Friday, June 2, 2023

MLB Preview: New York Mets (25-25) at Chicago Cubs (22-26)


METSCELLANEOUS: The Mets fell to the Cubs, 4-2, on Wednesday night…The Mets have lost back-to-back games after winning five straight…New York continues a six-game road trip (0-2) to Chicago-NL (0-2) and Colorado (three games)…Following this road trip, the Mets enjoy Memorial Day off before beginning a six-game homestand against Philadelphia (three games) and Toronto (three games).

HOMER HAPPY: After the Mets went five straight games without a home run, the Mets have homered in season-high eight straight contests, hitting 15 home runs in that span…The Mets are 20-11 when hitting a home run this season and 9-5 when hitting multiple homers…In 2022, the Mets longest home run streak was nine games (September 9-17)…The team hit 14 home runs in that span.

ATTABOY ALVAREZ: Francisco Alvarez has homered in three of his last four games…He is batting .462 (6-13) in that span with four runs, three home runs, seven RBI, a walk with a .533 OB, a 1.154 SLG and a 1.687 OPS…His six home runs are tied for the fifth-most by a rookie in the majors and tied for the third-most in the National League…The backstop is batting .290 (18-62) with four doubles, six home runs, five walks with a .353 OBP and a .645 SLG against right-handed pitching this year…In 17 games in May, Alvarez is batting .294 (15-51) with eight runs, four doubles, five home runs, 11 RBI, six walks with a 1.046 OPS.

STEAL THIS BASE: The Mets rank fifth in the majors and second in the National League with a 84.2% stolen base rate this season… Starling Marte has swiped 13 bags this year, tied for 10th in the majors and fifth in the National League…His 327 career stolen bases rank second among active players…Elvis Andrus is the active leader with 340 steals.

18, I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT: Pete Alonso has homered in five of his last eight games…Overall, he has hit 18 home runs this year, which leads the majors leagues…His 43 RBI are fourth in The Show and lead the National League…Alonso ranks 12th in franchise history with 423 career RBI…Next up is Kevin McReynolds (456) and Keith Hernandez (468)…Alonso has appeared in 49 games this year…See the chart below for the fastest Met to reach 20 home runs in a season and the fastest to 50 RBI…Courtesy of Elias.

Dave Kingman 1976 51
Mike Piazza 2000 59
Pete Alonso 2019 59
Darryly Strawberry 1987 63
Carlson Beltran 2006 65
Courtesy of Elias
Carlos Beltran 2006 53
Pete Alonso 2022 55
Todd Hundley 1996 57
Mike Piazza 2000 57
Gary Carter 1986 61
Bernard Gilkey 1996 61


I RALEY LIKE YOU: Since his return from the 15-Day IL, Brooks Raley has appeared in five games, allowing only one hits, three walks and striking out five in 5.0 innings…He has been unscored upon in 17 of his 19 appearances this season…Overall he is 1-0 with a 3.31 ERA (6 ER/16.1 IP) with four walks and 16 strikeouts.

FOGO POWER: Eduardo Escobar is 12-32 (.375) with a triple, three home runs, six RBI, five runs scored and a 1.147 OPS over his last 14 games.

ROAD WARRIOR: Brandon Nimmo is batting .342 (39-114) with 13 runs, eight doubles, two home runs, 15 RBI, 11 walks with a .400 OBP and .465 SLG in 29 games on the road this season…His .342 road average ranks sixth in the majors.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: New York has played 29 games on the road this year, the most in the majors…New York is 13-16 with a 4.72 ERA away from Citi Field in 2023…The team’s 248 strikeouts on the road is the most in the majors.

THE FRIENDLY CONFINES: The Mets continue 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 .310 (18-58) hitter with nine runs, four doubles, two home runs, eight RBI and 12 walks with a .429 OBP and a .483 SLG in 15 games at the ballpark…Brandon Nimmo has hit .304/.347/.435 in 12 career games at the ballpark… In 68 career contests, Starling Marte has hit .267/.322/.451 with 44 runs, 12 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs, 34 RBI and 18 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.

