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Series Preview: Cubs at Mets, June 12 – June 14, 2017

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Thankfully, the Cubs salvaged their recent homestand with a win yesterday, though it marked an overall series loss to the Rockies.

The Chicago Cubs will now turn their attention to the New York Mets for the start of a six-game road trip. Following this three gamer, they’ll stick on the East coast for three more against the Pirates, before coming home for three more against the Padres.

There are still three off days before the All-Star Break, but we’re really inching closer to that point in the season. Hopefully, the Cubs can finish strong, make some moves in July and start to seal up the weak NL Central. Wouldn’t it be nice?


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We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (31-31) dropped three of four to the Rockies on the heels of series wins against the Cardinals (sweep) and Marlins (2-1). When you put it that way, it doesn’t sound as bad as it felt. And hey, since the Cubs now only perform in streaks, it is not possible for them to lose, say, the first two games of this series, right?

The New York Mets (28-33), like the Cubs, are in second place in their division, but stand an already-almost-but-not-quite-insurmountable 9.5 games out. Although it’s been a disappointing, injury-filled year overall so far, the Mets did just take 3 of 4 from the Braves, and have won 4 of their last 5. So, warm-ish?

Location: Citi Field

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, June 12 at 6:10 CT on CSN-C, 670 The Score
  • Tuesday, June 13 at 6:10 CT on ABC-7, 670 The Score
  • Wednesday, June 14 at 6:10 CT on CSN-C, 670 The Score

Expected Starters and Lineups

These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what gets fielded, but you’ll want to check each day’s Lineup or Pre-Gamin’ post for the actual lineup.


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Chicago Cubs

Starters:

  • John Lackey (5.12 ERA, 5.05 FIP, 4.03 xFIP; 3.43 K/BB)
  • Jon Lester (4.13 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 3.69 xFIP; 2.81 K/BB)
  • Mike Montgomery (2.43 ERA, 4.06 FIP, 4.41 xFIP; 1.35 K/BB)

Approximate Lineup:

  1. Ian Happ, CF
  2. Kris Bryant, 3B
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Ben Zobrist, 2B
  5. Jason Heyward, RF
  6. Willson Contreras, C
  7. Javy Baez/Addison Russell, SS
  8. Pitcher
  9. Kyle Schwarber, LF

New York Mets

Starters:

  • Jacob deGrom (4.75 ERA, 3.95 FIP, 3.24 xFIP; 3.13 K/BB)
  • Zack Wheeler (3.45 ERA, 3.90 FIP, 4.08 xFIP; 2.15 K/BB)
  • Matt Harvey (5.02 ERA, 5.84 FIP, 5.06 xFIP; 1.44 K/BB)

Approximate Lineup:

  1. Michael Conforto, LF
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  3. Jay Bruce, RF
  4. Neil Walker, 2B
  5. Lucas Duda, 1B
  6. Wilmer Flores, 3B
  7. Curtis Granderson, CF
  8. Travis d’Arnaud, C
  9. Pitcher

Note: Yoenis Cespedes is expected back in this series, though it’s not entirely clear where he’ll hit or play.

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Chicago Cubs – Pitching

John Lackey has allowed 40 earned runs this season, and 10 – a full quarter of them – have come in the first inning (7.50 ERA). Stop that. Because after the first inning, Lackey has consistently settled into some really nice starts (again, if you could ignore the first inning, which you can’t, because it turns out that the first inning also counts). Five of the 16 homers Lackey has allowed this year have also come in the first inning.

Justin Grimm came back on a mission. Since he return from the minor leagues in late May, he’s struck out 11 and walked just 2 in 6.0 innings, while allowing bupkis.

Chicago Cubs – Offense

Kris Bryant is so quietly, consistently good that even when he goes through a stretch where I think in my head, “Hmm, feels like Kris Bryant hasn’t done a lot lately,” I’m almost always dead wrong: since the start of the Marlins series, he’s hit .273/.484/.591.

Besides Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs have just one regular with a wRC+ above 100 at this point. It’s Ian Happ (105), whose line since his initial blistering hot first 10 days is just .130/.230/.315 (45 wRC+).


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New York Mets – Pitching

There was a time not so long ago when staring down the barrel of a deGrom-Wheeler-Harvey series would have been terrifying. But a string of injuries have derailed each of the trio to differing extents over the past few years (also Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz), and each is now but a husk of the pitcher/potential he once was.

… which naturally means each will have the bounceback start of his career against the Cubs.

New York Mets – Offense

The team gets a big boost with Yoenis Cespedes finally returning to the starting lineup today. When he’s been able to play this year, he’s done serious damage (.275/.370/.638), but he’s managed just 81 plate appearances.

In the meantime, Cespedes’ absence opened the door for consistent, regular playing time for youngster Michael Conforto, who’s posted a .293/.412/.592 line, and emerged as the offensive force he was envisioned to be when there was a debate at this time in 2014 about whether his or Kyle Schwarber’s was the surest college bat in the draft.


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor of Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.

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