What to look for: Cubs vs. Mets, NLCS Game 1, 8:07 PM
The Mets open their best-of-seven National League Championship Series against the Cubs on Saturday night at 8:07 pm at Citi Field.
Here is tonight’s starting lineup for New York:
Curtis Granderson – RF
David Wright – 3B
Daniel Murphy – 2B
Yoenis Cespedes – LF
Travis d’Arnaud – C
Michael Cuddyer – 1B
Wilmer Flores – SS
Juan Lagares – CF
Matt Harvey – RHP
Here is tonight’s pitching matchup:
Matt Harvey (1-0, 3.60 ERA in the 2015 Postseason) will start for the Mets.
Jon Lester (0-1, 3.68 ERA in the 2015 Postseason) will start for the Cubs.
Here’s what I’m looking for from the Mets tonight:
The Mets are coming off a fun and emotional win in Los Angeles not 48 hours ago, but it’s important the Mets don’t come down from that high and maintain their energy as they open the NLCS on Saturday night.
They need a high octane and electrical start from their ace on Saturday, and need to jump out to an early lead to set the tone and the theme for the night against the Cubs.
They’re at home, the crowd is going to be freezing but going crazy, and the Mets should feed off of that energy and translate it into production.
Harvey is coming off an outing where his command was off and his fastball lacked a lot of life as well. He said on Friday he’s confident pitching on regular rest and being in his typical routine will help him in this start tonight.
The Mets will need him to look like Matt Harvey tonight.
If he’s on, the Cubs will have their work cut out for them, as they really struggle to hit that really good fastball. In fact, that weakness could play right into the Mets strengths, as all of their starting pitchers feature mid-to-upper-90’s fastballs.
But the command for Harvey has to be there for that to apply.
Lester is no slouch by any means, and he had a good second half in an otherwise fair year overall. But with all due respect to Lester, he’s not quite at the level of a Clayton Kershaw or a Zack Greinke, and while he’s expected to pitch well, the Mets should have some more opportunities to score against him than those guys in Los Angeles.
The Mets also need to be mobile on the bases against Lester, as he doesn’t hold runners on at all and refuses to throw to first base with any regularity. That should afford them better secondary leads and that should get them moving in runners counts as well.