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Up Next: Mets vs Chicago Cubs

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After taking two (and almost three) from the Beermakers, the Mets roll into Chicago to take on the central division leading Cubs.

Record

NL CENTRAL W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA Streak Last 10
Chicago Cubs 57 50 .533 - 29-26 28-24 501 442 Lost 1 6-4
Milwaukee 58 51 .532 - 37-19 21-32 524 497 Lost 2 3-7
St. Louis 50 55 .476 6 25-25 25-30 463 553 Lost 2 5-5
Houston 46 61 .430 11 28-25 18-36 473 552 Lost 3 5-5
Pittsburgh 44 62 .415 12.5 25-30 19-32 440 525 Won 2 3-7
Cincinnati 45 64 .413 13 24-29 21-35 497 567 Lost 5 4-6
W L RS RA W1 L1 W2 L2 W3 L3
57. 49. 495 432 59.6 46.4 58.9 47.1 56.8 49.2

W1 and L1 are the expected wins and losses based on runs scored and runs allowed.
W2 and L2 are the expected wins and losses based on BP's equivalence runs scored and allowed.
W3 and L3 are similar to W2 and L2 but adjusted for strength of schedule.

The Cubbies are right where they should be, record-wise. Their actual won-loss ledger is supported by their run differential.

Starting Rotation

Player W L ERA IP H/9 K/9 BB/9 HR/9 VORP
*Carlos Zambrano 14 7 3.47 150.1 7.18 7.66 3.89 1.02 34.8
*Ted Lilly 11 5 3.60 137.2 7.78 7.26 2.29 1.05 31.0
Rich Hill 6 6 3.67 127.2 7.83 8.32 3.10 1.48 26.1
Sean Marshall 5 4 3.10 69.2 8.40 6.20 2.84 0.78 18.8
*Jason Marquis 8 6 4.22 128.0 8.23 5.06 3.66 1.20 12.7

* asterisks denote probable starters vs Mets
() parentheses denote negative numbers
italics denote left-handed pitchers

Bad draw for the Mets as they are saddled with two of the Cubs' three best starters, including impending free agent Carlos Zambrano. The Cubs were ridiculed for spending money so freely last offseason, but one place it has worked out so far is with Ted Lilly. His walk rate and strikeout-to-walk rate are both career best right now. Jason Marquis got off to a terrible start but has actually been pretty decent this season.

WPA Top Two
Carlos Zambrano, 2.00 WPA
Ted Lilly, 1.28 WPA

WPA Bottom Two
Wade Miller, -0.86 WPA
Jason Marquis, 0.02 WPA

Starting Lineup

Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG SB CS VORP NL Rank
Jason Kendall C 41 .229 .325 .286 0 0 (-0.6) 26/31
Derrek Lee 1B 418 .326 .414 .507 4 4 33.6 4/28
Mike Fontenot* 2B 168 .305 .347 .455 5 2 8.1 12/30
Ryan Theriot SS 365 .283 .353 .370 19 4 11.1 9/27
Aramis Ramirez 3B 358 .318 .358 .547 0 0 28.2 5/29
Alfonso Soriano LF 458 .298 .338 .517 18 4 27.9 4/31
Jacque Jones* CF 300 .242 .309 .338 2 2 (-6.6) 22/31
Cliff Floyd* RF 217 .294 .359 .396 0 0 5.1 16/28

* asterisks denote left-handed batters
# pound signs denote switch-hitters
rankings are based on VORP for players with at least 100 PA

Mixed bag here, as usual. Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano are all in the top five among National Leaguers at their respective positions. Something for the Mets to note about Soriano and Ramirez in particular: They never walk. In 458 plate appearances Soriano has drawn 20 unintentional walks. In 358 plate appearances Ramirez has drawn 17 unintentional walks. Former Met Cliff Floyd has done well in the on-base department, but his power seems to have all but disappeared. Jacque Jones has been a full two-thirds of a win worse than a replacement level outfielder this season, and Jason Kendall is right at replacement level.

WPA Top Two
Aramis Ramirez, 3.29 WPA
Derrek Lee, 2.03 WPA

WPA Bottom Two
Jacque Jones, -1.80 WPA
Ronny Cedeno, -0.97 WPA

Bullpen

Player ERA IP H/9 K/9 BB/9 HR/9 VORP
Ryan Dempster 2.95 39.2 6.13 8.39 4.31 0.23 11.3
Bob Howry 4.10 52.2 9.57 7.52 2.05 0.85 8.7
Scott Eyre 5.71 34.2 11.68 8.05 6.75 0.78 0.3
Carlos Marmol 1.59 39.2 5.67 12.03 3.86 0.45 18.2
Rocky Cherry 3.55 12.2 7.82 7.82 3.55 0.71 2.1
Michael Wuertz 3.51 48.2 8.14 9.06 4.07 0.92 11.0
Will Ohman 3.82 30.2 8.80 8.51 3.52 0.88 6.6

Lots of strikeout pitchers in the Cubbie bullpen, but plenty of walks, too. They have actually put together a pretty solid relief corps here, though Dempster is always a few pitches away from a meltdown at any given moment.

WPA Top Two
Ryan Dempster, 1.58 WPA
Carlos Marmol, 1.49 WPA

WPA Bottom Two
Scott Eyre, -1.24 WPA
Will Ohman, -0.75 WPA

Bench

Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG SB CS VORP
Koyie Hill# Bench1 91 .162 .233 .287 0 0 (-5.3)
Mark DeRosa Bench2 360 .288 .369 .433 0 2 13.6
Ronny Cedeno Bench3 47 .143 .178 .310 1 1 (-4.3)
Angel Pagan# Bench4 151 .275 .320 .457 4 1 5.2
Matt Murton Bench5 143 .252 .336 .339 1 0 (-1.0)

Mark DeRosa has actually been solid, and does start quite a bit all over the field. Former Met farmhand Angel Pagan has shown decent pop off the bench. The rest of these guys have been dreck.

Manager

Strategy # Times NL Rank
Pinch Hit 158 11/16
Stolen Base Attempts 89 7/16
Sacrifice Bunts 36 13/16

Lou Piniella is in the middle of the pack with respect to the basic managerial tendencies.

Key Injuries

Kerry Wood
Henry Blanco
Daryle Ward
Wade Miller
Angel Guzman

Payroll

Team Payroll MLB Rank
$99,936,999 8/30