MLB- N.Y. Mets at Chicago - (2:20 ET, WGN)


Two of the division leaders go head to head for a weekend series in Chicago when the Mets come visiting the Cubs. The first game of the three-day set is on Friday afternoon, and matches the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano against New York's El Duque, Orlando Hernandez.

The series itself is enough from an inspiration standpoint to stoke the enthusiasm of most fans from the North Side; however for the little older fan the mere sight of the Mets uniform is enough to make them sick to their stomach. For this passionate die-hard Cubs fan, 1969 seems like yesterday when the beloved Cubs had an eight game lead in early August and ended trailing the Mets by eight games when the season ended. It was the improbable nightmare that cemented the Cubs frustration to be forever remembered unless a World Series champion banner would fly again.

Every year the T-shirts sell on street corners near Wrigley Field with a particular four letter word being used, followed by "the Mets". This passion is carried onto the field by one of their own, being the National League's top winning pitcher Zambrano (14-7, 3.47). After a sluggish start, Zambrano is hotter than a jalapeño pepper not allowing more than three runs in any of his last 11 starts. A better indication of how commanding the big right-hander has pitched is he has not given up more than five hits in any of those starts. Being as emotional as Zambrano is, he can get on these rolls and he the Cubs are 39-16 against the money line after giving up two or less earned runs in his last two outings in his career.

New York did there part to help put Chicago in first place in the NL Central taking two of three from moribund Milwaukee. The Mets bats are starting to show signs of life with Jose Reyes and David Wright leading the way. New York has been especially adept at beating quality pitchers and is 17-6 against the ML vs. an NL starting pitcher whose ERA is 3.50 or better this season. The Metropolitans have enjoyed great success once they get past the opponents starting pitcher with 74-46 record vs. an average bullpen whose ERA is 3.75 to 4.50 over the last two seasons.

Chicago is a -135 favorite at and could have underdog players licking there chops with the Cubs 26-42 playing a club with a good bullpen whose ERA is 3.75 or better. The Mets starter Orlando Hernandez (7-4, 3.02) also can make backers jump for joy with 9-1mark as an underdog of +100 to +150 over the last two campaigns. (Mets Record)

The Mets won three of four at Shea Stadium earlier and have split six games the last two seasons against the Cubs. Having ‘Z' on the hill gives the Cubs a tremendous edge since he is 3-1 against New York. Nevertheless, the Mets have often played there best baseball on the road in 2007 particularly when challenged.

This matinee can be seen on WGN starting at 2:20 Eastern. The Betting Trends page will have unique information for those waiting to pounce on certain numbers and cash winners.

StatFox Power Line Chicago -149

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