Cubs vs. Mets: Series Preview (9/12-9/14)

The Cubs had a rough weekend to say the least. The Northsiders scored a grand total of 3 runs in a sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers. What was once a comfortable five game division lead has become a tense two game edge. Now a 19-game sprint to the finish begins for all three teams vying for the NL Central crown.

The New York Mets come to Wrigley amidst the September pressure. To say the Mets are injury ravaged is a total understatement: Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes, Steven Matz, and Michael Conforto have all spent time on the disabled list. The decimated roster has produced a 63-80 record in 2017, a precipitous drop from back-to-back playoff appearances.

The biggest offensive threat currently on New York is Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera is batting .271 with 12 homers in 2017, he demanded a trade early in the year but wasn't moved. Jacob deGrom is the only pitching bright spot with 14 wins and a 3.63 ERA, but he won't pitch against the Cubs this series.


Tuesday: 7:05 pm CT on CSN-C/670AM

Wednesday: 7:05 pm CT on WGN/670AM

Thursday: 7:05 pm CT on ABC-7/670AM



1. Ben Zobrist (2B)

2. Kris Bryant (3B)

3. Anthony Rizzo (1B)

4. Willson Contreras (C)

5. Ian Happ (CF)

6. Kyle Schwarber (LF)

7. Jason Heyward (RF)

8. Javier Baez (SS)

9. Jose Quintana (P)


1. Jose Reyes (2B)

2. Nori Aoki (LF)

3. Asdrubal Cabrera (3B)

4. Travis d'Arnaud (C)

5. Juan Lagares (CF)

6. Dominic Smith (1B)

7. Amed Rosario (SS)

8. Travis Taijeron (RF)

9. Robert Gsellman (P)

Bullpen Usage



via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitchers

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Robert Gsellman: His sinker has an obvious tail, results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has slightly above average velo. His fourseam fastball has essentially average velo and has slight armside run. His slider is thrown extremely hard, has much less depth than expected, has primarily 12-6 movement, generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' sliders and results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sliders. His curve is slightly harder than usual. His change has a lot of backspin, is slightly firmer than usual and has slight armside fade.

Sean's note: Gsellman produces a lot of ground ball contact, over 50 percent of balls put in play. His xFIP (4.72) is significantly lower than his ERA (5.44) so perhaps he's had some bad luck. Right handed hitters hit for a higher average against him than left handers.

Matt Harvey: His fourseam fastball has slight armside run and has slightly above average velo. His slider is thrown extremely hard, has much less depth than expected, has primarily 12-6 movement and results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sliders. His change is slightly firmer than usual and has slight armside fade. His curve has primarily 12-6 movement, is much harder than usual, results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' curves and has little depth. His sinker is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' sinkers, has less armside run than typical, has little sinking action compared to a true sinker and has slightly above average velo.

Sean's note: Matt Harvey is now a shadow of the phenom he was just two years ago, suffering a slew of injuries since 2015, including shoulder surgery last year. When he has pitched in 2017 it's been ugly, a 5.82 ERA (5.14 xFIP) in 15 total starts. He allowed 4 runs in 4 innings against the Cubs in June before leaving with an arm injury. Harvey has surrendered 17 homers in only 77.1 innings in 2017.

Seth Lugo: His fourseam fastball has essentially average velo. His sinker generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' sinkers, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has slight armside run. His curve has a sharp downward bite and has slight glove-side movement. His slider has much less depth than expected and has primarily 12-6 movement. His change generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' changeups.

Sean's note: Lugo doesn't walk or strike out a lot of hitters, pitching to contact more often than not. He allows 35.4 percent hard contact, above league average. Lefties fare better against Lugo than right handers, hitting .288 on the season.

Final Thoughts

The Cubs are in a real race now, their offense has struggled mightily of late, but help has arrived. Willson Contreras is back from his hamstring injury and is starting in the cleanup spot, Willson adds an excellent power bat to a lagging lineup. Kyle Schwarber is back after spending the last three games on the bench. Whether it was really just a matchup thing or something else, Chicago could sure use his bat to heat up the next three weeks. Every game is huge from here on, win these games or stay home in October, the playoffs start now.




