Mets vs. Cubs MLB Preview

Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs is congratulated by Javier Baez #9. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images/AFP

Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs is congratulated by Javier Baez #9. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images/AFP

Chicago fans are encouraged to dress accordingly for tonight’s game when the low-50s are projected on the thermometer. Cubs fans are also encouraged to bring their brooms in anticipation of sweeping the New York Mets on Thursday’s baseball betting card.

 

New York Mets vs. Chicago Cubs

at Wrigley Field

Chicago looks to climb back to .500 in the standings with a win in the finale, while also dropping New York to an even record in the process. The Cubs took the first two contests, closer Craig Kimbrell snuffing a Mets rally attempt for a 3-1 final in Tuesday’s opener before bashing away for a 16-4 rout on Wednesday.

Winning the first two games of the series gives Chicago a 6-game string of dubyas over New York, the streak stretching back to June 2019. Wednesday’s blowout also left totals 4-2-1 O/U/P in the last seven matchups played on the Windy City’s North Side.

Mets with Slim Lead in Tight NL East Race

New York skipper Luis Rojas is sending Joey Lucchesi (0-1, 5.40) to the mound in hopes of staving off Chicago’s brooms, and FanDuel has the Mets’ priced as -134 chalk to do just that. Cubs skipper David Ross counters with Trevor Williams (2-1, 5.02), and the total has yet to be released, as is customary for games at Wrigley.

Steve Cohen, New York’s new boss, can’t be pleased with his team’s performance on Wednesday when the Mets committed four errors. Those fielding gaffes led to five unearned runs for the Cubs, and pushed the Mets to the bottom of the National League in fielding efficiency.

Lucchesi takes the mound for the second time this season as a starter, with both of his previous two appearances coming on the road. He threw two very clean innings of relief in his season debut at Philadelphia, then got the nod to start for New York last Saturday at Colorado where the Mets were small favorites at USA betting sites. The Rockies plated three in the first off Lucchesi, who was lifted after three innings and 55 pitches.

Both of Lucchesi’s previous two starts against the Cubs came at Wrigley Field while pitching for the Padres. The former 4 th-round pick out of SE Missouri State worked a combined 10 innings during those 2018 and 2019 assignments, allowing eight earned runs. Chicago’s Javier Baez is 5-for-6 lifetime against Lucchesi, slapping a pair of homers.

‘Over’ Cashes 3 of Cubs’ Last 4 at Home

Chicago was definitely helped along by New York’s miscues out in the field on Wednesday, but Cubs hitters also did an excellent job taking advantage of them by going 8-for-15 with runners in scoring position. That’s an area the Cubs have been lacking the first couple of weeks, and they’re still last in the NL with a .201 overall batting average.

Williams has enjoyed two good starts off the Wrigley Field bump this season, with a real stinker at Pittsburgh sandwiched between those winning outings. His latest assignment was against the Braves last Saturday when the former Arizona State star worked five innings and allowed just one run on four hits as a small underdog on the MLB odds.

The 28-year-old righthander has yet to allow a homer in 14.1 innings this season, and he’ll be facing the Mets for the fourth time in his career. Williams’ previous three appearances against New York were all starts while he pitched for the Pirates, and he’s 2-1 with a 2/84 ERA (19 IP).

Umpire Notes, Windy City Weather & A Free Pick

Nic Lentz, the least experienced member of Joe West’s crew, is up next in the rotation to call balls and strikes. The Michigan native is making his third plate assignment of 2021, his first two contests halving the totals at 1-1 O/U. Lentz’s six previous games at the Wrigley Field dish have resulted in a 3-2-1 O/U/P record. West will be at first base, inching one game closer to Bill Klem’s record of umpiring 5,369 regular season MLB games.

It’s going to be a sunny and cool day in Chicago, the thermometer only climbing into the mid-50s by late afternoon and tapering off towards the 40s as the game progresses. The weatherman is also forecasting an 8-10 mph breeze from the southwest (out to center). It’s not a big wind, but the fact it’s blowing out should have us looking at 8½, maybe even 9 for the total.

The pressure is squarely on the Mets in this one, especially coming off such an ugly effort on Wednesday. Chicago has been the underdog in the first two games, and my free MLB pick will be on the North Side 9 completing the underdog sweep on Thursday.

MLB pick: Cubs +114 at FanDuel

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