This piece, by BP Wrigleyville’s Rian Watt, first appeared at the Baseball Prospectus main site and is available free for all to enjoy. We’ve posted a sneak preview here.
After an series opener in which New York’s Dark Knight pitched his way back into Gotham’s good graces with 7 ⅔ strong innings against Chicago, the Cubs will counter with an ace of their own in Jake Arrieta. Toeing the rubber for the home team in the Big Apple? None other than Marvel’s answer to DC’s Batman: the young god Thor, bearing a hammer of a fastball and the locks of an angel.
PECOTA odds of winning: 51% Mets, 49% Cubs
Projected Starting Lineups
|Cubs vs. Syndergaard (R)||Mets vs. Arrieta (R)|
|Dexter Fowler (S) CF||Curtis Granderson (L) RF|
|Kyle Schwarber (L) LF||David Wright (R) 3B|
|Kris Bryant (R) 3B||Daniel Murphy (L) 2B|
|Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B||Yoenis Cespedes (R) CF|
|Starlin Castro (R) 2B||Lucas Duda (L) 1B|
|Jorge Soler (R) RF||Travis d’Arnaud (R) C|
|Miguel Montero (L) C||Michael Conforto (L) LF|
|Javier Baez (R) SS||WIlmer Flores (R) SS|
|Jake Arrieta (R) P||Noah Syndergaard (L) P|
Beyond the obvious missing players—Addison Russell for Chicago and Ruben Tejada for New York—everyone on both rosters should be pretty much good to go on Sunday. A possible exception? Jeurys Familia pitched two full innings in Game Five of the NLDS on Thursday night, and 1 ⅓ on Saturday in Game One, so Terry Collins might go in a different direction if the game isn’t close on Sunday; that said, this is the playoffs, and both managers have a tendency to ride their hot hands when the going gets tough.
With respect to the Cubs’ lineup, it’s worth noting that there’s a chance Chris Coghlan gets the start in right field against Syndergaard over Jorge Soler—Coghlan has a homer and a walk against Syndergaard in three plate appearances—but Chicago’s stretched infield depth (see: Russell’s absence, above), combined with Soler’s recent hot spell, suggests that Joe Maddon will keep Coghlan, who can play second base in a pinch, in reserve on the pine in case he needs to double-switch late in the game. There’s also a chance Tommy La Stella starts at second base, likely pushing Starlin Castro to the bench.
To read the rest of this article, please head over to Baseball Prospectus.
Lead photo courtesy Brad Penner—USA Today Sports.