MLB on Sling TV: Mets at Cubs on ESPN; Regional Action on Fox Sports Networks

Jul 18, 2016 by Scott Ross

(All times Eastern, starters subject to change)

New York Mets (Matz 7-5, 3.38) at Chicago Cubs (Lester 9-4, 3.01)
7pm ET on ESPN

Steven Matz has fallen on mediocre times since winning seven consecutive starts earlier in the year, going 0-4 with a 4.47 ERA over 8 starts since May 31. In the first part of the season, he allowed just 3 home runs, issued 9 walks and a had a BABIP of .291 in 49 ⅔ innings, but then served up 7 home runs, 14 walks and a .343 BABIP in 46 ⅓ – it’s been a total system failure. Since hitting bottom on June 24 against Atlanta (4 ⅓ IP, 9 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 0 SO), he’s been leaning more heavily on his curve and changeup over his last three starts, during which he’s posted a 3.72 ERA over 19 ⅓, but also given up 4 homers and 8 walks – not sure the new pitch selection is the answer.

Jon Lester is coming off his fourth career All Star appearance, but his two appearances before that were a grisly blood bath, as the big lefty recorded just 13 outs, while giving up 13 runs on 13 hits, including 5 homers – that works out to an ERA of 27.00, as Lester saw his ERA climb from 2.03 to 3.01 in the span of those 4 ⅓ innings. Lester’s woes were part of a team-wide (and, let’s be honest, inevitable) collapse that saw the Cubs go 5-15, while the team ERA climbed from 2.66 to 3.34. The reality is that Lester’s numbers for the year after the two disasters now more closely reflect his true talent level, which is still very high.

Watch the New York Mets vs. the Chicago Cubs at 7pm ET Monday on ESPN by subscribing to the Best of Live TV package..

Here’s the action from the FOX Sports regional networks across the land:

Baltimore Orioles (Gausman 1-6, 4.15) at New York Yankees (Nova 6-5, 5.17) 7:05PM ET on YES

Miami Marlins (Fernandez 11-4, 2.52) at Philadelphia Phillies (Nola 5-8, 4.69) 7:05PM ET on FOX Sports Florida

Atlanta Braves (Wisler 4-8, 4.47) at Cincinnati Reds (Finnegan 4-7, 4.71) 7:10PM ET on FOX Sports Cincinnati & FOX Sports Southeast

Minnesota Twins (Nolasco 4-7, 5.22) at Detroit Tigers (Boyd 0-2, 5.77) 7:10PM ET on FOX Sports Detroit & FOX Sports North

Cleveland Indians (Kluber 9-8, 3.61) at Kansas City Royals (Volquez 8-8, 4.85) 8:15PM ET on FOX Sports Kansas City & SportsTime Ohio

San Diego Padres (Friedrich 4-5, 4.50) at St. Louis Cardinals (Leake 6-7, 4.14) 8:15PM ET on FOX Sports Midwest & FOX Sports San Diego

Tampa Bay Rays (Smyly 2-10, 5.47) at Colorado Rockies (Anderson 1-3, 3.03) 8:40PM ET on Fox Sports Sun

Texas Rangers (Griffin 3-1, 3.81) at Los Angeles Angels (Tropeano 3-2, 3.12`) 10:05PM ET on FOX Sports Southwest & FOX Sports West

Watch baseball on FOX and FOX Sports Regional Networks by subscribing to the Sling Blue.

All stats courtesy of ESPN and Baseball Reference

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