What to look for: Cubs vs. Mets, 7:10 PM

Citi Field 1 slice

The Mets open a three-game series with the Cubs on Tuesday night at Citi Field at 7:10 PM.

BaronHere is Tuesday’s starting lineup for New York:

Curtis Granderson – RF
Ruben Tejada – SS
Lucas Duda – 1B
Daniel Murphy – 3B
Michael Cuddyer – LF
Wilmer Flores – 2B
Kevin Plawecki – C
Jonathon Niese – LHP
Juan Lagares – CF

Here is Tuesday night’s pitching matchup:

Jon Niese (3-7, 4.12 ERA) will start for the Mets.

Kyle Hendricks (2-4, 4.46 ERA) will start for the Cubs.

Mets vs CubsHere’s what I am looking for from the Mets tonight:

Who’s the boss?

The Mets were flat out embarrassed in Chicago seven weeks ago. There’s no other way to put it. The Cubs swept the Mets out of town and were out-pitched, out-hit, and totally out-played in their four-game set at Wrigley Field.

The Mets need to get off on the right foot as they embark on their toughest month of baseball to date, and it starts by showing up to play the Cubs this time. They’re at home, a place they seem to play very well, and they have to find a way to get a series win against Chicago and gain some ground on them in the Wild Card race.

Jon Niese is starting for the Mets.

This is significant in that he’s now the sixth starter in the Mets rotation, but he’s also been recently linked to the Cubs as a possible destination. Is this a showcase for him? Well, he was originally scheduled to pitch on Sunday, but Steven Matz started instead, so that’s certainly up for debate. A good outing might spur their interest in the veteran left-hander, which would also benefit the Mets as it would mean they’re in a good position to win a ballgame they really have to get tonight.

It’s Daniel Murphy Day.

The Mets will get a much needed boost to their lineup with Daniel Murphy back in it tonight. He’s the cleanup hitter, which pretty much spells out the state of the team’s offense, particularly with Lucas Duda and Michael Cuddyer and their ice cold bats. Perhaps Murphy’s presence sparks them again and gets them on the right track.

Of course, it will be worth watch to see how Murphy responds, considering he might not be 100 percent just yet. But no matter what, it’s nice to have him back…