Try Really Hard to Win the First Two, Because deGrom Awaits: Mets at Cubs, April 20-22, 2021

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Try Really Hard to Win the First Two, Because deGrom Awaits: Mets at Cubs, April 20-22, 2021

Chicago Cubs

Just when it looked like the Cubs offense might actually be waking uphey, they had 10 hits, five for extra bases, and 3 walks in their series finale against the Braves on Sunday (and that was after their 13-run explosion on Saturday) — Chicago runs into the New York Mets – the second best run prevention team in MLB.

And, yes, as of now, Jacob deGrom will pitch in this series.

With that in mind, the Cubs should REALLY try to win at least one of these first two games, because deGrom will be such a uniquely perfect challenge for this offense in the series finale. Er, well, and every other team he faces these days. I don’t know what “really trying” to win a game looks like in April, but maybe David Ross can more aggressively deploy his bullpen in the first two games.

After this three-gamer, the Cubs will host the Milwaukee Brewers again, before heading out on the road to rematch the Braves and face the Reds. And then it’s the Dodgers … sigh. This is a tough bit of schedule for a team already scuffling.

We’re Going Streaking

The New York Mets (7-4) have played just 11 games so far this season, but they’ve won seven and find themselves in first place of the NL East. The Chicago Cubs (6-9) by contrast, are in the basement of the NL Central, behind even the Pirates. Of course, they’re just three games out of first, so it’s hardly an insurmountable climb in April. There’s a lot of baseball left.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

•   Tuesday, April 20th at 6:40 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
•   Wednesday, April 21st at 6:40 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
•   Thursday, April 22nd at 6:40 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Taijuan Walker (R) vs. Jake Arrieta (R)
Game 2: David Peterson (L) vs. Zach Davies (R)
Game 3: Jacob deGrom (R) vs. Trevor Williams (R)

Chicago Cubs

•   C – Willson Contreras
•   1B – Anthony Rizzo
•   2B – David Bote
•   3B – Kris Bryant
•   SS – Javy Baez
•   LF – Joc Pederson
•   CF – Ian Happ
•   RF – Jason Heyward

Unavailable: Jonathan Holder, Tyson Miller, Rowan Wick

New York Mets

•   C – James McCann
•   1B – Pete Alonso
•   2B – Jeff McCeil
•   3B – J.D. Davis
•   SS – Francisco Lindor
•   LF – Dominic Smith
•   CF – Brandon Nimmo
•   RF – Michael Conforto

Unavailable: Jose Martinez, Dellin Betances, Seth Lugo, Carlos Carrasco

By the Numbers:

Keep An Eye Out For …

Did the Cubs Offense Wake Up? We took an intimate look at each of the Cubs individual offensive performances yesterday, so I don’t want to spend too much time digging in on any one player, but I do think it’s fair to point out how much better things have looked here lately. In fact, over the past week (Monday-Monday), the Cubs (109 wRC+) were the 7th best offense in MLB, and fourth best in the NL. I mean … that isn’t not progress.

DeGrom Time. Jacob deGrom is *averaging* 98.7 MPH on his fastball this season. He’s got a 48.7% strikeout rate and a 4.2% walk rate. He’s allowed just one earned run through his first 20 innings pitched. He’s basically everything this Cubs offense is unprepared to handle and you just have to play these first two games as if Thursday is already a loss.

Keeping the Streaks Alive. Ian Happ has reached base safely in every game he’s started this season, Willson Contreras is working on an eight-game hitting streak, and Anthony Rizzo has a five-game hitting streak with three multi-hit games 9 hits (4 for extra bases) overall. Keep it going, gents.


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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami