Saturday, June 22, 2024
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MLB Preview: New York Mets (25-23) at Chicago Cubs (20-26)


METSCELLANEOUS: The Mets enjoyed a day off in Chicago yesterday…On Sunday, the Mets swept a doubleheader from the Guardians…New York has won two straight series and has now won seven this season…The Mets are coming off a six-game homestand (5-1) against Tampa Bay (2-1) and Cleveland (3-0)…Tonight, the team begins a six-game road trip to Chicago-NL (three games) and Colorado (three games).

HAPPY BUCK DAY!: Happy Birthday to Buck Showalter…Showalter owns a 1,677-1,601 (.512) career record as a manager…His 1,677 wins place him 19th all-time in major league history…Showalter has now managed four teams to the Postseason…He is the fourth manager to accomplish that feat in major league history, joining Dusty Baker (five teams) and Billy Martin and Davey Johnson (four teams)… Showalter is the first manager in Mets history to record 100 victories in his first season with the club…He also joins Yogi Berra as the only managers to guide the Mets and Yankees into the playoffs.

HIGH FIVE: The Mets are on a five-game winning streak, which matches their season-high…The team also won five straight from April 12-17…New York has posted a 4.02 ERA (21 ER/47.0 IP) with 13 walks and 38 strikeouts in that span…The team is batting .274/.347/.470 with 13 extra-base hits and an .818 OPS in the five games…The Mets are outscoring opponents 28-23 in the winning streak…New York has received quality starts in four of the five games in the winning streak.

ONE AND ONLY: All five wins during the Mets current winning streak have been decided by one run…That is tied for the longest such streak in franchise history (July 20, – July 24, 1984)…The Mets are 11-7 in one-run games this season and are 6-1 in their last seven games decided by one run.

AND I WOULD WALK ABOVE .500: With the duel victories on Sunday, the Mets moved back above .500…It’s the first time the club is above .500 since they were 17-16 on May 5…The Mets are two games above .500…Their season-high is seven games.

THE FRIENDLY CONFINES: The Mets begin a three-game set at Wrigley Field tonight…New York took three of four in the Windy City in 2022…Franciso Lindor is a lifetime .353 (18-51) hitter with nine runs, four doubles, two home runs, eight RBI and 11 walks with a .468 ONP and a .549 SLG in 13 games at the ballpark…Brandon Nimmo has hit .289/.341/.421in 10 career games at the ballpark… In 66 career contests, Starling Marte has hit .273/.326/.461 with 44 runs, 12 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs, 34 RBI and 17 walks.

THREE NIGHTS IN CHICAGO: The Mets are set to play three consecutive night games in Chicago…The last did that from April 20-23, 2021…Prior to that, the team played three straight night games at Wrigley Field from September 12-14, 2017.

TYLOR THE CREATOR: Tylor Megill is set to make his 10th start of the season…He is 5-2 with a 3.88 ERA(20 ER/46.1 IP) with 23 walks and 35 striekouts….Megill has allowed three earned runs over his last two starts, going 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA (3 Er/11.0 IP)…Tonight will mark his first career start against the Cubs.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The Mets hit the road again…New York has played 27 games on the road this year, the most in the majors…New York is 13-14 with a 4.70 ERA away from Citi Field in 2023…The team’s 226 strikeouts on the road is the most in the National League and second-most in the majors…Only the Twins (238 strikeouts in 25 games) have struck out more.

THE HATEFUL EIGHT: Jeff McNeil is on an eight-game hitting streak, batting .400 (12-30) in that span with five runs, two walks and three RBI…He has 178 multi-hit games in his career, which is 19th all-time in Mets history…Wally Backman is next with 179 multi-hit contests.

HOMER HAPPY: After the Mets went five straight games without a home run, the Mets have homered in six straight contests, hitting 13 home runs in that span…The Mets are 20-9 when hitting a home run this season and 9-5 when hitting multiple homers.

