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Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets Preview, Monday 7/18, 6:05 CT

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This one has to go better than the last one. Right? RIGHT?

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

As you see in the headline, this game will start an hour earlier than most Wrigley Field night games, due to ESPN wanting to televise it. (The same will be true tomorrow night.)

ESPN's broadcast will be blacked out in the Chicago and New York market territories, but elsewhere, you will be able to see it if you don't otherwise have access to Cubs games via MLB.tv or MLB Extra Innings.

Other than that, it would be nice to finally beat the Mets. It's been more than a year. There's more in the series preview, if you haven't already checked it out.

Here is your once-a-series reminder about SB Nation's daily fantasy partner FanDuel. If you want to play, click this link.

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Baez 2B, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras LF, Russell SS, Szczur RF, Almora CF, Ross C, Lester P

A mostly RH-hitting lineup (except for Anthony Rizzo and Jon Lester) against the lefty Steven Matz.

Mets lineup:

Reyes 3B, Granderson RF, Cespedes LF, Walker 2B, Flores 1B, Cabrera SS, Lagares CF, d’Arnaud C, Matz P

Jon Lester

vs

Steven Matz

Jon Lester has been awful in July after being N.L. Pitcher of the Month for June. He has thrown only once in the last nine days, the two-thirds of an inning he pitched in the All-Star Game, issuing one walk. He'd likely have finished the inning if the first batter hadn't reached on an error. I don't even want to discuss (or link to) his start against the Mets in New York, the worst start of his career. Time to hit the reset button.

Maybe this one will work out. The Cubs actually hit Steven Matz reasonably well June 30 at Citi Field, with seven hits and three runs in 5⅓ innings, including home runs by Kris Bryant and Javier Baez. Then the not-lamented Joel Peralta lost the game for the Cubs, setting a bad tone for that series. Matz has posted a 4.87 ERA and 1.500 WHIP in his last seven starts with six homers allowed (including the two above).

Today's game is on WPWR. For affiliate info in the Illinois/Indiana/Iowa blackout territory click here. It's also on ESPN outside the Chicago and New York markets.

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. If you do go there to interact with Mets fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

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.