The Mets (67-65, 12.5 GB in NL East, 4.0 GB for second Wild Card) try to stop their five-game losing streak and series sweep when they face the Cubs (71-61, 2.0 GB in NL Central, 2.0 GA for second Wild Card) on Thursday night at 7:10 p.m. at Citi Field on SNY.
The Mets have lost four straight games at home for the first time all year and the first time overall since their seven-game skid June 23-29. Despite the losing streak, the Mets have won 14 of their last 19 home games. The Mets are 5-5 in their last 10 games and 21-9 in their last 30 games. As of late, the bullpen is improved -- Mets relievers have combined for a 2.33 ERA with 10 earned runs over 38.2 innings, striking out 51 while walking 26 and allowing 26 hits -- most recently with Wednesday's 6.0 shutout frames against the Cubs. At the plate, Wilson Ramos continues to ride a career-best hitting streak of 21 games -- the longest active streak in baseball -- belting three home runs and 15 RBI while slashing .425/.452/.575 during the stretch since Aug. 3's 7-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. On the season, the catcher has 13 home runs, 64 RBI and a slash line of .290/.354/.417.
|Jason Heyward, CF||Amed Rosario, SS|
|Nicholas Castellanos, RF||Jeff McNeil, 2B|
|Kris Bryant, 3B||J.D. Davis, LF|
|Javier Baez, SS||Pete Alonso, 1B|
|Victor Caratini, 1B||Wilson Ramos, C|
|Addison Russell, 2B||Michael Conforto, RF|
|Tony Kemp, LF||Todd Frazier, 3B|
|Jonathan Lucroy, C||Juan Lagares, CF|
|Jon Lester, LHP||Jacob deGrom, RHP|
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Who is starting for the Mets?
RHP Jacob deGrom (8-7, 2.56 ERA) leads the MLB since May 22 with a 1.88 ERA, going 5-2 over 17 starts with an NL-best 140 strikeouts to 25 walks. Since the All-Star break, the Mets' ace sports a 4-0 record across eight starts, pitching to a 1.04 ERA and 69 strikeouts to 14 walks. Those numbers make for a big reason why deGrom is back in the NL Cy Young conversation. His four August starts have featured a 2-2 mark, 1.38 ERA and 33 strikeouts to five walks. He suffered a tough-luck loss last Thursday, tossing 7.0 innings and limiting the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves to one run on four hits. DeGrom dominated, striking out 13 and walking one before the Mets fell 2-1 in 14 innings.
Who is starting for the Cubs?
LHP Jon Lester (10-9, 4.49 ERA) has struggled in five August starts, going 1-3 with an 8.51 ERA. Across those 24.1 innings, Lester struck out 24 and walked 12 while opposing teams hit .346 against him. After consecutive wins in his starts -- Aug. 11's 6-3 victory against the Cincinnati Reds and Aug. 17's 2-0 edge of the Pirates, in which he went 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA on nine hits and 10 strikeouts to eight walks -- Lester's latest start last Thursday ended in a loss when the Cubs fell 9-3 to the Washington Nationals. Against the Wild Card-leading Nationals, the veteran southpaw allowed six runs on nine hits, striking out two and walking one.
The Mets begin their six-game road trip in the division Friday when they head to Citizens Bank Park and battle the Philadelphia Phillies (69-63, 10.5 GB in NL East, 2.0 GB for second Wild Card) at 7:05 p.m. on SNY. RHP Zack Wheeler (9-7, 4.46 ERA) takes the mound for the Mets against Phillies ace RHP Aaron Nola (12-4, 3.53 ERA).