The Mets are in a rough patch, much as they were when the Cubs were at Citi Field a year ago at this time. They are struggling to score runs (averaging 3.15 runs per game in June, compared to the Cubs' 5.07 per game this month) and have lost 14 of their last 23 games after being just one game out of first place on June 4.
It would be good for the Cubs to take advantage in this four-game set.
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Here are today's particulars.
Zobrist RF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras C, Baez 2B, Szczur LF, Russell SS, Lackey P, Almora CF
An all-righthanded lineup (except for Anthony Rizzo) against Mets lefty Steven Matz. More on this:
No Heyward for 2nd straight game. He's never faced Matz -- and actually, no #Cubs player has faced the Mets LHP in regular season— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) June 30, 2016
Nimmo RF, Walker 2B, Cespedes CF, Loney 1B, Cabrera SS, Johnson LF, Flores 3B, d’Arnaud C, Matz P
John Lackey had a rough outing last time out, pushing his ERA over 3. The Mets might be the cure for that; in two starts against them last year he threw 14 innings, allowed 13 hits and two earned runs, with one walk and nine strikeouts. Current Mets are hitting .229 (35-for-153) against Lackey with three home runs (Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, James Loney).
When last we saw Steven Matz, he was pitching against the Cubs in Game 4 of the 2015 NLCS. The Cubs did make him work -- 76 pitches in 4⅔ innings -- but that game was lost long before Matz was knocked out in the fifth. As noted above, Matz has never faced the Cubs during the regular season. Matz was off to a decent start this year but has a 5.79 ERA in four starts in June, with a 1.594 WHIP. Hope the Cubs can take advantage of that.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago. It's also on MLB Network outside the Chicago and New York markets.
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The 2016 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used at the end of 2015. Here's how it works.
You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).
At the same time, a StoryStream™ containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game's StoryStream™ as noted above.
The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.