378 OBP and 14.6 BB% in sparking the Cubs offense in the same way Granderson has done for the Mets. Jorge Soler looks like an entirely different player. Neither Kyle Schwarber, nor Javier Baez has a plate appearance against the Mets this season.

In fact, the last time Baez stepped foot in Citi Field, he did this:

A moment like this has been a long time coming for each of these clubs.

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