Mets at Cubs
The National League Central race will be decided head-to-head over the next two weeks, but the Chicago Cubs can improve their chances of hanging on by padding their lead before the pivotal stretch run. The Cubs look to preserve their slim margin when they continue their three-game series against the visiting New York Mets on Wednesday.
The Cubs broke out of a power slump with three homers en route to an 8-3 win in Tuesday’s series opener, matching their home-run total from the previous eight contests and remaining two games ahead of St. Louis and 2 1/2 in front of Milwaukee in the division. Chicago gives the ball on Wednesday to Jon Lester, who defeated the Mets on June 13, matching his season high of 10 strikeouts while allowing one run and five hits over seven innings. The Mets have lost 10 of their last 11 games at Wrigley Field since the start of the 2014 campaign. New York has dropped five straight on the road overall and is 30-40 away from home this season.
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, SNY (New York), WGN (Chicago)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets RH Matt Harvey (5-4, 5.82 ERA) vs. Cubs LH Jon Lester (10-7, 4.35)
After allowing seven runs over two innings in his return from the disabled list, Harvey bounced back with a strong outing Thursday against Cincinnati. The 28-year-old held the Reds to two runs and five hits over five frames to record his first win since May 28. Harvey is 1-0 with a 2.95 ERA in three career starts against the Cubs.
Lester has won two straight starts since being shelled for nine runs - seven earned - in 1 2/3 innings on Aug. 17 against Cincinnati. The 33-year-old battled command issues with four walks Thursday at Pittsburgh, but he limited the Pirates to one run over six frames. Lester is 4-1 with a 3.97 ERA in six career starts against the Mets.
1. Cubs LF Kyle Schwarber is batting .337 with eight homers in 28 home games since being recalled from Triple-A Iowa on July 6.
2. Mets INF Asdrubal Cabrera has recorded multi-hit performances in each of his last five starts and leads the team with 12 efforts of at least three hits.
3. Chicago OF/INF Ian Happ has hit 14 home runs at Wrigley Field, the third-most by a rookie in franchise history behind Kris Bryant (21) and Billy Williams (17).