It’s hard to believe how much the Cubbies have struggled away from Wrigley Field. It really is. They are a juggernaut at home and a bottom-feeder everywhere else. Look at this:
This series is more important for the Mets because they’re the team doing the chasing in the wild-card race, and because they’re out of the NL East race. They’re 11 1/2 games behind the Braves. The Cubs are at least within striking distance of the Cardinals, plus they are sitting in a wild-card spot. The Mets need this series more than Chicago.

  1. Washington Nationals: 73-57 (+4 GB)
  2. Chicago Cubs: 69-61
  3. Philadelphia Phillies: 68-62 (1 GB)
  4. New York Mets: 67-63 (2 GB)
  5. Milwaukee Brewers: 67-64 (2 1/2 GB)

7:10pm ET
Tues., Aug. 27
There is still a full month to play this season, but head-to-head games against the teams you’re competing against for a postseason spot are the best way to gain ground or create separation. This week’s series won’t decide the wild-card race. Hardly. It will set the tone for the rest of the season though. Here is everything you need to know heading into this week’s important series in Flushing.
The Mets have averaged 5.26 runs per game in August, and while Ramos is driving the bus, he’s not the only player having a big month. NL Rookie of the Year favorite Pete Alonso is hitting .302/.388/.616 with seven homers in August. Amed Rosario is having a breakout year and owns a .347/.371/.455 batting line this month. J.D. Davis is at .320/.376/.573. The Mets have clicked at the plate since the trade deadline.

Date Start Time Starting Pitchers TV
That the Cubs are averaging only 4.57 runs per game in August — the National League average is 4.81 runs per game — despite Castellanos doing that tells you how little help he’s received. Javier Baez is hitting .259/.291/.481 this month. Kris Bryant is hitting .238/.312/.440 in August. Jason Heyward is at .192/.322/.384. Castellanos has been a one-man army. The Cubs and Mets split four games in Wrigley Field back in June. That series is perhaps best remembered for the clubhouse spat between Mets manager Mickey Callaway, former Mets lefty Jason Vargas, and a reporter. Apologies were later issued and both Callaway and Vargas were fined. The Cubs and Mets split four games in Wrigley Field back in June. That series is perhaps best remembered for the clubhouse spat between Mets manager Mickey Callaway, former Mets lefty Jason Vargas, and a reporter. Apologies were later issued and both Callaway and Vargas were fined. The Cubs and Mets split four games in Wrigley Field back in June. That series is perhaps best remembered for the clubhouse spat between Mets manager Mickey Callaway, former Mets lefty Jason Vargas, and a reporter. Apologies were later issued and both Callaway and Vargas were fined. Four teams are within 2 1/2 games of the second wild-card spot. As a fan of baseball chaos, I’m hoping we get a massive three- or four-team tie for one wild-card spot at the end of the season. The tiebreaker mini-tournament would be fun. “You can’t help but look (at the standings),” Mets outfielder Michael Conforto told Mike Puma of the New York Post. “There’s a group of guys watching, seeing what’s happening, but we all remind each other that if we just take care of business here we won’t have to worry about all that stuff. Everything else that is going on we can’t control, so we may get some help, we may not. You can’t worry about anybody else.”

A relatively minor injury, but an injury nonetheless. Stroman exited his last start after four innings with hamstring tightness and has been steadfast in saying he won’t miss a start. Sure enough, Stroman will indeed be on the mound Tuesday night.
The overall numbers are still a tad underwhelming, but Darvish goes into Tuesday night’s start riding an impressive hot streak. He has struck out at least eight batters while walking zero in each of his last five starts. No other pitcher in baseball history has done that. Only former Cub Jeff Samardzija had done it in even four straight games. He did it two years ago.