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.

D-FENCE: The Mets have committed 17 errors in 50 games this year…That gives the team a .990 fielding percentage….Their .990 fielding percentage ranks fourth in the majors and second in the NL…Their 17 errors are the second-fewest committed in the Senior Circuit…Only the Padres (15) have committed fewer.

2023 STATS: 0-2, 8.68 ERA

Pitch Type Usage Rate vs. LHB vs. RHB Avg. Velocity
Four-Seam Fastball 33% 38% 28% 91.5 mph
Changeup 26% 34% 18% 86.8 mph
Slider 20% 6% 33% 83.7 mph
Sinker 14% 11% 17% 90.8 mph
Curveball 7% 11% 4% 79.2 mph

LAST TIME OUT: Threw 5.0 innings in his first start back with the Mets since returning from his 15-day IL stint due to right elbow inflammation…Allowed five earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three batters in a 10-9 Mets walk-off win in extra innings.

COOKIE VS. THE CUBBIES: Tonight, Carrasco will face Chicago-NL for the fourth time in his career…In his last start against the Cubs on July 14, 2022, Carrasco threw 6.0 scoreless innings at the Friendly Confines, during which he allowed five hits and two walks while fanning six batters…Throughout his career, Carrasco has made three starts against Chicago-NL, pitching to a 1-1 record with a 3.31 ERA (6 ER/16.1 IP)…Carrasco has made two starts in his career at Wrigley Field, during which he has pitched to a 2.25 ERA (3 ER/12.0 IP) in two starts.

HE’S GOT THE MONTH OF MAY: In 39 appearances and 32 starts in the month of May, Carrasco has pitched to an 18-8 record with a 4.31 ERA (102 ER/213.0 IP)…His .692 winning percentage in May is the best mark of any month during the season…In those appearances, Carrasco has thrown three complete games, including one shutout, and has tallied 201 strikeouts compared to 48 walks.


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.

CUBS SECURE SERIES WIN: Marcus Stroman allowed two runs in 8.0 innings, Nico Hoerner belted a solo homer and scored twice, and Seiya Suzuki and Mike Tauchman also drove in runs as the Cubs last night won their second-straight game against the Mets 4-2 to secure a series win, the team’s first series victory since taking two of three vs. the Marlins, May 5-7.

The Cubs tonight look to sweep the Mets in a three-game series at Wrigley Field for the first time since the 2021 season, April 20-22 … Chicago has won its last six regular season games against the Mets dating to July 17 of last year … the Cubs last won seven-straight games against the Mets June 23, 2019-April 22, 2021.

Including six free passes last night, Cubs hitters have drawn six or more walks in each of their last five home games since May 8 vs. St. Louis … the team last coaxed at least six walks in five-straight home contests, July 27-Aug. 11, 2009 .. the Cubs have never had six-straight games of six or more walks drawn at Wrigley Field.

Speaking of walks, the Cubs have drawn 185 free passes this season, third-most in the majors behind the Dodgers (220) and Padres (203).

WELCOME BACK, KYLE!: The Cubs are expected to activate Kyle Hendricks to make his first start of 2023 after starting the season on the 15-day injured list while recovering from a right shoulder strain … he last pitched July 5, 2022, in Milwaukee … this will be his first Wrigley Field outing since June 30 of last season vs. the Reds.

Hendricks ranks 10th in franchise history with 1,079 strikeouts … Larry Corcoran is ninth with 1,086 … Hendricks 222 starts are 17th in franchise history, two behind Grover Alexander for 16th.

SOMETHING OF QUALITY: Marcus Stroman’s 8.0 innings with two runs allowed last night marked Chicago’s 24th quality start of the season, the second-most in the N.L. (Pittsburgh, 25) and tied for fifth-most in the majors.

The Cubs starting rotation has posted a 1.19 WHIP, sixth-best in the majors, while its 3.88 ERA (109 ER/253.0 IP) is fourth in the N.L. and ninth in baseball.

SO STINGY: The Cubs have allowed two or fewer runs in 15 of their last 16 victories dating to April 14 … the lone win in that span in which Chicago allowed more than two runs came in a 10-4 win vs. the Cardinals on May 10.

