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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Mets, Friday 8/3, 1:20 CT

When last we saw the Mets, Scott Eyre was dejectedly walking off the field after allowing two straight hits to give Ryan Dempster, who had given up four hits and a walk himself, as the Cubs, stunningly, blew a four-run ninth-inning lead and lost 6-5 on May 17.

The Cubs were 18-21, seven games out of first place. The Mets were 26-14, 1.5 games ahead of the Braves.

Much has changed. The Cubs have gone 39-29 since then and made up all seven games. The Mets have increased their lead to 3.5 games, but have basically treaded water, playing just over .500 (35-33) since that date.

Biggest series in three years. Let's win it!

Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
C. Zambrano
vs. Orlando Hernandez
O. Hernandez
14-7 W-L 7-4
3.47 ERA 3.02
128 SO 85
65 BB 41
17 HR 13
vs. NY -- vs. Cubs
Z, as you know, has been nearly unhittable since hitting Michael Barrett on June 1. In 11 starts since then, he's 9-2, 1.41; batters have hit .141 off him, and he has 77 strikeouts in 76.2 IP. He won the only game the Cubs won in the four-game series in New York, a 10-1 victory on May 15, when he threw 8 innings, allowing six hits and one run.

Orlando Hernandez has finally admitted that he is 42, rather than 38. Whatever his age, he's still throwing very well; in the absence of Pedro Martinez, he has solidified the Mets rotation. He has faced the Cubs only once -- last July 16. The Cubs roughed him up, but the Mets won anyway. That's kind of the way last year went. From his time in the AL, he faced Jacque Jones (.333/.385/.417) and Alfonso Soriano (.417/.462/.917) frequently.

This weekend's games are all available on a more-or-less national basis; today's on WGN and at the Mediacenter. Gameday (2007 version) Gameday (2006 version)

I'll post a Gameday link for tonight's Phillies/Brewers game in my recap later this afternoon.

Finally, I answered a few questions about the Cubs for our SB Nation Mets counterpart Amazin' Avenue, and also for D. J. Short at MetsBlog. My answers are here. If I have time I may send them a few questions about the Mets that I'll post tomorrow.

Discuss amongst yourselves.