New York Mets Series Preview: Chicago Cubs (8/27-8/29)

The New York Mets will fly to the windy city to take on the Chicago Cubs in a three game series. The Mets just finished taking two out of three against the Washington Nationals, but they lost the final game of the series 15-0. The Cubs sit in first place in the NL Central and have been red hot in the month of August. They just finished a four game sweep against the Cincinnati Reds. The Cubs manhandled the Mets when they swept a four game series at Citi Field earlier this season.

Probable Pitching Matchups

(8/27, 8:05 PM) Noah Syndergaard (9-3, 3.38 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (14-5, 3.64 ERA)

(8/28, 8:05 PM) Jacob deGrom (8-8, 1.71 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (9-9, 3.82 ERA)

(8/29, 2:20 PM) Jason Vargas (4-8, 6.96 ERA) vs. Alec Mills (0-0, 1.17 ERA)

Mets Solid Starters

The Mets starting pitching has been brilliant over their last nine games. No starter has allowed more than three runs and the Mets have received contributions from everybody. Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler have been wonderful, but Jason Vargas has finally looked like he has figured it out. His last two starts were exactly what the Mets were looking for when they signed him in the offseason. Hopefully the Mets can build on this rotation for the rest of the season.

The Mets welcomed back Jay Bruce over the weekend, but might have lost Jeff McNeil. Bruce had a solid weekend, recording a hit in all three games. He homered Friday, doubled Saturday and singled on Sunday. McNeil was in the midst of a 11-game hitting streak before he was removed in the sixth inning. The Mets described the injury as “right quad tightness” and said it will not be a major issue. Judging injuries with the Mets is a crap shoot and the original diagnosis is usually not the one that sticks.

Hamels is Verlander 2.0

Cole Hamels has been a better pitcher since Jacob deGrom since the Cubs acquired him from the Texas Rangers. Hamels is 4-0 and has only allowed three runs in 34 innings pitched with the Cubs. Many people thought Hamels was past his prime, but much like Justin Verlander last year, when thrown into a pennant race his level of play went to another level. Hamels has faced the Mets countless times over his career, but this is the first time he will face them since 2015.

The Mets thought they would be seeing Daniel Murphy this past weekend against the Nationals, but his trade to the Cubs changed all of those plans. With Addison Russell and Kris Bryant on the disabled list, the Cubs needed a bat to fill their void. Murphy has gone 9-for-21 with the Cubs and has already batted lead off for Joe Maddon. He showed the Cubs what he was capable of in the 2015 postseason and they hope to catch lightning in a bottle this year.

Matchups to Lookout For

Jose Bautista vs. Jon Lester: 14-62 (.226) 3 Doubles, 5 Home Runs, 9 Walks, 13 Strikeouts

Jose Reyes vs. Cole Hamels: 22-59 (.373) 6 Doubles, 5 Walks, 10 Strikeouts

Ben Zobrist vs. Jason Vargas: 12-29 (.414) 4 Doubles, Home Run, 3 Walks, 2 Strikeouts

Daniel Murphy vs. Noah Syndergaard: 4-18 (.222) 2 Doubles, 2 Walks, 2 Strikeouts

Interesting Stats

Seth Lugo vs. Leadoff Hitter in the Inning in 2018: 14-77 (.182) 7 Walks, 15 Strikeouts

David Bote at Home in 2018: 17-53 (.321) 2 Doubles, 4 Home Runs, 8 Walks, 15 Strikeouts

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