New York Mets vs. Chicago Cubs (7/15/22) Starting Lineup, Betting Odds, Prediction

The Mets held serve in their huge series against the Braves, avoiding disaster and extending their slim NL East lead by a game. They might be able to breathe a little easier against the Cubs, who have lost six in a row entering this series. Marcus Stroman gets the ball for Chicago against his former team, while Taijuan Walker will start for the Mets in this afternoon matchup.

Let’s take a look at starting lineups, betting odds, and predictions for Friday’s game.

New York Mets vs. Chicago Cubs Betting Odds

The Mets are slight favorites at -130 on the money line, despite entering nearly 20 games above the Cubs in the standings. The Cubs are the only team in baseball to have Friday afternoon start times at home, but the familiarity hasn’t proven to be much of an advantage this season, as Chicago is 2-3 in that window. It’s worth noting the Cubs had won four consecutive series before struggling against the Dodgers and Orioles, two of baseball’s hottest teams (yes, that’s a real sentence), so oddsmakers might be hesitant to rule out this team.

New York Mets Starting Lineup

T. Walker R
7-2 2.63 ERA

CF B. Nimmo L
RF S. Marte R
SS F. Lindor S
1B P. Alonso R
2B J. McNeil L
3B E. Escobar S
LF M. Canha R
DH D. Smith L
C T. Nido R

New York Mets vs. Marcus Stroman

The Cubs’ rotation has been hit with absences all season, so Marcus Stroman’s return from the IL last week was a welcomed sight. Stroman was limited to four innings but didn’t allow a run, surrendering just two hits and a walk. His season ERA is inflated to 4.91 largely due to a 9-run implosion right before he went on the IL, but Stroman had a 3.02 ERA over 33 starts (179 IP) last season with the Mets. Look for Stroman’s pitch count to be a bit limited in his second start off the IL.

New York has a .723 OPS nearly halfway through July, up from a bad June but still not back to early season levels. What’s worth watching is whether the Mets can sustain a bit of a recent power surge. Eight different Mets have homered in the past week, including three from Francisco Lindor, and Buck Showalter’s team hit three blasts off of Charlie Morton alone on Wednesday. Stroman isn’t typically a homer-prone pitcher, but this Mets does so much beyond the home run that it can beat anybody when the power is there. This will be a key series for Pete Alonso to get going. Alonso, who will be defending his Home Run Derby crown on Monday, is batting just .138 over the past week.

Chicago Cubs Starting Lineup

M. Stroman R
2-5 4.91 ERA

CF R. Ortega L
DH W. Contreras R
LF I. Happ S
RF S. Suzuki R
SS N. Hoerner R
3B P. Wisdom R
1B F. Schwindel R
C Y. Gomes R
2B C. Morel R

Chicago Cubs vs. Taijuan Walker

Taijuan Walker has all-star caliber numbers for the Mets this season, with a 2.63 ERA, 3.00 FIP, and 1.10 WHIP over 15 starts (87.2 IP). He’s allowed just 4 home runs all season, but Friday’s conditions may threaten to elevate that number. It’s expected to be a windy and potentially stormy day at Wrigley Field, and if the rain holds off enough to play this game, winds may blow out to left field. As a ground ball pitcher, however, Walker is well-equipped to pitch in those conditions and limit the damage. Walker is 4-0 with a 1.85 ERA over his last six outings.

Some of the Cubs’ best hitters have been ice cold of late, including Willson Contreras (1 for his last 16) and Patrick Wisdom (3-19 with 10 Ks over his last six). Wisdom is too streaky to project, but Contreras should get going again at some point. You have to wonder whether trade rumors are affecting him after such a hot start. Nico Hoerner looks like the Cubs’ best contact bat. He’s hitting .377 over his last 22 games and has reached base in 20 of those 22. Ian Happ, another trade candidate, has been hitting well all season even without his typical power. I’d expect the Cubs to hit better than they have lately, but they’ll have a better chance to produce runs on Thursday against Carlos Carrasco if Walker pitches anything like he has over the past month.

New York Mets vs. Chicago Cubs Picks & Prediction

My pick: Mets -1.5

There’s no advantage the Cubs really have here. Taijuan Walker has been terrific lately, the Mets should know Stroman well, Stroman might be limited, and Chicago isn’t any better at home than on the road. Rainy conditions could always throw this game into chaos, but the Mets look like they have renewed confidence after taking two out of three against the Braves. If any game is a trap game for New York, it might be Thursday’s. I like their chances of a comfortable win on Friday.

Dan is a lifelong sports fan and graduate of Boston University. He’s covered several sports on Instagram since he was 12 and now writes about everything from betting trends to breaking news for Lineups.

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