Monday, July 18th, 2016

MLB 2016 Game #5: Mets vs. Cubs

After taking two of three games against the American League West-leading Texas Rangers (55-38, .591), the Chicago Cubs (55-36, .604) started the second half of the 2016 season on the right foot. Now, the defending National League champions, the New York Mets (49-42, .538), roll into Wrigley Field for three games.

The Mets' second half commenced by winning two of three on the road against the Philadelphia Phillies. Jacob deGrom dominated on Sunday by pitching a one-hit shutout. Currently, the Mets are in second place in the National League East trailing the Washington Nationals by six games. While it's still too early to focus on the wild card standings, the Mets and Miami Marlins are tied for the second NL spot.

The Mets will send 25-year-old Steven Matz (7-5, 3.38 ERA) to the mound. Matz's last start came against the Washington Nationals and he lasted seven innings while allowing three runs in a losing effort.

Jon Lester (9-4, 3.01 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Cubs. During his last two starts prior to the All-Star Game, the 32-year-old lefty was hammered. On July 3, Lester pitched the shortest stint of his career when he was pulled after one and third innings and surrendered eight earned runs to the Mets in Citi Field. He followed that performance by pitching three innings on the road against the Pittsburgh Pirates and giving up five earned runs.

(Not So) Fun Fact: The last time I saw the Mets clash with the Cubs was during Game 3 of the 2015 National League Championship at Wrigley Field. My first postseason experience at the Friendly Confines was tarnished when the Mets pushed the Cubs to the edge of elimination with a 5-2 win. With the win, the Mets gained a 3-0 series lead.

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