Two of the National League's top clubs are battling in Chicago this week as the Cubs and Mets play a three-game set at Wrigley Field. The Cubs took the opener Monday, snapping an eight-game losing skid vs. New York dating back to last year's NL Championship Series.The series continues today
Two of the National League's top clubs are battling in Chicago this week as the Cubs and Mets play a three-game set at Wrigley Field. The Cubs took the opener Monday, snapping an eight-game losing skid vs. New York dating back to last year's NL Championship Series.
The series continues today with a marquee pitching matchup between All-Stars Noah Syndergaard and Jake Arrieta. Fans can catch this pitchers' duel as well as the rest of the day's 15-day slate live on MLB.TV.
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Here's what to watch for throughout the day (all times in ET):
Arrieta looks put rough patch behind him: NYM@CHC, 7:05 p.m.
Coming off his first All-Star selection, Arrieta will start against the Mets today opposite fellow NL teammate Syndergaard. Arrieta was stellar throughout much of the first half, but uncharacteristically stumbled heading into the break, surrendering four or more runs in each of his last three outings. The Cubs righty said downtime over the break was exactly what he needed to get back on track.
"Sometimes you need that mental down time," Arrieta said. "I picked up a ball for the first time in four, five days [on Thursday] and threw the best 'pen I've thrown all year."
Syndergaard also stands to benefit from additional rest. The Mets righty is scaling back his workload between starts to combat arm fatigue. He was shifted to the last spot in the rotation coming out of the break to allow for additional days of rest.
"I've just got to take a step back and really evaluate what my routine has been," Syndergaard said. "Just throwing way too much between starts is really the only thing I'm going to taper back, and see how that goes."
Stat that matters: In 13 career starts pitching on six or more days of rest, Syndergaard owns a 2.71 ERA and a .213 opponents' batting average.
Salazar takes the hill in AL Central showdown: CLE@KC, 8:15 p.m.
The last time Danny Salazar took the mound he turned in a rare poor outing, allowing six runs on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Yankees. The outing was more aberation than cause for concern for the Indians right-hander, who earned his first All-Star selection this season and ranks second in the AL in ERA (2.75) and opponents' average (.203). He'll look to start the second half strong in a division matchup with the Royals today.
For Kansas City, Brian Flynn will make his first start in 2016 after pitching out of the bullpen all season. Flynn posted a 2.39 ERA through 13 relief appearances (26 1/3 innings).
Stat that matters: Salazar is holding his opponents to a .161 (5-for-31) average on 0-0 counts, which ranks second among all qualified starting pitchers. The league average is .342.
Giants and Red Sox meet in Interleague clash: SF@BOS, 7:10 p.m.
The Giants will try for their first win at Fenway Park today when they meet the Red Sox for a two-game Interleague series. This will be the Giants second trip to Boston since the inception of Interleague Play in 1997.
Both teams enter today's bout in prime playoff position. San Francisco leads the National League West and owns the best record in baseball at 57-36, while Boston is just behind the Orioles in the American League East and currently in possession of AL's top Wild Card spot.
The series is also notable for the return to Boston for Jake Peavy, who's facing his former club for the first time since he was traded to the Giants on July 26, 2014. Peavy, who won a championship with Boston in 2013, is 3-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 14 career starts at Fenway Park. The Red Sox will counter with right-hander Rick Porcello, who will look to build upon a strong first half.
Stat that matters: Porcello has been unbeatable at home, going 8-0 with a 3.32 ERA in nine starts at Fenway Park this season. He's limited his opponent to three or fewer earned runs in all but one of those outings.
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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com.