ATTABOY ALVAREZ: Francisco Alvarez is batting .271 (16-59) with four doubles, five home runs, 10 RBI, five walks with a .338 OBP and a .593 SLG against right-handed pitching this year…In 16 games in May, Alvarez is batting .271 (13-48) with seven runs, four doubles, four home runs, nine RBI, six walks with a .968 OPS.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Brooks Raley pitched in both games of Sunday’s doubleheader…He joins Jordan Weems as the only pitcher in the majors to pitch in both games of a doubleheader this season…He is the first Met to pitch in both games of a doubleheader since Hansel Robles and Josh Smoker pitched in both games of a doubleheader on August 27, 2017 at Washington…Courtesy of Elias.

INVADER NIM: Brandon Nimmo is batting .340 (36-106) with 12 runs, seven doubles, two home runs, 15 RBI, 11 walks with a .402 OBP, .462 SLG and an .864 OPS in 27 games on the road this season…He has safely hit in six straight road games, batting .400 (10-25) with two runs, a double, four RBI, two walks with an .860 OPS in that span.

LINSANITY: Francisco Lindor is batting .314 (11-35) with six runs, one home run, three RBI, one walk with an .819 OPS over his last eight games…He has 15 doubles on the season, which tied for fourth in the majors and tied for third in the NL.

EIGHT IS GREAT: The Mets are 22-0 when leading after eight innings this season…The last time the Mets lost a game when they were ahead after eight innings was on September 6, 2021 at Washington… The Mets were up 3-2 and lost 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth…Since then the Mets have won their last 117 games when ahead after eight, the longest active streak in MLB…It’s the tied for the longest streak in franchise history….From October 1, 1990- September 2, 1992, the Mets also won 117 straight games when ahead after eight innings.

WHEN I WAS 17: Alonso has hit 17 home runs this year, which leads the majors leagues…His 41 RBI are fourth in The Show and lead the National League…Alonso ranks 12th in franchise history with 421 career RBI…Next up is Kevin McReynolds (456) and Keith Hernandez (468).

D-FENCE: The Mets have committed 15 errors in 48 games this year… That gives the team a .991 fielding percentage….Their .991 fielding percentage ranks third in the majors and second in the NL…Their 15 errors are the second-fewest committed…Only the Padres (12) have committed fewer.

2023 STATS: 5-2, 3.88 ERA

Pitch Type Usage Rate vs. LHB vs. RHB Avg. Velocity
Four-Seam Fastball 55% 58% 51% 94.3 mph
Slider 21% 9% 34% 83.4 mph
Changeup 15% 20% 11% 88.4 mph
Curveball 9% 13% 4% 76.9 mph

LAST TIME OUT: Earned the win in the Mets’ 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on May 18…Matched a season-high 6.0 innings pitched, allowed two earned runs on four hits, one walk and four strikeouts.

BIG DRIP VS THE CUBS: Today, Megill will make his first career start against the Cubs…Is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA (18 ER/27.0 IP) in eight career appearances (six starts) against NL Central opponents.

THE GAME OF RISP: This season, Megill is holding opposing batters to a .175 average (7-40) with runners in scoring position, tied for the fifth-best mark in the NL and tied for the 13th-best mark in the majors…Megill also ranks fifth in the NL and 11th in the majors with a .477 opponent’s OPS with runners in scoring position (Min. 40 batters faced w/RISP).

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: This season, Megill is 2-1 with a 4.74 ERA (10 ER/19.0 IP) in four road starts this season…In five home starts this season, Megill is 3-1 with a 3.29 ERA (10 ER/27.1 IP)…In 21 career road games (17 starts), Megill is 6-6 with a 4.85 ERA (46 ER/85.1 IP) and in 21 career home games (19 starts), Megill is 7-4 with a 4.22 ERA (46 ER/98.0 IP).


The Cubs and Mets play six games spanning two series … following this three-game set at Wrigley Field the teams will meet for three games at Citi Field, Aug. 7-9 … Chicago has won the last five season series against the Mets dating to 2017.

