Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets Preview, Wednesday 6/27, 1:20 CT

Matt Garza of the Chicago Cubs rubs shaving cream in the face of teammate Anthony Rizzo as Rizzo was interviewed on television following the game against the New York Mets at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Mets 5-3. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

This morning finds the Cubs in an unexpected position -- they can sweep the Mets with a win today. The last series win at Wrigley Field was the sweep over the Padres a month ago. The Cubs are 16-19 at home; not a bad record considering how awful this team is.

This is not an uncommon thing, actually, even for the worst Cubs teams. The 97-loss 2000 Cubs were 38-43 at home; the 1980 Cubs, similarly bad with 98 defeats, were 37-44 at Wrigley.

The 1981 strike-shortened-season Cubs, 38-65 overall, were 27-30 at home, 11-35 on the road; that's a similar pattern to this year.

So do not be fooled, even if the Cubs do sweep the Mets today -- and then the Astros come to town, and they're just about as bad on the road as this year's Cubs (9-25 to the Cubs' 10-29). This might be the dead-cat bounce everyone's been waiting for.

Some happy thoughts for this upcoming hot afternoon.

Cubs lineup:

Mather CF, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Baker RF, Soto C, Barney 2B, Valbuena 3B, Samardzija P

Mets lineup:

Torres CF, Tejada SS, Wright 3B, Duda RF, Davis 1B, Hairston LF, Murphy 2B, Thole C, Niese LHP
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jeff Samardzija
Jeff Samardzija
Cubs
vs. Jon Niese
Jon Niese
Mets
5-6 W-L 5-3
4.34 ERA 3.75
84 SO 79
30 BB 29
7 HR 13
vs. NY -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Jeff Samardzija 5-6 16 14 0 0 0 0 83.0 84 42 40 7 30 84 4.34 1.37


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Jon Niese 5-3 14 14 0 0 0 0 81.2 75 37 34 13 29 79 3.75 1.27

Current Mets are a small-sample-size 3-for-13 against Jeff Samardzija, whose career line against them consists of six relief appearances covering 6⅔ innings (two of which were in 2011). During those he allowed seven hits, two earned runs and struck out eight, from which we can likely conclude exactly nothing. It's worrisome that after a good start, Shark's ERA in June is 8.53 and he's walked 11 batters in 19 innings. We hope for better results today.

The most interesting thing about Jon Niese is that last year, when Carlos Beltran was with the Mets, Beltran told Niese that if he had a nose job, he (Beltran) would pay for it. Well, Niese did it, and Beltran paid up when the teams met in spring training (the photo above is the pre-nose job Niese). Apart from that, Niese last faced the Cubs May 24, 2011 at Wrigley Field, a sloppy game won by the Cubs 11-1. Current Cubs are 18-for-40 (.450) against Niese with one home run (Geovany Soto). Maybe we're not doomed today.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago.

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 post at 1:20 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 2:20, 3:20 and 4:05 p.m. 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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