Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets Preview, Saturday 9/10, 12:10 CT: The Record Book

The good, before the bad: Pinch runner Luis Montanez of the Chicago Cubs scores the game tying run in the ninth inning past Josh Thole of the New York Mets at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Eighteen games remain in the 2011 season; the Cubs stand 20 games under .500, and seem pretty likely to end the year right there, or close. There are, however, a few individual and team milestones to shoot for:

  • If the Cubs can go 11-7 in the 18 games, they'll avoid losing 90 this year. That's certainly not impossible.
  • Starlin Castro needs 16 more hits to get to 200 for the season. He is averaging 1.31 hits per game played; if he continues that pace he'll get 24 more hits and finish with 208. Juan Pierre was the last Cub with 200+ hits, having 204 in 2006 (and the lowest BA ever, .292, for a player with 200 or more hits). Billy Williams is the last Cub to have more than 204 hits in a season; he had 205 in 1970. The last Cubs to have as many as 208 hits in a season were Frank Demaree (212) and Billy Herman (211) in 1936.
  • Castro is also on pace (presuming he plays in every remaining game) to have 77 more at-bats. That would give him 677, and rank him second on the all-time Cubs single-season list, behind Pierre in 2006 (699).
  • As noted earlier today, Carlos Pena has a chance to be the first Cub lefthanded hitter to have 30 or more HR in a season since Fred McGriff in 2002. Only two other Cubs lefthanded hitters have done that in the last 35 years: Rick Wilkins (30 in 1993) and Henry Rodriguez (31 in 1998).
  • Carlos Marmol needs seven saves for 40; if he does it he'd become only the third pitcher in Cubs history to have a 40-or-more save season (Randy Myers, 53 in 1993; Rod Beck, 51 in 1998).

So at least there's something to shoot for over the season's last two and a half weeks.

Cubs lineup:

Castro SS, Johnson RF, Ramirez 3B, Baker 2B, Soriano LF, Byrd CF, Pena 1B, Soto C, Wells P

Mets lineup:

Reyes SS, Turner 2B, Duda RF, Wright 3B, Pagan CF, Bay LF, Evans 1B, Nickeas C, Capuano P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Randy Wells
Randy Wells
vs. Chris Capuano
Chris Capuano
7-4 W-L 10-12
4.86 ERA 4.63
71 SO 143
39 BB 47
19 HR 22
vs. NY -- vs. Cubs

2011 - Randy Wells 7-4 19 19 1 1 0 0 111.0 115 61 60 19 39 71 4.86 1.39

2011 - Chris Capuano 10-12 31 27 1 1 0 0 163.1 174 88 84 22 47 143 4.63 1.35

Randy Wells has made three career starts against the Mets, covering 17.2 innings, with a 3.06 ERA and just one home run allowed. I'll take another one of those, please. No current Met has homered off him, but current Mets are 11-for-36 (.306) with two doubles and six walks. Wells has posted a 2.14 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in his last five starts. I'll take more of that, too, please.

Holy moly, Chris Capuano? Capuano came back to the major leagues in 2010 after missing two years. I don't know, though, that you'd call 10-12 with a 4.63 ERA a "comeback". Give the guy credit for persevering. He has not faced the Cubs since 2007. Aramis Ramirez is the only current Cub with more than nine career AB vs. Capuano, and they are mostly good ones: 11-for-34 (.324), two doubles, one home run.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and WPIX. Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Mets site Amazin' Avenue.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 12:10 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 1 pm, 2 pm and 2:45 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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