Cubs-vs-Mets Series Preview

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Rush

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Probable Pitching Matchups

Randy Wells v. Jon Niese

Wells did not get a decision in his last start against the Brewers. In that game, he gave up four runs on 10 hits over 6 1/3 innings while striking out seven. The one mulligan Wells would like to have is a walk he issued to pitcher Dave Bush in the fifth. Bush scored that inning on Rickie Weeks’ two-run double, which gave the Brewers the lead. He last faced the Mets on Sept. 6 in New York, and took the loss, despite giving up one earned run on seven hits over six innings.

Though some defensive blunders undermined Niese last Wednesday in Denver, nothing hurt more than Ryan Spilborgh’s three-run homer to the deepest part of Coors Field. Niese allowed nine hits and one walk in total, striking out two. But the Mets could not do nearly enough offensively to turn those numbers into a win. Niese will now open the Mets homestand against the Cubs, the team that handed him the first loss of his Major League career in 2008.

Carlos Zambrano v. Mike Pelfrey

Zambrano had to leave his last start because of cramps in his right hand and right calf, and also because he threw 121 pitches over five innings. The Brewers were aggressive and fouled a lot of pitches off, which was part of the reason for the high pitch count. Big Z hasn’t thrown that many pitches since he totaled 125 on July 24, 2008. That year, he topped 100 pitches in 18 of his starts, including a 130-pitch game May 28 against the Dodgers. He was 0-1 in two starts against the Mets last season.

Featuring a sharp split-fingered fastball, along with good control of his slider and curve, Mike Pelfrey blanked a potent Rockies offense for seven innings on Thursday in Denver. Continuing to grow more confident in his secondary pitches, Pelfrey is no longer relying solely on his power sinker to generate outs. That much should serve him well against the Cubs, who mustered only one run in eight innings in their lone meeting with Pelfrey last season.

Carlos Silva v. Oliver Perez

Silva is coming off his second straight stellar start to kick off the season, having allowed five hits while striking out five and walking none in seven solid innings during a 7-2 win over the Astros in his first Cubs start at Wrigley Field. Silva last pitched against the Mets on June 18, 2007, when he gave up 10 hits and four runs in six innings in a losing effort as a member of the Twins.

Uncharacteristically throwing his offspeed pitches for strikes, Perez flashed a sharp slider and some stellar control on Friday in St. Louis. That not only helped him negate his dip in fastball velocity, but also allowed him to submit one of his finest efforts of the past two seasons. Whether Perez can sustain his low-velocity success remains to be seen. But if he can continue to feature the type of control he had against the Cardinals, Perez should, at the very least, be serviceable. His next test will come against the Dodgers, who walked seven times but could not beat him last July at Citi Field.

Tom Gorzelanny v. INSERT NAME HERE

Gorzelanny took the loss in his second start of the season, against the Astros on Saturday. The left-hander gave up two runs on three hits in three innings, but he left the game for precautionary reasons after getting hit by line drive on his throwing shoulder. Gorzelanny last stared against the Mets on April 30, 2008, and got the win, pitching five shutout, one-hit innings for the Pirates. It may be Gorzelanny’s final chance to prove he deserves to stay in the starting rotation with Ted Lilly scheduled to come off the 15-day disabled list and rejoin the starting staff.

All scouting reports taken from MLB.com

Golden Nuggets from Mets Camp

We’re the proud beneficiaries of two sets of notes on the Mets from two very good bloggers, Eddie Kranepool Society & Mets Today

The first comes from Kranepool:

As I write this preview, the New York Mets are trying to win just their ninth series in the last forty-one going back to 2009. The injuries and poor play of the 2009 have been well documented and the feeling in spring training was one of show and tell. The starting rotation has no new members but the bullpen has had a bit of an overhaul. The offense has been somewhat offensive with the inability to get runners in scoring position, inept base running and head scratching lineups. Ladies and gentlemen presenting the 2010 New York Mets.
The Mets rank 13th in runs scored in the NL, just ahead of your Cubs. The big bat so far this young season belongs to Speaker of the Clubhouse, Jeff Francoeur who leads the team in batting average (.381) HR (3) and RBI (8) and “Frenchie” has drawn 7 BB which is two months worth for the free swinging right fielder. David Wright has started off strong with a 1.068 OPS and that’s where the positives end. Jason Bay has turned into a K machine and has yet to go yard this season. The catalyst of the offense, Jose Reyes still needs a couple of coats of Rust-Oleum for his bat as he comes back from season ending surgery on his hammy and a bout with a Hyper-Thyroid.
The fact that the Mets batters had tough time getting any offense off Cardinal position players Felipe Lopez and Jeff Mather is a huge indictment of the Mets offensive ineptitude.

