After sweeping the lowly Cincinnati Reds, the Chicago Cubs ran into trouble against the New York Mets on Thursday night. Conversely, the NY Mets had returned home after being swept by the Nationals in Washington and losing four straight going into the series opener against Chicago, still the best team in the MLB. With just three games left before the Mets hit the mid-point of their season, they are holding on to the fifth overall spot in the National League, with the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins hot on their tails for the final Wild Card spot.
This was the first time the Mets and Cubs had played each other since last season’s NLCS series, in which New York prevented Chicago from reaching the World Series. Unlike the Back to the Future Part II prediction of the Cubs sweeping Miami in the 2015 World Series, it was New York that swept the Cubs in the 2015 National League Championship Series. That gives the Mets five straight wins over the Cubs, with Chicago having swept both three-game series from last year’s regular season contests before that.
New York Mets vs. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs held the lead from the get-go with a two-run homer from Kris Bryant, their second batter of the game. It lasted through the Top of the sixth when Javier Baez hit his eighth home run of the season, a single-run shot that gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead. The Mets would answer with a single-run homer of their own in the Bottom of the sixth from Yoenis Cespedes, his 19th home run of the season. In the Bottom of the seventh, Brandon Nimmo singled to center and drove home Travis d’Arnaud. After a throwing error on the next play, Alejandro De Aza and Brandon Nimmo reached home, giving New York the 4-3 lead they would keep until the game ended.
Erik Goeddel (1-0, 1.08 ERA) was awarded the win for the Mets after finishing up the fifth inning and completing the sixth without giving up a single hit or run. Despite giving up two walks and a hit in the Bottom of the ninth, Jeurys Familia was awarded his 27th save of the season, more than anyone else in the Majors. For Game 2 on Friday night, the Cubs are scheduled to start Jason Hammel (7-4, 2.58 ERA) while the Mets will look to Jacob deGrom (3-4, 2.67 ERA).
For Game 3 on Saturday, two marquee names will take the mound as the Chicago Cubs start 2015’s Cy Young Award Winner Jake Arrieta (12-2, 2.10 ERA). Pitching for the New York Mets will be 2005 Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon, a three-time MLB All-Star and the oldest active player in the league at the age of 42. The fourth and final game of this regular season series will see Jon Lester (9-3, 2.03 ERA) pitching for the Cubs on Sunday afternoon, while Noah Syndergaard (8-3, 2.49 ERA) pitches for the Mets.
Heading into Friday’s game, the Chicago Cubs (51-27) are still the best team in baseball and lead the second-place St. Louis Cardinals (40-38) by 11 games in the NL Central. The Pittsburgh Pirates (38-41) are just 2.5 games behind the Cards, leaving them in third place. They are 3.5 games out of Wild Card contention, whereas St. Louis is just one game out. The fourth-place Milwaukee Brewers (35-43) trail Chicago by 16 games, while the Cincinnati Reds (29-51) remain firmly in last place, having one of the worst records in baseball.
In the NL East, the New York Mets (41-37) are six games behind first-place Washington Nationals (48-32) but remain fifth overall in the National League. The Miami Marlins (41-38) are just 0.5 games behind and are currently in the midst of a series with the Atlanta Braves (27-52), the worst team in the division. The Philadelphia Phillies (35-45) are in fourth place, 13 games behind the Nationals.
The San Francisco Giants (50-31) lead the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers (44-37) by 6 games in the NL West. The Colorado Rockies (37-41) are 5.5 games behind the Dodgers and 2.5 games ahead of the fourth-place Arizona Diamondbacks (36-45). The San Diego Padres (33-46) are in fifth place, 16 games behind the Giants.
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Where To Watch Chicago Cubs vs. NY Mets
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday’s games featuring the Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets will be at Citi Field in New York City. Friday night’s game begins at 6:10 p.m. CT and will air on WGN. The third game of the series will be July 2 at 6:15 p.m. CT and will air on FOX. The fourth and final game of the Cubs/Mets series will be on Sunday afternoon at 12:10 p.m. CT and will air on WGN. Tickets for all three games between the Chicago Cubs and NY Mets on can be purchased directly through the Mets’ website.
[Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images]