The road trip that the Chicago Cubs returned from on Monday proved to be quite costly for the team. The team's 3-4 record over the trip cost them in the standings, but the trip also cost the team the services of two of the members of their lineup, and potentially one member of the rotation. Outfielder Marlon Byrd was hit in the face with a fastball during the series against the Red Sox, and has been placed on the DL with several fractures in his face. Meanwhile, Jeff Baker was lifted from left field duties during Sunday's game with a strained groin, and Matt Garza had his start skipped after he experienced elbow tightness.
The depleted Cubs team will now limp back to Wrigley to begin one of their longest homesteads of the year, starting with a three game series against the New York Mets. The first game of the series will see Ryan Dempster take on the Mets' Jonathon Niese.
Dempster, who is 2-4 with a 6.91 ERA and 1.57 WHIP on the season, experienced a bit of a hiccup in his most recent start against the Florida Marlins. Though the Cubs eventually won the game, Dempster gave up five runs on eighth hits over just five innings pitched. Prior to that he had strung together three starts in a row where he had given up two earned runs or fewer. In his career against the Mets, Dempster is 9-5 over 14 starts with a 5.58 ERA and 1.86 WHIP. Carlos Beltran is 6-for-9 against Dempster with one home run.
The Mets will send Jonathon Niese to the mound to counter Dempster. Niese has been a solid starter on the season for the Mets, though he has been prone to a few blowouts. He's currently 3-4 with a 4.39 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. In his career against the Cubs he's 1-1 over three starts with a 6.75 ERA and 2.11 WHIP. Reed Johnson is 2-for-2 against Niese, while Geovany Soto is 2-for-5 with one double and one home run.
The weather in Chicago is expected to be clear and partly cloudy, with a game time temperature in the upper 50's. First pitch is at 7:10 P.M., CDT, and the game will be televised on WGN.