After six games, the New York Mets finally found the win column for the first time in August last night. The chance to win the series against one of the hottest teams in baseball is now a possibility with another victory tonight, and we’ll preview the game before going over which side I like to be up after the first five innings.
The Mets were desperate for an ideal pitching matchup, and last night, they got it. Prior to the long rain delay the teams had to endure, New York jumped all over Cubs starter Drew Smyly. By New York, I mean Pete Alonso since he drove in the team’s first five runs of the game with two home runs. Ultimately after the rain delay, Alonso would pick up a sixth RBI in the 8th inning, giving the Mets an 11-2 win.
New York also got a much-needed strong start from Kodai Senga, who gave them six innings with two earned runs and six strikeouts. Tonight, the Mets will send one of their struggling starters to the mound in, Carlos Carrasco. The veteran righty has had four straight outings in which he’s allowed four or more earned runs and six or more hits. Over his 16 starts, Carrasco is now pitching to a 6.60 ERA in 76.3 innings of work.
Having to face the Cubs lineup tonight is likely the last thing a struggling starter would want to do. Despite only scoring two runs last night, the Cubs still picked up nine hits, and Cody Bellinger continued his phenomenal season by going 3-3 with two RBIs. Chicago has only scored less than five runs in three of their last seven games, so holding them down for consecutive nights will be a real challenge for the New York pitching staff.
On the mound tonight for Chicago will be right-hander Jameson Taillon, who is set to make his 20th start. After an abysmal start to the year, Taillon has given the Cubs a nice stretch of outings, as he has allowed two or fewer earned runs in five of his last six starts.
The Cubs F5 run-line of (-.5) can be found at (+100), and I’ll be backing them for my play. Yesterday, I was all over the Mets' moneyline based on the situation and some other factors, but today I think the Cubs have advantages all over the field, especially in the starting pitching department.
Even after last night’s loss, the Cubs are still hitting .265 and rank 10th in OPS and wRC+ against right-handed pitching on the road over the last month. Chicago now faces a starter who is in the 5th percentile for hard hit percentage, 3rd percentile for expected batting average, and 2nd percentile for xERA/xwOBA. Carrasco also has a batting average against of .315 in 30.2 home innings.
On the other hand, New York may have been able to jump on the struggling lefty yesterday, but when facing righties at home over the last month, they are hitting .224. Jameson Taillon poses as a much tougher matchup for them than Smyly did, as Taillon is coming off a July in which he had a 2.67 ERA in 30.1 innings, and when pitching on the road, the right-hander has a batting average against of .201 in 40 innings.
Chicago Cubs F5 (-.5)(+100)