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  • The mets have had the cubs # since the '15 nlcs but the cubs should win this series.Jesse rogers wrote an article on espn about hitting bryant lead off then zobrist/la stella 2nd with rizzo and contreras 3 & 4,baez 5th,heyward 6th,almora/jay 7th,pitcher 8th,schwarber/happ 9th to spark the offense more that made a lot of sense.I suggest cubs den reads it he made a lot of valid points.

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    Enough of this so-so play. It's time to get serious. The old saw about it being a marathon and not a sprint--well, now it's a sprint.
    It's so good to have Willson back in the lineup and hopefully he isn't hampered at all and his enthusiasm is contagious and we go on a nice, long run (maybe this is the marathon part) to the beginning of Nov.
    Go Cubs!

  • Thinking Q hits the key double to get 'em going. "Decimated" is an interesting word. It used to mean, to destroy 10% of an army. Now it means to destroy most of - sort of flipped its meaning in an interesting way. "In tact" keeps showing up on the boards here. I'd written to John A about it, apparently it's happening automatically. For all you kids out there, the word for your in formation is "intact." Misspellings spread like a virus. For example, "loath" means "reluctant;" "loathe" means "to hate." Suddenly everyone is loath to say or spell the word loath. Of loath and loathe, only one of the words rhymes with both. Enjoy the game. Life is short, nasty and brutish, except for baseball.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    Honestly think auto-complete on phones does a lot of the spelling and grammar damage. Not only does it not force the writer to think about it, but it isn't perfect in its predictions. I'm sure it saves time overall, but I can't tell you how many times I have had to go back and correct something that was auto-completed.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Indeed, Michael. I continually make up weird spellings in chatting with intimates and it is a constant wrestle. Ya can't be right, and ya can't be wrong.

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    In reply to wastrel:

    Talking about words used or misused my pet peeves are when "amount" is used instead of "number" or "less" and "fewer". When you can count something it's number or fewer--fewer players or the number of players. Amount or less when you can't count--I drank less coffee or had fewer cups for example.
    Sorry Denizens I had to put my 2 cents in.
    Back to the game--right now 2 on no outs and Rizzo up. C'mon Riz!

  • Very 2017 cub first offensive inning. I fully expect Q to now implode to follow suit.

  • In reply to Stubbs:


  • Why start Zoe, Bryant rarely gets doubled up. Am I missing something?

  • In reply to mwillie:

    No, you're not.

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    again RISP! at least they're taking pitches like they did last year but getting a single with no one on is not cutting it when we need it, with runners in scoring position. Also, KB is more and more swinging at that low and away pitch--maybe even more than Javy is now.

  • Cardinals and Brewers come out swinging. Don't know how to describe how we came out.

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    In reply to mwillie:

    listless. No, we had 2 on no out and then fizzled. We could have picked up everyone if we had scored in the 1st. Now it just seems like all the other games, playing from behind even if the score is even. Not taking advantage of our situations.

  • Just a matter of time now. This has a feeling of inevitability.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    uh huh wrong

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    I'm glad KB came through but then giving one back right away almost negates it. Q is pitching ok but throwing a lot of pitches and we're playing a AAAA team.
    One bright spot is that Willson is seeing the ball really well--3 walks and not too aggressive. It's so good to have him back!

  • I saw an interview yesterday and Kris said ( I'm totally making this up), Kris said:

    "I'm gonna kick tomorrow."

  • Schwarber and Bryant each with 26 homers.

  • Omg wilson is warming up.Is a 6 run lead enough to not worry with this guy?

  • In reply to bolla:

    They need JW to find it. Stranger things have happened.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    Or not.

  • Wow this isn't even funny anymore, if the cubs make the postseason wilson better not be on the roster.It's gotta be mental at this point

  • In reply to bolla:

    Yup. Dude needs a hypnotherapist at this point. Diabolical. You trade for a premier reliever and get shades of Carlos Marmol.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    0.94 whip with detroit 2.02 whip with the cubs.That's going from great to terrible.I hope & believe he'll be better next year which is also a contract year for wilson.Look at heywards offensive #'s his contract year with the cardinals compared to the player he's been on the cubs.Players always play good to great when a pay day is around the corner.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Players who play better in contract years do so either because of coincidence, or because they are actually working harder for the entire year (offseason included) of their contract season. Heyward is the former.
    By all accounts he is an incredibly hard worker and has high expectations of himself. The guy moved to Arizona in December to work on his game. It hasn't worked, but not for lack of effort.

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