Series Preview: Mets v. Cubs, June 3 – June 5, 2014

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Series Preview: Mets v. Cubs, June 3 – June 5, 2014

Chicago Cubs

new york mets oldThe Cubs head home after a road trip that went quickly from promising to ugly. It’s the start of the 1940s homestand, which should bring the Cubs good luck: that’s the decade of the last time the team went to the World Series!

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs have lost seven of eleven if you go back to a game before the start of that road trip (remember that extra-innings loss to the Yankees at Wrigley? woof). At 20-34, the Cubs are a couple games clear of all other teams for the worst record in baseball. In recent years past, it didn’t seem plausible to think about the Cubs finishing the year with the worst record, because Astros. Now? The Astros have some of their young talent up and ready to roll, so it’s actually possible.

The Mets are a game under .500, but just 3.5 out in the middling NL East. They just had the privilege of beating up on the Diamondbacks, Pirates, and Phillies, going seven and four in those eleven games.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Tuesday, June 3 at 7:05 CT on CSN.
  • Wednesday, June 4 at 7:05 CT on WGN.
  • Thursday, June 5 at 6:05 CT on CSN.

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: Jake Arrieta (3.20 ERA, 2.71 FIP; 2.60 K/BB), Edwin Jackson (4.81 ERA, 3.24 FIP; 2.54 K/BB), Travis Wood (5.15 ERA, 3.84 FIP; 2.76 K/BB)

Lineup (with obvious rotations in place):

  1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF
  2. Junior Lake, LF
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Starlin Castro, SS
  5. Nate Schierholtz, RF
  6. Luis Valbuena, 2B
  7. Welington Castillo, C
  8. Mike Olt, 3B
  9. Pitcher


Starters: Zack Wheeler (4.31 ERA, 3.52 FIP; 2.30 K/BB), Daisuke Matsuzaka (2.45 ERA, 3.68 FIP; 1.60 K/BB), Jacob deGrom (2.42 ERA, 4.53 FIP; 2.08 K/BB)


  1. Matt den Dekker, CF
  2. Daniel Murphy, 2B
  3. David Wright, 3B
  4. Curtis Granderson, LF
  5. Bobby Abreu, RF
  6. Lucas Duda, 1B
  7. Ruben Tejada, SS
  8. Travis d’Arnaud, C
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Edwin Jackson was fantastic last time out, though he was bombed the time before. I suspect folks will remember only that bombing, even though it happened to Travis Wood and Jeff Samardzija their last time, too. (Incidentally, his game against Daisuke Matsuzaka is going to be the longest game of the year – they are two of the slowest workers in baseball.)

Brian Schlitter has a 489 wRC+ and an .892 wOBA. But seriously: he’s sporting a 2.22 ERA over his 24.1 innings at the big league level this year, which is fantastic. He’s got a mere 4.07 K/9, however … so how’s he doing it? Well, he’s not walking anyone (6.4%), he’s getting a TON of groundballs (603%), and he’s not giving up homers (just one). He’s helped by his extreme and unsustainable .173 BABIP, but his LOB% is not absurdly high, like you might expect (76.5%). So, the obvious question: can he keep this up? No, probably not to this extent. But if he’s become a groundball guy who pounds the zone, he might be a pretty useful middle reliever for several years.

Emilio Bonifacio, if you slice out his first eight games this year: .218/.265/.294.

The Cubs might face three players – THREE! – in this series whose last name starts with a lowercase “d.” That’s whacky, yo. The Mets clearly believe they’ve found the next market inefficiency.

Bobby Abreu – yes, that 40-year-old Bobby Abreu – is hitting 315/.397/.500 in limited duty so far this year with the Mets. That actually makes him the team’s best hitter.

Not the team’s best hitter? Big money free agent signing Curtis Granderson, who’s gone just .200/.316/.344. On a two-year, low-risk deal, I could see the merit in Granderson. When he got four years and $60 million, I expressed some derision. Just sayin’.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.