MLB Baseball

Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
NY Mets0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 162
Chi Cubs0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 x 340
  W: J. Arrieta (3-1)   L: T. Walker (0-1)   S: C. Kimbrel (4)
4:40 PM PT5:40 PM MT6:40 PM CT7:40 PM ET19:40 ET23:40 GMT7:40 4:40 PM MST6:40 PM EST7:10 PM VEN3:40 UAE (+1)5:40 PM CT, April 20, 2021
Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois  Attendance: 10,137

James McCann leads Mets into Chicago to face Cubs

According to STATS
According to STATS

New York Mets at Chicago Cubs

  1. The Cubs won the last four meetings between the clubs a season ago, after the Mets had taken two of the first three. Since September 2017, the North Siders have won 14 of 17 games in the series.
  2. The Mets lead the NL East at 7-4 despite having an even run differential (37 runs scored, 37 allowed). Their staff ERA of 2.92 is the fifth lowest in MLB.
  3. At .192, the Cubs are the only team hitting below .200 in 2021. Chicago scored 13 runs in Saturday's win over Atlanta, and a total of 38 (2.71 per game) in its 14 other contests.
  4. Jeff McNeil has a career .577 batting average against Jake Arrieta (15-for-26). Among current NL players, that's the highest batting average in any matchup with a minimum of 25 plate appearances.
  5. Kris Bryant has four doubles and five homers among his 13 hits in 2021. He needs one extra-base hit to match his 2020 total of 10 (he played only 14 games last season).
  6. Taijuan Walker seeks his first win as a National League pitcher since September 6, 2017, when he won at Dodger Stadium as a member of the Diamondbacks. Walker won three consecutive starts culminating with that game, but failed to win in eight subsequent starts for Arizona between 2017 and '19.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 4/20/2021 thru 4/22/2021

New York Mets catcher James McCann played on the South Side of Chicago for the past two seasons, but his appearance on the city's North Side this week for a series with the Chicago Cubs warrants buzz nonetheless.

That's because McCann is off to a solid start with the Mets after signing a four-year, $40.6 million contract this offseason, especially on defense.

Sunday, his seamless throw to shortstop Francisco Lindor on Trevor Story's attempted steal of second marked the final out as New York preserved a 2-1 road victory against the Colorado Rockies.

"That was on the money," Mets manager Luis Rojas said. "He's showing things that he can do back there. Not only receiving and calling the game, but also controlling the running game by throwing to the bases like that."

McCann has nabbed three of nine would-be base stealers this season, a 33 percent success rate.

Rojas points to that statistic as one reason the Mets are 4-0 in one-run games. The fundamental things apply, and the Mets have shown their aptitude for them.

"To come through with big plays shows the guys are staying prepared," he said. "These types of games, we know how early it is in April, but guys are playing the one-run games, having situations like that, to come through with big plays -- it's a good sign the guys are staying prepared."

Chicago will hope to fare better in this series than its previous one against the Mets' National League East rival. The Atlanta Braves took two of three over the weekend, including a 13-4 win in Sunday's rubber game that saw the Braves smack five home runs, including four in the first inning.

The Cubs have lost eight of 11 while scoring four runs or more only three times during that span.

Manager David Ross is leaning on the Cubs' experience to help stay the course as Chicago aims to regroup.

"We've got a lot of veterans; we don't have many young guys," Ross said. "Guys that understand the 162-(game) dynamic, and they just continue to try to keep that steady heartbeat. Getting off to a good start is important, and these guys didn't. But I hadn't seen any wavering in their mental state."

Despite the offense's collective slump, Ross said he still is relying on stability in the lineup and doubts he will make any significant shuffling.

"When things aren't going well, you want to tinker with things," Ross said. "There's also an understanding from my seat that the success that we need to have is going to come from the group of guys that are that core group of guys."

Among them? Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez, who each had two hits and combined for three RBIs Sunday.

Right-hander Taijuan Walker (0-0, 2.61 ERA) will aim for his first victory as a Met. He has scattered three runs and seven hits in 10 1/3 innings over two starts this season while striking out 12. An American Leaguer for much of his career, Walker is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in one start against the Cubs, surrendering two home runs in five innings.

Jake Arrieta (2-1, 3.18 ERA) gets the call for the Cubs. Arrieta has struck out 14 in 17 innings over three starts this season. He is 6-5 with a 3.09 ERA in 16 career starts against the Mets.

--Field Level Media

Updated April 19, 2021

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