Cubs roll into New York to face Mets in battle of 1st-place teams

MLB

A four-game series between the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs might be a playoff preview. And while it’s only mid-June, Mets left-hander David Peterson might be auditioning for his spot in the postseason push.

Peterson will look to snap out of a lengthy slump Monday night, when he is scheduled to take the mound for the host Mets in the opener of the series between the two first-place clubs.

Peterson (1-5, 6.32 ERA) is slated to oppose Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta (5-6, 4.97 ERA.

Both teams completed a three-game home series on Sunday. The Mets missed a chance to sweep the San Diego Padres by falling 7-3, while the Cubs finished off their sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals with a 2-0 win to remain tied for first in the National League Central with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Despite the Mets’ loss, fifth starter Joey Lucchesi continued to solidify his rotation spot by allowing one run over a season-high five innings. He has a 1.56 ERA over his last four starts.

The emergence of Lucchesi may increase the pressure on Peterson, who took the loss on June 8 after giving up four runs and eight hits over 2 2/3 innings as the Mets fell to the Baltimore Orioles 10-3. Peterson is 0-2 in his last four starts with a 9.88 ERA.

While manager Luis Rojas said the Mets will remain patient with Peterson – who posted a 3.44 ERA as a rookie and was the club’s second-most reliable starter last season behind perennial Cy Young candidate Jacob deGrom – acting general manager Zack Scott said Friday that New York will likely seek starting pitching as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.

Carlos Carrasco (hamstring) and Noah Syndergaard (Tommy John surgery) are both several weeks away from returning.

“Right now it’s on us — and him — to get back on track,” Rojas said following the loss to the Orioles. “We’ve got to work together and we’ve got to get him where he’s going to be good. Because he’s been there. We’ve seen it, we’ve all seen it. It’s just time to work and make the adjustment.”

The Cubs and Arrieta are hoping he began turning a corner last Wednesday, when he didn’t factor into the decision after giving up one run over five innings as Chicago beat the Padres, 3-1.

The solid outing snapped a six-start skid for Arrieta, who was 2-4 with an 8.28 ERA dating back to Apr. 30. While the former NL Cy Young Award winner’s rotation spot isn’t likely in jeopardy, the Cubs will need Arrieta to effectively eat innings in order to contend deep into the summer.

“Big performance,” Cubs manager David Ross said Wednesday. “I thought he really had a nice game that was under control there and gave us a nice start to the game so we could wrap it up with the off-day and go to that bullpen a little earlier than we probably needed to.”

Peterson took the defeat in his lone career appearance against the Cubs on Apr. 21, when he allowed six runs (three earned) over 3 1/3 innings as the Mets lost, 16-4. Arrieta is 7-5 with a 3.03 ERA in 17 regular-season starts against New York.

-Field Level Media

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