Mets' deGrom in search of first win ever at Wrigley
New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom has achieved many things in his six-year career. He has won a Cy Young award. He has pitched in the World Series. He has earned a pair of All-Star selections.
But deGrom never has won a game at Wrigley Field. He will try to change that when the Mets visit the Chicago Cubs on Sunday to wrap up a four-game series.
The 31-year-old is 4-6 with a 3.26 ERA in 15 starts this season. He is 2-2 with a 3.05 ERA in seven career starts against the Cubs, but at Wrigley Field he is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three outings.
New York has won two of the series' first three games and is looking to cap a winning weekend.
Meanwhile, the Cubs will try to salvage a series split. They own a 26-14 record at home this season but have looked sloppy during back-to-back losses, including a 10-2 defeat on Saturday that included an error, two passed balls and other miscues.
"The biggest thing is we have to play a complete game," Joe Maddon said to reporters. "We will. We will get back to the normalcy on the field. I believe the pitching will pitch better. We've got to take advantage of run-scoring opportunities, and we're going to have to beat some better pitching, too.
"It's not easy. The league has gotten better, and there are no pushovers."
Cubs left-hander Cole Hamels (6-2, 2.85 ERA) will make his 16th start of the season. He is coming off a strong performance in which he limited the Chicago White Sox to one run in seven innings. He gave up six hits, walked two and struck out eight.
During his most recent outing, Hamels notched his 2,500th career strikeout. He became the 38th pitcher in history and only the 10th southpaw to reach that milestone.
In 33 career starts against the Mets, Hamels is 9-14 with a 3.89 ERA. He has 213 strikeouts in 205 2/3 innings.
One player Hamels will have to watch out for is Mets rookie slugger Pete Alonso, who tied a franchise record on Saturday with his 26th home run. That matched the rookie record that Darryl Strawberry had held since 1983.
Strawberry achieved the feat in 122 games. Alonso has done so in 76 contests.
"I'm really happy with myself," Alonso told reporters.
Mets manager Mickey Callaway said he planned to use Jeff McNeil off the bench in the series finale. McNeil shined on Saturday as he went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI. He leads the majors with a .364 batting average (48-for-132) away from home.
Callaway defended his decision to give McNeil a rest despite having five consecutive multi-hit games.
"We knew that coming in," Callaway said. "That's how we're going to keep him fresh and keep him out there performing."
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant has hit safely in nine straight games entering the series finale. He is hitting .406 (13-for-32) during that time. He also has reached base safely in 19 consecutive games.
Chicago is 4-8 in its last 12 contests.
--Field Level Media
Cubs look to contain McNeil, visiting Mets