A matchup between clubs well out of the
postseason hunt is generally a tough sell in baseball this time of year. It's the first weekend of NFL betting and
college football is already in full swing. But the weekend set at Citi Field in Queens is a little different. The Chicago Cubs pay the New York Mets a visit the next three days with both teams drawing a lot of their own fans, as well as haters, to the drama that concludes with an ESPN broadcast Sunday evening on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11th.
Terry Collins and the Mets start this series having just been
swept in a doubleheader Thursday vs. the Braves that was made necessary by
Hurricane Irene two weekends ago. The losses dropped New York three games below .500 (70-73),
23.5 games behind the Phillies in the standings.
has endured another, well, typical Cubs season. The only reason this isn't the worst team in the National League this
year is because the Astros exist. The
Cubs (62-81) are fifth in the NL Central.
It's been over three months since the clubs last saw each
other, ancient history in today's world. The hurricane season was still in the distant future to most folks when
Wrigley Field hosted a 3-game set in late May, and the NFL was still in a
lockout. Heck, Carlos Zambrano won a
game for Chicago
in that series, so that will tell you how long ago it was.
The only good MLB odds info from that set was all three
games going OVER at Wrigley. The teams
stand 5-5 in their head-to-head battles since the start of 2010.
Begin Things On Friday
Everything begins Friday night (7:10 PM ET) with MLB betting odds opening with the Mets as 135-145 chalk and an 8.5-run total. New York is favored behind Mike Pelfrey, but more because of Chicago's
starter Casey Coleman (2-7, 6.61).
It's Pelfrey's first start this season vs. the Cubs and
he'll be looking to win for the third time in three career outings against Chicago. He's faced the Cubs twice here at Citi Field,
and allowed a single run in 15 combined innings.
The biggest drawback for Pelfrey in this game is that he's not
exactly in fine form, giving up 13 earned runs over his past four starts (21.2
IP). The plus is his opponent, young Mr.
Coleman. The Mets trashed him at Wrigley in a rain-shortened game earlier this
season, winning 7-4 as light -110 road favorites at the sportsbooks.
But the most amazing stat for Coleman is in 15 appearances
this season, 13 as a starter, the Cubs have won three times. They're 8-20 the past two seasons anytime when
Friday Recap: Thanks to a walk-off hit from Justin Turner, the Mets were able to rally late in the 9th inning (and with two outs) to come back and beat the Cubs 5-4.
Saturday, Under The Lights Sunday
The hot pitcher going into Saturday afternoon's game is Chicago's Randy Wells
(7-4, 4.86). He will face the up and
down Chris Capuano (10-12, 4.63) of New
Wells has really only made one bad start in the second half,
and is coming off three of his best starts all season. Keeping pitches in the
park is the key for any pitcher, but especially critical for Wells who has
served up 19 this season in 111 innings. He's had five home-run free starts, and the Cubs are 4-1.
Capuano has been the equivalent of the coaster ride at Coney Island, up one start and then way down the
next. He's coming off one of those
really bad dips just two starts after a complete game, 13-K shutout.
Saturday Recap: Saturday saw the Cubs rally late to grab the 5-4 win over the Mets bringing this series into a tie to be decided on Sunday.
Sunday night finds Matt Garza (8-10, 3.52) taking on Miguel
Batista (1-0, 2.25). Yes, that Miguel
The 40-year-old Batista has danced around 18 baserunners
over his first 12 innings in New York's
rotation. Both starts came against the
Marlins, not exactly an imposing lineup. Garza, making his first career start vs. the Mets, has been bad luck
period. He's been especially bad on the
road where his ERA is 4.84 and Chicago
Taking a Chance: My pick
for the White Sox to win two of three in Detroit
last weekend couldn't have been more wrong, so proceed cautiously. There's no
reason to back Coleman in Friday's game and I've got to lean UNDER on Saturday.
Wells is pitching, well, well and the Cubs are 26-28 this year against lefties,
especially the past couple of weeks.
lost to Mike Minor (Aug 23), Randy Wolf (Aug 26), Madison Bumgarner (Aug 31)
and Brian Burres (Sep 2) the last four times they have faced southpaw (combined
1.84 ERA in the four games). Fine pitchers in their own rights, but hardly
Steve Carlton, Vida Blue, Frank Viola and Tom Glavine.