Cubs/Mets: Series Prediction

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(Photo: http://davepolaski.blogspot.com/2011_07_01_archive.html)

With a horrific overall road record of 10-21, it’s nice to see the Cubs return home for their next series against the New York Mets. They currently have a 10-13 record at Wrigley Field, and are in desperate need of a W after suffering three shutouts in their past five games.

Like every other team in baseball, the Mets have a better record than their Chicago opponents. They have a .491 winning percentage and are 3.5 games back in their division (NL East). The Cubs sit 13 games back with a .370 winning percentage. More importantly, the Mets are 7-3 in their last 10 games and are looking to continue a three-game winning streak.

The Mets actually have a much better road record, ranking eighth in all of baseball, while falling to 27th for their record at home. Poor Cubs. This is probably one series they would have preferred to play outside of Wrigley…

Do I think this series will be difficult to win? Yes.

Do I think the Cubs have a chance? Definitely.

Why? I thought you’d never ask.

To put it simply, the Cubs are just a different team in the comfort of their own stadium. Looking at past series they’ve hosted, they have managed to come out on top of some great teams.

The Cubs lost their most recent series (which was on the road), that included two blowouts by their Milwaukee rivals. Honestly, that was probably expected. The Brewers are first in the NL Central and have a 34-23 record. But when Cubs played host, they went 2-1 to win the series and actually shut out the Brewers in Game 2. Additionally, the game they lost was by a single run.

Another example with another rival: The St. Louis Cardinals, who have a 30-27 record and are 2nd in the NL Central division. The four-game series at Busch Stadium is still undetermined because Game 3 was rained out, but the Cubs only hold the option of splitting the series after losing Game 2 and Game 4. I can’t discount the 17-5 slaughter that was Game 1, but it was disappointing to see that followed up by two losses. Taking a look at the three-game series played in Chicago earlier that month, the Cubs consistently performed. They went 2-1 to win the series, also shutting out the Cards in Game 2. Following another similar pattern, the loss in Game 3 was only by one run.

The Mets lead the Cubs in both hitting and pitching, and are ranked just one slot below the Cubs in fielding. They are clearly a better team, but who isn’t?

What the Cubs have on their side, outside of home-field advantage, is frustration. Anthony Rizzo made that perfectly clear after being tossed from Sunday’s 9-0 shutout in Milwaukee. This team has talent, yet sits in last place by a comfortable margin. Fans are not the only ones upset. The players can, and should, utilize this frustration to start performing to their potential.

Also, the Mets are due for a loss. This season, they are 0-4 after three or more consecutive wins. The Cubs also have a better home run percentage. I’m looking at Mike Olt, who is 1-for-20 with 12 strikeouts, to step up (after sitting Game 1). The rookie comfortably leads the National League with nine home runs and 24 RBIs. It’s time for him to remind MLB why he deserves to be at the top.

Matchups and Predictions:

Jake Arrieta will outperform Zack Wheeler on the mound, and the return of Hector Rondon should secure a quick, successful close of Game 1.

The pitching matchup between Edwin Jackson and Daisuke Matsuzaka in Game 2 will probably be the most difficult for the Cubs, and a long one for fans. Jackson averages 25.1 seconds between pitches, seventh slowest in baseball, and Matsuzaka averages about 23.9 seconds.

Despite a high ERA (5.15) and coming off of a terrible start against the Brewers, Travis Wood looks better than Jacob deGrom. The Mets righty has a respectable 2.42 ERA, but remains winless this season.

Assuming pitching works in their favor, I predict the Cubs to win the series 2-1. I also expect the offense to improve with the Cubs returning to Wrigley.

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  1. Afternoon Relievers | Cubbies Clubhouse with Driscoll - June 3, 2014

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