Mets vs Cubs: What to watch for as final NL wild card spot is within reach (2024)

There is a logjam just outside of the final Wild Card spot in the National League.

There are seven teams within 1.5 games of the final spot in the playoff field. Both the Mets and Cubs enter their weekend series at Wrigley Field one game back of the Nationals, who hold that final spot.

This three-game set, which begins Friday afternoon, could help one team move closer within striking distance.

More Mets:How surging Mets renewed their focus and approach since closed-door team meeting

The Mets will be looking to reestablish their momentum after they saw their seven-game win streak snapped wit a 5-3 loss in the series finale with the Rangers on Wednesday night. The Mets have not lost a series dating back to the three-game sweep against the Dodgers in the final week of May. Since then, they have won four series and split two others.

The Mets and Cubs split their earlier four-game series at Citi Field between the last week of April and first week of May. The Mets exited that matchup with a mark of 16-15 on May 2 — the last time they had a winning record in 2024. Here is what to look for this time around:

Mets vs Cubs pitching matchups

Mets vs Cubs: What to watch for as final NL wild card spot is within reach (1)

Friday, 2:20 p.m., SNY: LHP Jose Quintana (2-5, 4.98) vs. LHP Shota Imanaga (7-1, 1.90)

Saturday, 2:20 p.m., SNY: RHP Tylor Megill (2-3, 3.52) vs. RHP Jameson Taillon (3-3, 3.08)

Sunday, 7:10 p.m., ESPN: RHP Luis Severino (4-2, 3.53) vs. RHP Javier Assad (4-2, 2.75)

Outlook:If he's not in the NL Cy Young discussion, Shota Imanaga is very much one of the frontrunners for the league's Rookie of the Year honors so far this season. The 30-year-old southpaw from Japan has recorded quality starts in eight of his 13 outings.

Imanaga is in the top five percent in walk rate and chase rate so far this season. When he faced the Mets the first time around, he threw seven scoreless innings with seven strikeouts while only giving up three hits and one walk.

Javier Assad has been a pleasant surprise for the Cubs since taking on a full-time starter role for the first time in the majors, with a 1.25 WHIP and nine strikeouts per nine innings.

The Mets decided to flip their pitching matchups for Sunday's series finale and Tuesday's open to the Subway Series. Luis Severino will draw the start against the Cubs on regular rest to try and take advantage of the Cubs' righty-heavy lineup. Severino will be looking to get back on track after giving up six earned runs last time out against the Rangers. David Peterson will now start on Tuesday.

Mets injury news

Mets vs Cubs: What to watch for as final NL wild card spot is within reach (2)

Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said that Dedniel Nuñez was not available in the waning stages of Wednesday night's game as he was recovering from a sinus infection. Mendoza was hoping that with treatment and an off day that Nuñez would be available for Friday's series opener.

The 28-year-old right-hander has been one of the Mets' most valuable multi-inning options in recent weeks. He has allowed just one run across his last 11⅓ innings while striking out 16.

Kodai Senga is approaching the next step in his pitching progression after throwing two innings during a bullpen session on Wednesday. The Mets ace is in his second stint of his recovery after suffering triceps inflammation while working back from his right shoulder capsule strain. He is due to face hitters in the coming days.

Brandon Nimmo's resurgence

Mets vs Cubs: What to watch for as final NL wild card spot is within reach (3)

Brandon Nimmo understood the message when he was left off the lineup on June 12 against the Marlins. It was a restart for the Mets outfielder, and a chance to assess his performance at the plate.

Since that off day, Nimmo has been arguably the Mets' top offensive force.

In the Mets' last seven games, Nimmo, who has found a new regular spot at No. 2 in the lineup, has collected a hit in each contest. He's gone 12-for-28 (.429) with two home runs, eight RBI, 10 runs and just four strikeouts.

In process, Nimmo has raised his slash line to .240/.355/.411. He has nine home runs, 40 RBI and 42 runs in 69 games this season.

A shift to the windy city

After parts of eight seasons with the Mets, the team's front office decided to let Tomas Nido go on June 11 when they designated the veteran catcher for assignment.

The Mets decided to stick with Luis Torrens, who they acquired in a trade from the Yankees back on May 31.

It did not take long for Nido to find a new home. He was signed by the Cubs as a free agent on Wednesday as the team decided to designate veteran Yan Gomes for assignment.

That means that Nido's first game in a uniform other than the Mets is likely to come against his former team this weekend.

Mets vs Cubs: What to watch for as final NL wild card spot is within reach (2024)


Who did the Mets lose to in the wild card? ›

The Mets lost the 2022 National League Wild Card Series to the San Diego Padres.

What place are Mets in? ›

2024 Schedule44-45, 3rd in NL East.

Has a wild card team ever won MLB? ›

Notable wild card team achievements

The 2002, 2014, and 2023 World Series have been the only times when both teams were wild cards. The Baltimore Orioles, in 1996, were the first wild card team to win a Division Series. The Marlins, in 1997, were the first wild card team to reach and first to win the World Series.

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