GOOD TO BE HOME: The Chicago Cubs tonight play the first of a three-game set against the New York Mets to start a nine-game homestand that continues with three-game series against the Reds (starting Friday) and the Rays (beginning Monday).

The Cubs on Sunday fell to the Phillies, 2-1, to finish a nine-game (2-7) trip through Minnesota (1-2), Houston (0-3) and Philadelphia (1-2) .. the team pitched to a 7.51 ERA (62 ER/74.1 IP), including a 6.45 ERA from the starters and a 9.10 ERA from the relievers, and hit at a .234 clip including a .203 average with RISP.

Sunday marked the end of a stretch that started April 28 in which the team played 16 of 22 games away from Wrigley Field, with the team going 6-16.

Following play on April 21, Chicago was 12-7 and 1.5 games behind the division lead … since, the club is 8-19 and enters tonight 4.5 games behind the division-leading Pirates and Brewers, both sitting at 25-22.

WE’LL MISS YOU, COMMISH: The Cubs join all of MLB in mourning the passing of longtime St. Louis Post-Dispatch baseball writer Rick Hummel … Rick was always a pleasure to run into on the field, in the clubhouse and in the press box.

THE CONFINES HAVE BEEN FRIENDLY: Tonight’s Cubs starter Drew Smyly has posted a 1.77 ERA (11 ER/56.0 IP) with a 3-2 record and a 0.80 WHIP in 11 starts at Wrigley Field dating to May 30 of last season … he’s walked 12 and struck out 59 batters while allowing five home runs in that stretch.

Smyly this season has posted a 2.86 ERA (16 ER.50.1 IP) in nine starts, the eighth-best ERA among N.L. qualifying pitchers … his 0.93 WHIP leads the N.L. and ranks fifth-best in the majors.

I MEAN, WHAT CAN YOU SAY?: Christopher Morel has hit safely and scored a run in each of his first 11 games since he made his season debut May 9 following his recall from Triple-A Iowa … he’s hit .370 (17-for-46) with three doubles, eight homers, 14 RBI and 15 runs scored with Chicago, and has homered in each of his last four games.

Morel is just the second Cub since 1901 to record a hit and score a run in at least 11-straight games in a single season, joining Hank Sauer (12 games in 1954) … Hack Miller turned the trick 11-straight games over the 1922-23 seasons.

Morel’s stretch of 11-straight games with a run scored is second-longest in franchise history since 1900, joining Hank Sauer (13 games in 1954) … thanks to Elias Sports Bureau.

Morel is just the fourth player in MLB history (since at least 1901) to hit at least eight home runs in his first 11 games of the season, joining Luis Gonzalez (9 HR in 2001), Reggie Sanders (8 HR in 2001) and Aristides Aquino (8 HR in 2019).

IN CASE YOU NEED IT: The last Cubs to homer in five-straight games were Sammy Sosa (June 3-8, 1998) and Ryne Sandberg (Aug. 7-11, 1989) … players who have hit nine or more homers in each of their first 12 games to start a season: Luis Gonzalez (9 HR in 2001), Larry Walker (9 HR in 1997) and Mike Schmidt (11 HR in 1976).

Morel has hit 24 home runs in his first 124 career MLB games for Chicago … the most homers hit by Cubs in their first 125 career games? … Ian Happ hit 27 within his first 125 career games spanning 2017-18 and Kyle Schwarber blasted 26 in his first 125 career contests from 2015-17.

CROSSING THE PLATE: The Cubs have scored at least one run in each of their first 46 games in 2023, and in 56-straight games dating to Sept. 25 of last season … this 56- game run is the club’s longest since scoring in 70-consecutive contests from Aug. 12, 2021-May 4 of last year.

The team has scored in each of its first 46 games to start a season for just the second time in the modern era as the 1995 club scored in each of its first 47 games … prior to that, the team opened a campaign with a longer run-scoring streak in 1898, plating a run in each of its first 91 contests that year.

