Mets vs. Cubs Series Preview

Mets vs Cubs: Snakebitten Edition

I don’t want to be cliche and use the “this is a trap series” but this is a trap series. When playing well, the Mets have a bad habit of playing down to their competition. This is a young team and I expect lapses such as this, but I am hoping they go out and put the foot to them. Because folks, the Cubs are not very good. The team might be tough to watch, but here are some players worth keeping an eye out for:

Starlin Castro: .308/.321/.451 to go with 6 HRs, 38 RBI and 16 stolen bases (though he’s been caught 8 times) are pretty solid numbers. Sure, his OBP is a bit unsightly at .321 but he’s a solid offensive player. I know he is not a popular player amongst the hardcore number-crunchers and is prone to mental lapses, but he always seems to be around the action.

Bryan LaHair: What a great story. Lahair was only given a roster spot to keep the seat warm for uber-prospect Anthony Rizzo, yet he’s turned into an offensive force the first half of the season: .286/.367/.543 with 13 bombs. Nice job from the 29-year-old minor league veteran! Also, I snagged him as a free agent in my fantasy league before he really took off.

Alfonso Soriano: good news: 13 souvenirs and 43 RBI, but batting a slash line of .265/.317/.478 and flat-out awful defense to go along with the worst contract in baseball. Remember, bringing up someone’s contract makes them worse of a ballplayer.

Darwin Barney: This would be the Cubs version of Justin Turner — scrappy, fan favorite, and does the little things to help the team win. My money is on him being the thorn on the Mets’ side during this series.

Anthony Rizzo: He is currently tearing up AAA now at a ridiculous clip: .349 with 23 HRs and 62 rib-eye steaks. No, I did not type the wrong numbers. He is not with the club now, but do not be surprised if he gets called to The Show by game time on Monday. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts to MLB pitching this time around.

Probable Pitching Match-ups:

Monday, June 25th at 8:05pm: Johan Santana (5-3 3.00 ERA) vs Travis Wood (1-3 4.14 ERA)

When he was with the Reds, I thought Wood had a shot at being a solid middle-of-the-rotation guy. He doesn’t give up too many hits nor walk many; in 41 1/3 innings he’s allowed 33 hits and 19 walks. Because he does not strike out many, either, he is around the plate and can be hittable.

Tuesday, June 26th at 8:05pm: Dillon Gee (5-5 4.27 ERA) vs. Randy Wells (1-2 4.91 ERA)

Yikes! In 25 innings, Wells has allowed 29 hits and 20 walks to go with opponents hitting .296 against him. Who is willing to take the bet that this is the game the Mets lose?

Wednesday, June 27th at 2:20pm: Jon Niese (5-3 3.75 ERA) vs Jeff Samardzija (5-6 4.34 ERA)

This kid has some filthy stuff; it’s going to be a good matchup vs Niese. Samardzija averages over nine strikeouts per nine innings, and has only walked 30 in 83 innings — but, he gives up a shade over nine hits per nine innings. Good game to play hooky and watch, or at least listen to on the radio.

Other Delicious Tidbits:

The Cubs are 14-19 at home and a woeful 6-15 so far in June. No bueno.

In one-run games, the Cubbies are 8-17. We’ve been there, Cubs fans, we feel your pain.

They haven’t had a winning streak longer than 3 and have lost as many as 12 in a row.

Final Series Thoughts

The Cubs are terrible. Theo Epstein is in the midst of tearing this organization down from top to bottom and have the look of it. Their best pitcher, Matt Garza, will probably be on a contender by the trading deadline. Their starters are inconsistent and their bullpen is terrible. If you thought watching Frank Francisco was bad, be lucky you don’t have to watch Carlos Marmol. The Cubs offense is all or nothing. I would not be surprised with a sweep, but I see the Mets taking 2 of 3.

One last note, with Franky Frank hurt I would love to see Bobby Parnell get another shot at closing. I’ve been fascinated with his stuff for years and think it’s a worth a shot. If Batista is closing games I might do violent things to innocent, inanimate, furry creatures (teddy bears losing limbs will not be out of the question).

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David Gogel is a lifelong Mets fan. Follow him on Twitter @troonooyawker.