The Mets have opened up a three-game lead in the NL East largely due to excellent starting pitching.
For more on the Mets, here’s Chris McShane, managing editor of our SB Nation Mets site Amazin’ Avenue:
Despite having dealt with an absurd number of injuries, many of which have dragged on, the Mets remain in first place in the National League East. They’ve been able to do so by getting excellent pitching, most of which the Cubs will see this week — assuming Jacob deGrom does, indeed, make his start on Wednesday night. And he’ll be bookended by Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman, who have both been very, very good, ranking near the top of the league in ERA.
But before getting to that trio, the Cubs will see David Peterson, who is objectively the Mets’ worst starting pitcher and has been especially bad lately. If he has another start like his last two, the Mets’ bullpen could be put into a bad position for the remainder of the series, but it sounds like there’s some relief help on the way in the form of Sean Reid-Foley, who came to the Mets in the Steven Matz trade and has been an extremely effective long reliever when he’s been in the big leagues this year.
At the plate, Francisco Lindor has been hitting very well lately and looking a lot like himself. Pete Alonso has returned from the injured list and is hitting really well, too, and James McCann has been looking like a major league hitter, which wasn’t the case earlier in the season. And speaking of the position players, the Mets’ defense has been excellent this year, something that Mets fans haven’t seen in a long time, thanks to a combination of shifting, positioning, and execution by the players. The Mets may never have everyone healthy all at the same time this year, but that hasn’t stopped them from playing well.
Between COVID-19 and weather postponements, the Mets have played the fewest games of anyone in MLB, just 57, five fewer than anyone else and eight fewer than the Cubs.
To make up all these postponements, the Mets have five upcoming doubleheaders plus a sixth date on which they’ll essentially play two games (finishing a game suspended in the first inning and then a regularly-scheduled game).
Three of those doubleheaders are in a seven-day period between June 19 and 25.
Probable pitching matchups
Monday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (5-6, 4.97 ERA, 1.448 WHIP, 5.31 FIP) vs. David Peterson, LHP (1-5, 6.32 ERA, 1.511 WHIP, 4.92 FIP)
Tuesday: Alec Mills, RHP (2-0, 6.08 ERA, 1.521 WHIP, 5.86 FIP) vs. Taijuan Walker, RHP (5-2, 2.07 ERA, 1.033 WHIP, 2.84 FIP)
Wednesday: TBD vs. Jacob deGrom, RHP (6-2, 0.56 ERA, 0.531 WHIP, 0.92 FIP)
Thursday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (8-4, 4.46 ERA, 1.353 WHIP, 5.63 FIP) vs. Marcus Stroman, RHP (6-4, 2.33 ERA, 1.073 WHIP, 3.54 FIP)
Times & TV channels
Monday: 6:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, ESPN (no blackouts)
Tuesday: 6:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, ESPN (outside Cubs and Mets market territories)
Wednesday: 6:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
Thursday: 6:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
These pitching matchups look less than ideal, but of course they don’t take into account the Cubs’ excellent bullpen, and the fact that Cubs starting pitching has in general been somewhat better lately.
Regarding Wednesday’s starter, it’s anyone’s guess, and likely depends in part on how long Alec Mills can go Tuesday. Neither Cory Abbott nor Kohl Stewart can be recalled by Wednesday unless there’s an injury. Keegan Thompson could wind up starting, or it could be a bullpen game, or both.
I’ll be satisfied if the Cubs can split this four-game series.
The Cubs return to Wrigley Field for a three-game weekend series against the Marlins, which begins Friday evening — yes, the Cubs got permission to play Friday evening since there is a Thursday night game in New York vs. the Mets.
How many games will the Cubs win against the Mets?
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