The Chicago Cubs (8-9) and New York Mets (7-6) will meet Thursday to finish off a three-game set at Wrigley Field. The Cubs have taken the first two games by a combined score of 19-5, and aim to reach .500 with an April sweep.
The Mets had a strange beginning to the 2021 campaign. The first series of their season was postponed due to Covid protocols, and they’ve been the victims of a few rain-outs. Even with that, though, the Mets strolled into Wrigley field on Tuesday with a 7-4 record.
My pick: Cubs (+102) as home underdogs
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Despite Winning Results, Mets Hitting Amongst the Worst
The Mets had just swept three games from the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field and took two of three from the Rockies at Coors. They have, though, since dropped the first two games of their series against the Cubs to fall to 7-6, and now the hitting struggles have become magnified as the results haven’t been what they want.
This quick shift to poor results should not come as too much of a surprise. After all, they have an expected winning % of around 45% given that their run differential is -14. They have also scored, by far, the fewest runs of anybody in baseball so far this season with 42.
The Mets also aren’t hitting for any power, sitting dead last in ISO (.114) home runs (9) and nearly last in in Slugging % (27th). They are also last in Barrels per Plate Appearance. The good news for the Mets is that they get on base at a .331 clip, good for 4th in baseball.
As for the starting pitcher for the Mets, Joey Lucchessi, he has only pitched 11 innings since 2020. That would include just five innings so far this season. In those five innings, he has struck out six and walked nobody. Lucchesi’s xERA is actually 1.90, implying he’s had some bad luck in his first five innings pitched this season. Don’t expect Lucchesi to have a long outing in this one, as the Mets have been using him as a long reliever type so far. While his expected numbers are good, I don’t think he’ll be much of a difference maker against a hot Cubs team.
Cubs are MLBs Best Hitting Team the Last Seven Days
Nobody really expected much from the Cubs this season. Up until the previous two games against the Mets, all people could talk about with the Cubs was how they were going to go about breaking it all up and moving forward with the organization.
While that may still be the overarching theme of this team, scoring 16 runs on Wednesday provided a brief distraction. That 16 run outburst has been a great thing for the Cubs’ team power numbers.
They are currently 9th in ISO and 12th in HR. Over the last seven days, the Cubs also have the best OPS in baseball at .921, the third best BB% and third most RBI. Without a shadow of a doubt, the Cubs are seeing the ball well at the plate.
Pitching for the Cubs is right-hander Trevor Williams. In 14.1 IP this season, Williams owns a 5.02 ERA with below average K% and BB%. What Trevor Williams does well, though, is avoid barrels and limit extra base hits. Williams’ xERA is also at 3.94. He’s more of a 4 ERA pitcher than a 5 ERA pitcher, especially against an offense as quiet as the Mets’.
Take the Cubs as Home Underdogs
I like the Cubs (+102) as home underdogs tonight. Outside of the fact that they have been the best hitting team in baseball the last seven days, we can also see a lot of big money on the Cubs. They opened at +115. In fact, I would not be surprised to see them as the favorites by first pitch.
The Mets are in a real bad spot offensively. I don’t think Joey Lucchesi is going to be the stopper of this skid either. Take a crack at the Cubs tonight, as the Mets look forward to getting out of Wrigley and having their ace on the mound tomorrow to stop the bleeding.