Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets Preview, Sunday 7/8, 12:10 CT

Flushing, NY,USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija reacts to a throwing error while covering first against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

ON THE ROAD TO KANSAS CITY -- I'll be in Kansas City around the time this afternoon's game begins. I trust that being in Missouri, I won't be blacked out from watching this game. However, I'll be heading to the K to see the Futures Game (4 pm CT start) likely before it ends, and probably staying for the evening to see the celebrity softball event. So once again, the recap of today's Cubs game will be delayed until Monday morning. The Cubs can accomplish two things with a victory today:

  • their second road series win of the season, and
  • their first winning road trip of 2012.

I dunno. At times, this team looks solid and you'd think they could put a decently-long winning streak together, but they are 13-32 on the road this year. Only the Astros (9-32) are worse. The Mets, on the other hand, despite a pretty good record at home (26-19), have lost four of their last six at Citi Field. In other words: who knows? The only big news of the day is that interim hitting coach James Rowson will get consideration by Dale Sveum for the job full-time in 2013; the Cubs have played better since he was hired, although as Paul Sullivan's article points out, the team hitting numbers have been pretty much the same. Also in the article:

Sveum said the rotation after the All-Star break will begin with Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm and Matt Garza against the Diamondbacks, followed by Travis Wood, Jeff Samardzija and Dempster against the Marlins.

Which means Dempster (who was activated today while Chris Volstad was optioned back to Iowa) is, essentially, starting two consecutive games, today, and then Friday after the break. This could be seen as giving him maximum exposure for a possible trade. He's apparently going to be limited to 70-80 pitches today.

Cubs lineup:

Johnson cf, Castro ss, Rizzo 1b, Soriano lf, Baker rf, Soto c, Barney 2b, Valbuena 3b, Dempster p

Mets lineup:

Tejada ss, Murphy 2b, Wright 3b, Davis 1b, Duda rf, Hairston lf, Valdespin cf, Thole c, Niese p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Cubs
vs. Jon Niese
Jon Niese
Mets
3-3 W-L 7-3
2.11 ERA 3.35
66 SO 88
22 BB 32
6 HR 14
vs. NY -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Ryan Dempster 3-3 12 12 0 0 0 0 81.0 61 21 19 6 22 66 2.11 1.02


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Jon Niese 7-3 16 16 0 0 0 0 96.2 86 39 36 14 32 88 3.35 1.22

Ryan Dempster missed the series against the Mets week before last, so the last time he faced them was May 24, 2011 at Wrigley Field. He happened to be facing Jon Niese that day; Dempster threw well, but the most striking thing about that boxscore is how many players on both teams aren't with those clubs now, just a little over a year later. Current Mets are 22-for-65 (.338) against Dempster with one home run (Omar Quintanilla, of all people).

Jon Niese threw seven very good innings against the Cubs June 27 at Wrigley Field, allowing just one run. He didn't have to be nearly that good, as the Mets scored 17 runs in support of him. They aren't likely to do that today. The only Cubs run that day was driven in by Luis Valbuena, for whatever that's worth.

Today's game is on WGN.

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 12:10 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 1:10, 2:10 and 2:55 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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