MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs

Cubs Series Preview September 12-14

After wrapping up a surprising 5-2 homestand with a blowout loss on Sunday, the Mets travel to the Friendly Confines for a three-game set against the defending World Series champions.

Chicago holds a tenuous grip on first place after being swept by Milwaukee over the weekend.

Leading St. Louis by two games and the Brewers by 2.5 in the NL Central, the unsteady Cubs will try to regain their footing in a division that remains very much up for grabs.

When and Where

Game 1: Tuesday @ 8:05 p.m. EST (TV: SNY; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)

Game 2: Wednesday @ 8:05 p.m. EST (TV: SNY; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)

Game 3: Thursday @ 8:05 p.m. EST (TV: SNY; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)

Baseball Weather

Tuesday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of a rain shower and a low of 62F; Winds between 5-10 mph

Wednesday: Fair with a low of 59F; Winds between 5-10 mph

Thursday: Clear with a low near 60F; Winds between 5-10 mph

Probable Pitching Matchups

Tuesday: RHP Robert Gsellman (6-6, 5.44 ERA, 6.30 DRA, .317 TAv, -0.8 WARP) vs. LHP Jose Quintana (9-11, 4.32 ERA, 4.36 DRA, .256 TAv, 2.2 WARP)

Gsellman has pitched better since his spat with GM Sandy Alderson, earning his first win since June 10 with a rain-shortened six-inning complete game against the Phillies last Wednesday. The 24-year-old has a 2.76 ERA (5 ER in 16.1 IP) over his last three starts.

Meanwhile, the man known as Q has been somewhat inconsistent since switching Windy City alliances in mid-July, but has strung together two quality starts including six scoreless frames in Pittsburgh the last time out.

Wednesday: RHP Matt Harvey (5-4, 5.82 ERA, 5.14 DRA, .296 TAv, 0.4 WARP) vs. LHP Jon Lester (10-7, 4.35 ERA, 3.59 DRA, .263 TAv, 3.6 WARP)

Harvey showed signs of improvement in his second start since returning from the disabled list, limiting Cincinnati to two runs in five innings on Thursday and earning the win. “Overall just starting to feel a little more comfortable out there with mechanics and attacking hitters,” the former ace said following that start. “Obviously still not where I want to be but definitely moving in the right direction.”

Lester had his best performance since July last week in Pittsburgh, hurling six innings of one-run ball en route to his second straight win. The four-time All-Star is 4-1 with a 3.97 ERA in six career starts against the Mets.

Thursday: RHP Seth Lugo (6-4, 4.64 ERA, 5.38 DRA, .283 TAv, 0.2 WARP) vs. LHP Mike Montgomery (5-8, 3.64 ERA, 4.62 DRA, .235 TAv, 1.0 WARP)

Lugo blanked the Reds for six innings Friday in one of his most effective starts all season. He will be limited to 75-80 pitches, per manager Terry Collins.

Montgomery has held opponents to a .233 AVG in 20 innings since returning to the rotation on August 23. He faced the Mets at Citi Field in June, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits over five frames.

Who’s Hot?

Mets 1B Dominic Smith (.353 AVG (6-for-17) during five-game hitting streak)

Mets INF Jose Reyes (1.000 OPS in September with 3 HRs and 9 RBIs)

Mets OF Brandon Nimmo (6-for-15 with two home runs in Reds series)

Mets INF Asdrubal Cabrera (.600 AVG and 1.558 OPS over the past week)

Mets OF Nori Aoki (At least one hit in all eight games with New York)

Cubs INF/OF Ben Zobrist (.364 AVG (8-for-22) since September 3)

Cubs C Rene Rivera (10-for-32 (.313) with 7 RBIs since joining Chicago)

Who’s Not?

Cubs OF Jon Jay (5-for-26 (.192) this month)

Cubs 3B Kris Bryant (2 hits in his last 19 plate appearances with no RBIs)

Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo (.433 OPS with no extra-base hits in his last 7 games)

When We Last Met

The Mets took two of three at Citi Field in mid-June, winning the opener 6-1 behind Jacob deGrom’s complete game. Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda both homered late in the finale to overcome a poor start by Harvey and secure a series victory which moved New York within four games of .500.

It’s Literally a 10-Day DL

Cubs: RHP Jake Arrieta (right hamstring strain) played catch on Sunday and is expected to return soon. C Willson Contreras (right hamstring strain) returned on Sunday after missing a month, appearing as a pinch-hitter late in the game.

Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (torn right lat) saw his simulated game on Sunday cancelled due to soreness. He is now scheduled to throw a bullpen session Tuesday in Chicago.

There’s Always Next Year!

The Mets announced their 2018 schedule on Tuesday, which kicks off on March 29 at Citi Field against St. Louis. Highlights include a three-game home set against the crosstown rival Yankees from June 8-10 and several interleague series with the other AL East clubs. New York will close the regular season at home against Miami.

Notable Quotables

“I’m just trying to get to the point where I’ve been when I’m healthy, 100%.” – Jeurys Familia after taking the loss on Sunday afternoon (0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R/ER, 3 BB)

“Just didn’t have the same command, really, more than anything else. Velocity was OK until the last few hitters and then you could tell he was getting fatigued but again, we’re in a stage of trying to find out some things and we found out that he’s not ready to go back-to-back.” – Collins on Familia’s shaky outing

“He really competes. He did it the first day he was in the big leagues. He started the game and got off to a rough start and you looked up and he got you six good innings, so he’s as good a competitor as I’ve been around and any time he goes out there I know if he gets in trouble he knows how to battle through it.” – Collins on deGrom, who allowed two runs over six innings, striking out 10

“They got us zero runs and one run in two of three games. In one game we had no chance but definitely had chances in the others. We pitched really well and again, you have to pitch better than good pitching to win and they did it… I thought we pitched well. We’re just unable to string together any kind of hits and our power’s been negated a bit… You look around baseball and it happens to every team at some point. It’s contagious to hit as well as it’s contagious to not hit and you just got to keep working your way through it. It’s going to come back to us. We’re going to start hitting again.” – Cubs manager Joe Maddon after getting swept by the Brewers

Photo credit: Dennis Wierzbicki – USA Today Sports

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