Tuesday kicks off a very important three-game series that will continue to shape the National League playoff picture. The Chicago Cubs travel to Queens to take on the New York Mets in what could be considered must-wins for both teams.
The Cubs currently hold the last Wild Card in the NL but are falling out of the division race. They’re three games back of the Cardinals, who are catching fire and can’t seem to lose.
They also need to win these games because the Mets are only two games behind them in the Wild Card race. By the end of this series not only could the Cubs be completely toast in the NL Central, but the Mets could overtake them for the last playoff position.
For the Cubs, Yu Darvish will get make his 27th start of the season. Darvish is having another “meh” season for the Cubbies, going 4-6 with a 4.43 earned run average. What is weird about Darvish is, over his last seven starts, he’s been throwing really well but just getting unlucky. He’s getting crushed by the long ball in otherwise great starts.
Over this stretch, he has struck out 57 batters and only walked ONE. However, he has given up TEN home runs in that same time period. His HR/FB% is over 24.8%, which is easily the worst in the entire league. He’s also fourth in the league in HR/9 at 1.87. The Cubs would love for him to be the pitcher that has a 10.97 K/9, not the one whose serving up 400-foot meatballs every game.
For the Mets, Marcus Stroman will take the hill for his 26th game of the season. While he is only 7-11 on the season, Stroman has still yet to take a loss in a Mets uniform. Not only has he not taken a loss, but the team hasn’t as well. The Mets have won each of his four starts since he was acquired at the deadline from the Toronto Blue Jays.
He’s pitching decently, with only a 4.58 ERA since the trade, but he’s doing enough for the team to win. And at this point in the season, that’s all that really matters.
Batters To Watch
Anthony Rizzo has been having yet another terrific year for the Cubs. He’s slashing .290/.402/.526 and is on pace to hit 30 home runs for the sixth time in seven years, and he should also go over 100 RBI for the fifth straight year. Rizzo has hits in five of his last six games, including three home runs and a double.
Say hello to the National League Rookie of the Year, Pete Alonso. The kid has come up and absolutely torn the cover off the ball. He currently has 41 home runs, only one behind the lead league of 42, and is already over 100 RBI in August. He also destroys right-handed pitching, where 28 of those 42 homers have come from.
New York hasn’t lost a Marcus Stroman start yet, and I don’t think it will start now. Take the Mets.