The Chicago Cubs are coming off their biggest offensive output of the season, but they hope they’ve saved some runs to support a rookie making his major-league debut on the mound Thursday. The Cubs look to keep the bats going behind Jen-Ho Tseng when they wrap up a three-game series against the visiting New York Mets.
The Cubs have won the first two contests, outscoring the Mets 25-8 and matching their season-high for runs in a 17-5 rout Wednesday. Another offensive outburst would be beneficial to Tseng, a command pitcher who learned Wednesday he will make his debut in the heat of a pennant race. Chicago leads the National League Central by 2 1/2 games over Milwaukee and is three games ahead of St. Louis. The Mets have dropped three straight following a four-game winning streak, and they’ve allowed 35 runs during the skid.
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, SNY (New York), ABC 7 (Chicago)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets RH Seth Lugo (6-4, 4.64 ERA) vs. Cubs RH Jen-Ho Tseng (NR)
Lugo struggled in his first two starts after coming off the disabled list on Aug. 27, but he was dominant last time out. The 27-year-old allowed four hits and a walk over six scoreless innings against Cincinnati on Friday, earning his first win since July 25. Lugo has pitched four scoreless innings over two relief appearances against the Cubs.
Tseng is set for his major-league debut after an outstanding season in the minors. The 22-year-old from Taiwan was 13-4 with a 2.54 ERA in 24 starts across Double-A and Triple-A this season, earning the club’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year honor. Tseng struck out 122 batters and walked just 38 in 145 1/3 innings in the minors this year.
1. The Cubs have hit 204 home runs this season, the fourth-highest total in franchise history.
2. Mets INF Jose Reyes led off Wednesday’s game with a home run to tie Darryl Strawberry for the second-most extra-base hits in franchise history with 469.
3. Chicago OF Albert Almora entered in the seventh inning Wednesday and had a triple, a home run, and six RBIs in two at-bats.
PREDICTION: Mets 7, Cubs 5