Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets Preview, Tuesday 5/24, 7:05 CT: An Important Homestand

Manager Mike Quade of the Chicago Cubs: who or what is he pointing at, and what is he saying? Write your own caption. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Over the next nine days, the direction of the 2011 Chicago Cubs should become quite clear. The Mets, Pirates and Astros are all under .500 clubs, and so are the Cubs. The Astros have the worst record in the National League.

So if the Cubs are to make anything of this season, these are the teams they should be beating. They really ought to go at least 6-3 on this homestand. If they don't, then dismantling and rebuilding should begin.

In case you have not already heard, former No. 1 Cubs draft pick (2000) Lou Montanez has been recalled from Iowa for tonight's game. Matt Garza has been placed on the DL retroactive to May 17. To make room for Montanez on the 40 man roster, Brian Schlitter was moved to the 60 day DL. That's the bad news. The good news is that Randy Wells and Geovany Soto should be back on Saturday.

Cubs lineup:

Johnson cf, Barney 2b, Castro ss, Ramirez 3b, Pena 1b, Soriano lf, Montanez rf, Hill c, Dempster p

Mets lineup:

Reyes-SS, Murphy-1B, Beltran-RF, Bay-LF, Turner-3B, Harris-CF, Paulino-C, Tejada-2B, Niese-LHP
Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Cubs
vs. Jon Niese
Jon Niese
Mets
2-4 W-L 3-4
6.91 ERA 4.39
52 SO 39
21 BB 20
11 HR 6
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Ryan Dempster 2-4 10 10 0 0 0 0 56.0 67 44 43 11 21 52 6.91 1.57


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jon Niese 3-4 10 9 0 0 0 0 55.1 58 28 27 6 20 39 4.39 1.41

These two pitchers matched up at Wrigley Field on September 5, 2010. Do not be alarmed by the score of that game (18-5); Ryan Dempster was responsible for allowing only seven of those runs (OK, so that's bad enough, but only three of them were earned). Neither one of these pitchers is off to a great start this year, but Jon Niese threw seven shutout innings at the Nationals in his last start.

Current Cubs are 10-for-28 (.357) off Niese with one HR (Aramis Ramirez). Current Mets are 19-for-52 (.365) off Dempster with one HR (Carlos Beltran). Could be a long night for the bullpens.

Today's game is on WGN and SNY. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Mets site Amazin' Avenue.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 7 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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