After a successful homestand that saw them go 5-1, the Mets (25-23) blow into the Windy City to take on the Cubs (20-26). The Mets lost four out of seven to the Cubs last year, though they did win three out of four at Wrigley Field. They’ve lost the season series against Chicago in every season dating back to 2017.
The Mets are coming off their first series sweep since they took all three from the Athletics back in mid-April! In fact, before this recent run, New York hadn’t even won two straight since winning on April 20 and 21 against the Giants. Things began with a 10-9 victory over the Guardians on Friday night, as never say die continued with a Francisco Lindor walk-off hit in the tenth. Before that, the Mets trailed 5-0 and 7-3, as Carlos Carrasco struggled in his first game back. Pete Alonso then hit a game-tying Grand Slam in the seventh, which helped send things into extra innings. Cleveland went ahead with two in the tenth, but the Mets tied it up before Lindor’s game-winning hit against his old team.
After Saturday was washed away due to inclement weather, the Mets returned with a doubleheader sweep on Sunday, which began with a 5-4 victory in Game 1. Max Scherzer hurled six scoreless frames in the first game, and New York carried a 3-0 lead into the eight before the combination of Adam Ottavino and David Robertson surrendered four runs. The Mets re-grabbed the lead in the bottom half of the frame, courtesy of a Starling Marte two-run home run, and Robertson pitched a scoreless ninth to secure the win.
The Mets won a quick and painless series closer 2-1 to close out the sweep against Cleveland. Justin Verlander tossed eight innings of one-run ball, and the Mets got runs in the sixth and eight after falling behind in the first inning. One of those runs came courtesy of a Lindor homer.
As always, it was the Baby Mets who dominated the 5-1 homestand for New York. Francisco Álvarez had some of the biggest hits for the team, including his game-tying homer on Wednesday and another run-scoring hit on Friday night. Overall, he hit .308/.400/.769 with two homers, a team-best 216 wRC+, and a 0.3 fWAR over four games in the past week. Brett Baty, meanwhile, contributed two homers of his own while slashing .333/.429/.722 with a 213 wRC+ and a team-leading 0.4 fWAR in six games.
The Cubs come into play tonight going in the opposite direction as the Mets. They are coming off dropping two out of three to the Phillies, which comes on the heels of them getting swept by the Astros. Overall, the Cubs have lost seven of their last games and have dropped to fourth in the National League Central.
Chicago made a big splash in the offseason when they inked shortstop Dansby Swanson to a seven-year deal worth $177 million. He’s had a great first year for the Cubs, slashing .267/.374/.409 with four homers, a 120 wRC+, and a team-best 1.9 fWAR in 45 games. Cody Bellinger, another offseason signing, is having a nice bounce-back in the Windy City, hitting .271/.337/.493 with seven homers, a 123 wRC+, and a 1.4 fWAR in 37 games. Conversely, Trey Mancini has struggled in his new home, posting a .257/.329/353 slash line with three homers, an 89 wRC+, and a -0.2 fWAR in 41 games.
Tuesday, May 23: Tylor Megill vs. Drew Smyly, 7:40 p.m. on SNY
Megill (2023): 46.1 IP, 35 K, 23 BB, 6 HR, 3.88 ERA, 5.15 FIP, 1.42 WHIP, 0.5 bWAR
Megill picked up a win for the second time in as many outings after hurling six innings and allowing two earned runs against the Rays. He allowed four hits, struck out four, and walked just one. Over his last two starts, he has allowed four runs (three runs) over 11 innings as he has dropped his ERA below four on the season. With David Peterson and Joey Lucchesi sent down, Megill’s performance has allowed him to remain with the big league club following Max Scherzer’s and Carlos Carrasco’s returns.
Smyly (2023): 50.1 IP, 46 K, 10 BB, 5 HR, 2.86 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 0.93 WHIP, 1.6 bWAR
If the season were to end today, Smyly’s ERA would be his best over the course of a full season as a starting pitcher. The left-hander has had a terrific season in his second year in Chicago and currently leads all NL starters in WHIP. Since giving up seven runs in his season debut against the Reds, he has allowed ten runs over his last eight starts. His last time out, he allowed one earned run on four hits with eight strikeouts over six innings against Houston, though it was not enough to help his team pick up a win.
Wednesday, May 24: Kodai Senga vs. Marcus Stroman, 7:40 p.m. on SNY
Senga (2023): 43.0 IP, 55 K, 26 BB, 6 HR, 3.77 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 1.44 WHIP, 0.5 bWAR
Senga is coming off perhaps his finest start of the year. Against a very tough Rays team, he struck out a career-high 12 batters over six stellar innings. He allowed one run on three hits, though he did not factor in the decision. He also tossed a career-high 104 pitches and recorded a career-best 65 strikes, though he did issue three free passes yet again. Still, it was a terrific start for the right-hander to build off of, and something that should excite the franchise and the fans.
Stroman (2023): 56.0 IP, 51 K, 21 BB, 4 HR, 3.05 ERA, 3.58 FIP, 1.14 WHIP, 1.7 bWAR
Stroman has gotten off to a sizzling start for Chicago in his second year with the Cubs. His last start was an especially big one, as he rebounded from his worst start of the year to get back on track. Against Philadelphia, he went six innings and allowed one earned run on three hits, with four strikeouts and two walks. He has now gone six innings or more in eight of his league-leading ten starts in 2023. He faced the Mets once last season, allowing one earned run on one hit over 4 1⁄3 innings.
Thursday, May 25: Carlos Carrasco vs. Jameson Taillon, 7:40 p.m. on SNY
Carrasco (2023): 18.2 IP, 11 K, 10 BB, 4 HR, 8.68 ERA, 6.99 FIP, 1.55 WHIP, -0.7 bWAR
In his return from the IL, Carrasco was plagued by the same issues he exhibited before his injury. He was tagged for three first inning runs and was in trouble all night long. He ended up allowing five earned runs on five hits over five innings, with two walks and three strikeouts. He made to 80 pitches in his return, with 49 of them going for strikes. The Mets will hope Carrasco can get back to form soon, and that his early-season struggles will soon be a thing of the past.
Taillon (2023): 26.2 IP, 27 K, 10 BB, 5 HR, 8.10 ERA, 4.94 FIP, 1.73 WHIP, 0.5 bWAR
At one point, the Mets were rumored to be interested in signing Taillon over this offseason. The Mets have to be happy with how things turned out, as Taillon has really hit a rough patch with the Cubs. In his last start, he was tagged for a season-high eight runs (six earned) on six hits against the Phillies. He walked three while striking out just one batter, and he has now allowed 16 runs (14 earned) over 9 2⁄3 innings in his last three starts.
Prediction: The Mets take two of three from the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
How will the Mets fare in their three game series against the Cubs?
This poll is closed
The Mets make it a second straight sweep!
The Mets swipe two out of three from the Cubs.
The Mets win one but lose two in Wrigley Field.
The Mets get a taste of their own medicine as they’re swept by the Cubs.
Pizza! (New York style, never Chicago style)