MLB Preview 2012: Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets

The Chicago Cubs (32-52) and New York Mets (46-39) will close out a three-game National League series on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 1:10 ET

Chicago Cubs at New York Mets 

New York Mets 1B Ike Davis has been swinging the bat well recently

Chicago lost for just the fourth time in 12 games, dropping a 3-1 decision to New York on Saturday, as the club fell to 13-32 on the road.  The Cubs have managed to move out of the cellar in the NL Central division due to their recent play, something that should fuel the clubhouse with motivation after the All-Star break.  “It’s a nice thing after having a tough two months,” commented Cubs manager Dale Sveum.  Chicago is 5-11 as a road underdog of +125 to +150.

Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster (3-3, 2.11 ERA) is set to make his first start since landing on the disabled list on June 16, as he looks to win his fourth outing in a row.  The right-hander is 2-1 with a 1.06 ERA in six road starts, issuing just six walks and collecting 34 strikeouts in 42.1 combined frames.  In 26 career games (15 starts) versus the Mets, Dempster has tallied a 10-5 record and 5.30 ERA, including a victory in his lone start in 2011.  He enters this effort having tossed 22.0 consecutive scoreless innings.

New York has won seven of its last 10 games, and improved to 21-11 during day games with Saturday’s victory.  The Mets have been getting solid offensive production from first baseman Ike Davis, who is batting .309 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs over the past 24 games.  All-Star third baseman David Wright is another player to watch at the plate, as he came into yesterday’s game hitting .353.  New York is 4-3 as a home favorite of -125 to -150, with the “under” going 4-2 in those contests.

Mets starting pitcher Jonathan Niese (7-3, 3.35 ERA) has won his last three outings, including a 17-1 road win over the Cubs two starts back, giving up one run and eight hits over seven frames. The left-hander is 4-0 with a 1.89 ERA in eight daytime outings, surrendering just three home runs in 52.1 combined frames.  In five career starts versus the Cubs, Niese has garnered an even 2-2 record and 4.73 ERA.

Bettors will likely back the Mets due to their 6-1 mark as a home favorite, while the Cubs are 6-24 on the road against southpaw starters.

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