Pitching wise the Mets have been surprisingly good. No matter the opponent when Johan Santana starts, the Mets can beat any opponent. It’s after Santana is when it gets dicey. Mike Pelfrey has pitched very well and Ollie Perez has been more good Ollie than bad. As I type this, John Maine is ready to take the mound against the Cardinals to pitch for his baseball life. Another bad outing and Maine could be jettison to the bullpen, replaced by Fernando Nieve. To prove the unsettling state of the Mets rotation, Jon Niese and pitching neophyte was ticketed to be the fifth starter but has moved up to the three spot.

The bullpen has been stellar with the everyday duo of Nieve and Pedro Feliciano. The Japanese expatriates, RHP Ryota Igarashi and LHP Hisanori Takahashi have been outstanding. The Mets got lucky when ineffective RHP Sean Green went down with a rib injury and was replaced by LHP Ruben Valdes who fits much better than Green as the Mets were desperate for a second left handed arm in the pen. Everyone but Omar Minaya and the Mets front office feel that 20 year old RHP Jenry Mejia should be working as a starting pitcher for the Mets Double A team in Binghamton NY but he has shown brilliance and poise way beyond his age. With the Mets inability to be ahead at the end of games, we have not yet seen the real Frankie Rodriguez.

Defensively the biggest upgrade for the 2010 Mets has been behind the plate as both Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco deserve praise for the good run the pitching staff has been on lately. For some reason Manager Jerry Manuel continues to platoon the done as dinner, Gary Mathews Jr. with the more than cape able Angel Pagan in CF as the club awaits brilliant CF Carlos Beltran to return from spring knee surgery.

Manager Jerry Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen are both on very thin ice and most feel it’s a matter of when not if both will be relieved of their duties. The more series the Mets lose the hotter it gets and the more ice that melts both Manuel and Warthen could soon be swimming with the fishes.

Mets Today chimes in with the following:

The Mets lineup features All-Stars David Wright, Jose Reyes, and top free agent Jason Bay, but those names haven’t been enough to power the offense. The Mets are hitting an anemic .180 with runners in scoring position through the first eleven games, and were blanked by St. Louis pitching through 18 innings of play on Saturday night — which included a shutout inning by middle infielder Felipe Lopez. The hottest hitter thus far has been Jeff Francoeur, who was hitting well over .400 going into this past weekend’s series with St. Louis, but has since cooled.

Unfortunately for the Mets, the pitching staff hasn’t done much to make up for the lack of offense. Perennial Cy Young candidate Johan Santana has been effective but not quite himself, and the next four spots in the rotation are a roll of the dice. Eternal enigma Oliver Perez continues his Jekyll and Hyde routine, John Maine seems to have lost both his confidence and his fastball, and young lefty Jon Niese has been predictably inconsistent. Niese actually gives Mets fans more confidence on the mound than the aforementioned veterans, and can be tough when his big overhand curve is working. Mike Pelfrey is beginning to show signs of finally having that breakout season, thanks in part to a new split-finger fastball / forkball he’s been using as an off-speed pitch.

Frankie Rodriguez leads the Mets bullpen, but has been shaky early on. The current setup man is Japanse import Ryota Igarashi, who has fashioned a 95 MPH heater and a hard-sinking split. Pedro Feliciano returns as the LOOGY and is bound to be seen at least twice in every series. Another import from Japan, Hisanori Takahashi, is a soft-tossing lefty in the long man role, and Fernando Nieve has been used both in long stints and as a 7th / 8th inning guy. Nieve’s hard sinker translates well to his role.

Overall the Mets do not look like a playoff-bound team, and, short of a minor miracle, Jerry Manuel could be the first NL manager to be axed.

Preview from a view from the bleachers blog.
http://viewfromthebleachers.com/blog/2010/04/19/cubs-mets-series-preview/
 

cubsjunkie

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I love doing series previews!

I'm looking forward to actually being able to watch the game tonight. Damn Wisconsin.
 

daddies3angels

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we need to take to def. split. hopefully we can get 3 out 4. we really have to win 2 out of first three with santana going the 4th game.
 

CBPtOSU

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VFTB!!?? Holy shit!! I'm a regular poster there, my SN is Terrelle Pryor 2 over there. Are any Cubs fans here members of VFTB, and if so, what is your SN there?
 
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CubbieBlue

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The way they are playing right now the Mets have the chance to sweep us. We need to score some damn runs.
 
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