The season series is tied

“The ingredients are there. We’ve just got to go out, obviously, and do it,” Maddon told reporters, including Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald, when asked about his struggling offense. “I’ve been involved with teams that just all of a sudden clicked at the right time of the year, and everything just takes off. I do anticipate that happening. But it’s only going to happen if you keep pushing and believing. If you don’t, it’s not going to happen.”  
SNY, NBC Sports Chicago, MLBN Both the Mets and Cubs were swept at home this past weekend. The Mets lost three straight to the Braves while the Cubs dropped three straight to the Nationals at Wrigley Field. Washington outscored them 25-10 in the three games. The Mets lost two close one-run games in their series with Atlanta.

Darvish has turned his season around

LHP Jon Lester (10-8, 4.49 ERA) vs. RHP Jacob deGrom (8-7, 2.56 ERA)
Weds., Aug. 28

Stroman is coming off an injury

We here at CBS Sports are plainly horrible at predictions — I had the Dodgers sweeping the Yankees over the weekend — but that’s not going to stop us from chiming in. Our prediction for this Cubs vs. Mets series at Citi Field: Mets win two of three. The Cubs’ road struggles are real and, even after getting swept by the Braves over the weekend, I still like the way the Mets have played these last six weeks. They’re finding ways to win. The Cubs seem to find ways to lose.

The hamstring injury seems like a non-issue, though I always want to see the guy on the mound and pitching like himself before I declare him out of the woods. Everything in baseball starts from the ground up, especially pitching, and if your legs are compromised, a lot can go wrong. Stroman will look to show everyone he’s healthy in the series opener.
In a weird way, Nicholas Castellanos almost became an afterthought at the trade deadline. Most Tigers trade rumors involved Matthew Boyd or Shane Greene. Castellanos, an impending free agent, was available and everyone knew it, but there didn’t appear to be that much interest.

The Cubs have really struggled on the road

In four starts with the Mets, Stroman has allowed 11 runs in 19 2/3 innings, and he admits he needs to be better. “I think I need to be better. I think I will be better,” he told reporters, including The Athletic’s Tim Britton.

  • Home: 44-22 (.667) and plus-66 run differential
  • Road: 25-39 (.391) and minus-5 run differential

On the field, the Mets had a chance to win three of four that weekend, but Javier Baez crushed a go-ahead three-run home run against Seth Lugo in the eighth inning of the series finale. It was his 100th career homer. Chicago held on to win the game.
There are less than five weeks to go in the 2019 regular season and the wild card races in both leagues remain wide open. This week the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets meet for a three-game series with major postseason race implications.

Castellanos has been a godsend

The Cubs acquired Castellanos for two good but not great prospects at the July 31 trade deadline and he’s been one of the best hitters in baseball since, authoring a .375/.406/.708 batting line with eight doubles and eight homers in 23 games with Chicago.
SNY, ABC 7, MLBN RHP Yu Darvish (4-6, 4.43 ERA) vs. RHP Marcus Stroman (7-11, 3.18 ERA)
As Matt Snyder wrote recently, the inability to win on the road could cost the Cubs a shot at October. They’ve been that bad away from Wrigley Field and they’ll have their hands full this week at Citi Field against those starting pitchers.

Ramos is streaking

With the red-hot Cardinals taking control of the NL Central, the Cubs are looking more and more like a wild-card contender than a division title contender. Here is the National League wild-card picture as of Tuesday morning:
RHP Kyle Hendricks (9-9, 3.20 ERA) vs. RHP Noah Syndergaard (9-6, 3.71 ERA)


This week’s three-game series will determine which team wins the season series and that’s a big deal. Head-to-head record is the first tiebreaker for postseason homefield advantage. If the Mets and Cubs finish with the same regular season record and meet in October, the team that wins this series will have homefield advantage. That’s significant.

Darvish has pitched to a 3.23 ERA and held opponents to a .205/.234/.420 batting line in his last eight starts and 47 1/3 innings. He has 65 strikeouts and two — two! — walks in those 47 1/3 innings. The Giants tagged Darvish for seven runs and four homers last time out, but, generally speaking, this is the Darvish the Cubs hoped to get when they signed him last year. He’s been great lately.