wrigley stands crowdLast year, the Cubs beat the Mets seven times in a row throughout the season, before dropping four straight in the playoffs and four more earlier this season.

Let’s go back to the 2015 thing, eh?

Tonight will be a match-up between a couple of tough lefties, with Jon Lester going for the Cubs and Steven Matz stepping up for the Mets. Lester had a brilliant month of June (winning NL Pitcher of the Month, in fact), before two terrible starts in July. Hopefully, he can return to his winning ways quickly.

Returning from the disabled list to catch Lester is the veteran David Ross. His presence behind the plate has pushed Willson Contreras out to left field, but not out of the lineup. He’ll still hit fourth, just behind Anthony Rizzo. That’s quite a statement in this lineup.

Opposing Lester is fellow-lefty Steven Matz. Matz, 25, has had a pretty good sophomore season (3.38 ERA), after an injured shortened rookie campaign in 2015, and the potential for even more remains. Matz does feature a reverse split for his Major League career, pitching a bit better against righties (.291) than lefties (.305). However, that difference isn’t too significant, and is also over a very limited sample size.

That said, the Cubs went with a righty heavy lineup in this one, with Javy Baez (the lefty crusher) leading off. Against lefties in 2016, Baez is slashing .353/.436/.603 with a .250 ISO and a 177 wRC+. Moreover, it seems he sees the ball much better against lefties (10.3% BB-rate, 16.7% strikeout rate) than righties (1.2% walk rate, 26.1% strikeout rate) overall. Ben Zobrist is getting a routine, perfectly healthy, second-day-in-a-row off to rest, after not getting a rest over the All-Star break (because he was an All-Star!).



Game Info

Chicago Cubs (55-36) at New York Mets (49-42), 6:05 CT on WPWR, ESPN (out-of-market only), 670 The Score.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Your game thread is down there in the comments, so have fun. But keep it “safe for work” type fun, all right?

The Series Preview lives hereThe Lineup Discussion lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Cubs: Jon Lester (L): 3.01 ERA, 3.95 FIP, 3.57 xFIP; 3.86 K/BB

versus

Mets: Steven Matz (L): 3.38 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 3.44 xFIP; 3.91 K/BB



New York Mets Lineup:

1. Jose Reyes, 3B

2. Curtis Granderson, RF

3. Yoenis Cespedes, LF

4. Neil Walker, 2B

5. Wilmer Flores, 1B

6. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS

7. Juan Lagares, CF

8. Travis d’Arnaud, C

9. Steven Matz, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup:

1. Javy Baez, 2B

2. Kris Bryant, 3B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Willson Contreras, LF

5. Addison Russell, SS

6. Matt Szczur, RF

7. Albert Almora Jr., CF

8. David Ross, C

9. Jon Lester, P




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