IN THE FIELD: Dansby Swanson has gone 29-straight games since April 20 without committing an error (97 TC) and his six defensive runs saved are tied for the most among major league shortstops with Tampa Bay’s Wander Franco, according to Fangraphs.

Seiya Suzuki on Sunday threw out Nick Castellanos at third base on a fly ball to right field … Statcast tracked the throw at 95.4 mph, Suzuki’s second-fastest throw of the season … he used a 97.4 mph toss to the plate May 8 vs. St. Louis to keep Willson Contreras from tagging from third base.

AT THE PLATE: The Cubs rank third in the majors in OBP (.338), fifth in average .262 (416-for-1,586), sixth in walks (173) and eighth in OPS (.765) and slugging (.427).

Ian Happ’s .407 OBP is fourth in the N.L. and fifth in the majors … his 33 walks are tied for fourth-most in baseball.

Nico Hoerner’s .299 batting average is ninth in the N.L. while his 12 stolen bases are tied for fifth in the Senior Circuit.

Seiya Suzuki has a .400 average (14-for-35) with a 1.004 OPS against lefthanded pitching … Suzuki has hit .333 (14-for-42) with four doubles, four homers, eight walks, a .431 OBP and a .714 slugging mark in his last 12 games since May 8.

ABOUT SOME ARMS: Lefty Justin Steele ranks third in the N.L. with a 2.20 season ERA while tonight’s starter, Drew Smyly, is sixth with a 2.86 ERA … Steele’s six victories are tied for the most in the N.L. and second-most in the majors, one behind Tampa Bay’s Shane Mclanahan.

Smyly’s 0.93 WHIP is second-best among qualifying left-handed pitchers, just ahead of Steele’s 1.01 mark … Detroit’s Eduardo Rodriguez leads ll southpaws with a 0.86 WHIP.

Starting Pitcher – #11 LHP Drew Smyly (4-1, 2.86)
Last Time Out
Drew received a no-decision May 17 in Houston, allowing one run on four hits in 6.0 innings … has allowed two runs or fewer in eight-straight starts since April 10, pitching to a 1.97 ERA (10 ER/45.2 IP) during the run … struck out at least eight batters while walking none for the second time this season (also April 21 vs. Dodgers).

Date Opp. Result IP H R ER BB SO PC-S Left
5/17 @HOU ND, 6-7 6.0 4 1 1 0 8 84-58 6-1
2023 Splits and Season Notes
Home 1-0 2.14 4 4 21.0 10 5 5 5 26
Road 3-1 3.38 5 5 29.1 27 12 11 5 20
AVG vs. LHB: .311 (14-for-45) / AVG vs. RHB: .165 (23-for-139)

Drew is scheduled to make his 10th start of the season today, his sixth at Wrigley Field … has a 1.97 ERA (10 ER/45.2 IP) in his last eight starts, allowing two runs or fewer in all eight outings … his 1.97 ERA since April 10 is the tied for the second-lowest in the majors (min. 8 GS) … since the beginning of the 2022 season, has posted a 2.33 ERA (17 ER/65.2 IP) in 13 starts at Wrigley Field … is holding opponents to a .201 (37-for-184) average with a 0.93 WHIP this season … opposing batters are hitting .146 (14-for-95) with 34 strikeouts against his curveball.

April 21 vs. Los Angeles (N.L.) retired the first 21 batters of the game, becoming the first Cub to take a perfect game bid into the eighth inning since José Guzmán (April 6, 1993 vs. Atlanta) … was the first Cub to record a start of 7.0-plus innings with one hit, no runs, no walks and at least 10 strikeouts since Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout game (May 6, 1998 vs. Houston).

Went 0-2 with a 6.06 ERA (11 ER/16.1 IP) with a 13:2 SO:BB ratio during Cactus League play.

Mikey Balhan Sports

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