Chicago this season has surrendered two or fewer runs in 21 games, tied for the second-most such games in the majors behind only Tampa Bay (22).

PLAYING THE MARGINS: Chicago is 17-11 (.607) in games decided by three or more runs, the ninth-best record in the majors … however, the team is just 5-15 (.250) in games decided by two or fewer runs, the lowest winning percentage in the majors in those contests … that includes a 2-10 (.167) mark in one-run games.

CURRENT EVENTS: Tonight marks the third contest of a nine-game homestand that continues tomorrow with the first of three games against the Reds before Chicago hosts the Rays beginning Monday.

Following play on April 21, Chicago was 12-7 and 1.5 games behind the division lead … since, the club is 10-19 and enters tonight 4.5 games behind the division-leading Brewers, sitting at 27-22.

I MEAN, WHAT CAN YOU SAY?: Christopher Morel has hit safely in each of his first 13 games this season and in a career-high 14 games dating back to his final contest of 2022 … the last time a Cub had a longer hitting streak was when Javier Baez hit in 15-consecutive games, May 1-17, 2019.

Morel recorded a hit and scored a run in each of his first 12 games this season, just the second time since 1901 a Cub has done that anytime in a single-season (Hank Sauer, 12 games in 1954).

Morel’s stretch of 12-straight games with a run scored was the second-longest in franchise history since 1900, joining Hank Sauer (13 games in 1954).

Morel recorded nine homers in first 12 games of the season, becoming one of just four players to accomplish that feat … he joined: Luis Gonzalez (9 HR in 2001), Larry Walker (9 HR in 1997) and Mike Schmidt (11 HR in 1976).

CROSSING THE PLATE: The Cubs have scored at least one run in each of their first 48 games in 2023, and in 58-straight games dating to Sept. 25 of last season … this 58- 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 48 games to start a season for the first time since way back in 1898, a season in which that team plated a run in each of its first 91 contests.

IN THE FIELD: Dansby Swanson has gone 31-straight games since April 20 without committing an error (105 TC) and his seven defensive runs saved are tied for the major league lead among shortstops, with Tampa Bay’s Wander Franco, according to Fangraphs.

AT THE PLATE: The Cubs rank second in the majors in OBP (.339), tied for third in walks drawn (185), sixth in OPS (.768) and eighth in average .262 (432-for-1,652) and slugging (.429).

Ian Happ’s .409 OBP is fifth in the N.L. and sixth in the majors … his 35 walks are tied for third-most in baseball.

Nico Hoerner’s .295 batting average is 10th in the N.L. while his 12 stolen bases are tied for sixth in the Senior Circuit.

Starting Pitcher – #28 RHP Kyle Hendricks (2023 Debut)
Last Time Out
Kyle made his fifth and final rehab start with Triple-A Iowa May 20 at Indianapolis … tossed a season-high 6.0 innings, allowing one run on five hits … marked his second rehab start with no walks (also May 9 vs. Toledo) … recorded a season-high six strikeouts … threw a season-high 82 pitches.

Date Opp. Result IP H R ER BB SO PC-S Left
5/201 @IND W, 2-1 6.0 5 1 1 0 6 82-60 2-1

2023 Splits and Season Notes (w/Triple-A Iowa)
Home 1-0 6.17 3 3 11.2 14 8 8 3 11
Road 1-1 5.19 2 2 8.2 7 5 5 3 9
AVG vs. LHB: .216 (8-for-37) / AVG vs. RHB: .325 (13-for-40)

Kyle will be activated from the 15-day injured list today to make his first start in the major leagues since July 5, 2022.

Made five rehab starts with Triple-A Iowa, going 2-1 with a 5.75 ERA (13 ER/20.1 IP) … allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last three rehab starts, posting a 1.69 ERA (3 ER/16.0 IP) during those outings.

Began the season on the 15-day injured list, as he rehabbed from a capsular tear in his right shoulder that he suffered in July 2022.

Mikey Balhan Sports

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