Starting the second half on the right foot after winning two of three against the Phillies, the New York Mets (49-42) continue their road-trip in The Windy City to face the Chicago Cubs (55-36). Last time these two teams met, it was blue and orange all the way as the Amazin’s swept the Cubs on their home turf. However, the Cubs still hold an eight-game lead in the NL Central while the Mets failed to make up any ground in the Phillies series with the Nationals still holding a six-game lead in the East. It will be another 2015 NLCS battle at Wrigley Field with the Mets hoping to keep their win streak (seven games) alive while the Cubs try not to disappoint the hometown crowd.
Monday 6:05 PM: Steven Matz (7-5, 3.38 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (9-4, 3.01 ERA)
It appears Matz will continue to battle the bone spurs in his pitching elbow in the second half. He will look to start things off the right way as he lost his last two starts heading into the break. He did, however, go seven innings in both of those appearances which is good considering the injury
It has been a month exactly since Lester earned a victory and he will certainly be looking for one tonight. Bad news is last time he faced the Mets, he was smashed for eight earned in just 1 1/3 innings before manager Joe Maddon went to the bullpen. Lester has allowed 13 earned runs in his last two starts that, combined, lasted a mere 4 1/3 innings.
Pitching Edge: The Mets appear to have Lester’s number. Matz gets the advantage in this away start.
Tuesday 6:05 PM: Noah Syndergaard (9-4, 2.56 ERA) vs. Jake Arrieta (12-4, 2.68 ERA)
Syndergaard appears to be in good health as he is scheduled to start tomorrow night’s marquee pitching matchup. “Thor” left his final first half start against the Nationals early as he had right arm fatigue. Last time he faced Chicago was early this month where he went seven innings allowing one earned on seven scattered hits.
The Cubs’ ace, Arrieta, didn’t finish the first half the way he wanted losing two straight to the Mets and Pirates. Against the Amazin’s, he gave up four earned on eight hits and two walks. The righty hasn’t been as dominate as fans are used to seeing, but never count Arrieta out in any game.
Pitching Edge: With Syndergaard questionable because of what happened last time out, Arrieta gets the edge as he looks for revenge.
Wednesday 1:20 PM: Bartolo Colon (8-4, 3.11 ERA) vs. Kyle Hendricks (8-6, 2.41 ERA)
Colon earned the win in his first start of the second half last Friday as the Mets beat the Phillies 5-3. The three runs allowed was all unearned for Colon as he allowed only four hits while striking out four as well.
Hendricks also kicked off the second half with a win Friday defeating the Texas Rangers at Wrigley Field. The 26-year-old went six total innings allowing no runs on three hits and two walks. Hendricks hasn’t had much run support, but with his ERA at 2.41, he is always a threat to his opponent.
More About This Series:
As the trade deadline nears, both the Mets and Cubs appear to be looking to revamp their bullpen. For the Mets, another reunion could be in store as it was rumored Tyler Clippard could be back in New York. His current team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, are in sell mode as they sit last in the NL West and Clippard could be on the market. Also, to add depth in the starting rotation, Jon Niese could make a comeback in the blue and orange. He hasn’t had the best year with the Pirates, but there is a possibility according to reports.
For the Cubs, they seem to be favorites to land one of two New York Yankees relievers in Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller. The flame-throwing lefties are said to be on the market if the right deal presents itself. The Cubs would boost their bullpen tremendously if they could land a power arm in either Chapman or Miller.
Though restructuring seems to be the focus, both squads are doing well with what they have in the bullpen at the moment. The Mets sit sixth in the league in bullpen ERA (3.21) and seventh in opponent AVG (.226) while the Cubs holding the second-best opponent AVG in the league at .213.