By Declan Finn
The New York Mets added another potential star to their starting rotation Sunday, as Long Island's own Steven Matz had just about the best debut in baseball history. Not only did Matz go 7.2 innings on the mound, allowing two runs on five hits, striking out six, and getting the victory after throwing 110 pitches, he also made history at the plate. Matz, who grew up a Mets fan, went 3-for-3 with a double and four RBI. It was the most RBI in a big league debut for any player in franchise history and the most ever in baseball history for a pitcher's debut.
It was everything Matz and the Mets could have hoped for, and then some. Matz joins what is an outstanding, young pitching staff, with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. It's an amazing wealth of talent the Mets could use in a number of ways.
Now, if only the Mets could hit to match the pitching staff, and maybe win a game or two on the road, and this season could turn into something special. Luckily, the Mets remain home for their next three games, against the Chicago Cubs. The Mets are 29-11 at home, but just 11-26 on the road.
Here is an inside look at the three-game series with Chicago. Unfortunately, fans will have to wait until the following series to see Matz pitch again.
Chicago Cubs (39-35, 11.5 GB in NL Central)
at New York Mets (40-37, 2.5 GB in NL East)
Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.
Kyle Hendricks (2-4, 4.46) vs. Jonathon Niese (3-7, 4.12)
Wednesday, 7:10 p.m.
Jon Lester (4-6, 4.03) vs. Bartolo Colon (9-6, 4.89)
Thursday, 1:10 p.m.
Jake Arrieta (7-5, 2.94) vs. Jacob deGrom (8-5, 2.15)
The Mets have won four straight games, including a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds. That win streak answered a seven-game losing skid, which all came on the road, not surprisingly. The Mets are 4-6 over their last 10 games, losing four games in the NL Esat race to the Nationals over that stretch. The Cubs have to be down on themselves coming into this series after getting swept in three games by NL Central-leading St. Louis, which dropped them 11.5 games back in that race. They've lost five games in a row, which follows a winning streak of four straight. The Cubs are 4-6 over their last 10 games
Three Cubs To Watch
1. Kris Bryant, one of baseball's young stars, is having a fantastic season since getting the call up to the big leagues early on. He's batting .273 with 40 runs scored, 13 doubles, 10 home runs and 43 RBI in 66 games. The 23-year-old has struggled recently, however, going 3-for-18 (.167) with a double and RBI over the past seven days.
2. Anthony Rizzo leads the Cubs in batting average, hits, doubles, home runs and RBI. He's tied for the team lead in stolen bases. Rizzo can do it all on the field and has become one of the premier first baseman in the league. He's batting .304 with 23 doubles, 15 home runs, 44 RBI and 11 stolen bases this season. Rizzo can't be a free agent until the 2020 season, so barring a trade, he'll be leading the Cubs for the foreseeable future.
3. Lester, who starts Wednesday, is having the type season Chicago thought he would when they gave him a six-year, $155 million deal. He's 4-6 with a 4.03 ERA and has lost his last four decisions. Lester hasn't won since May 16. He lasted just four innings in his last start, allowing four runs, losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He's allowed at least four runs in three of his last five starts, so the Mets could take advantage in what should be an important middle game of a three-game series.
The Mets head back on the road for three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers starting Friday night.