MLB: Mets, Cubs each look to take series after lopsided wins

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After the Chicago Cubs and the visiting New York Mets traded lopsided wins over the first two games, fans are waiting to see what third and final meeting of the series will bring Sunday night.

The Mets pounced on the Cubs early and won Friday’s series opener, 11-1. The Cubs answered back with a first-inning surge on Saturday and won the rematch, 8-1.

“We needed that,” Chicago outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong told Marquee Sports Network after Saturday’s win. “It’s always fun putting up eight (runs). Good bounce back day from (Friday). Nico (Hoerner) set the tone from pitch one with that walk, and it was off to the races from there.”

The Cubs have had an up-and-down month of June, but pitcher Jameson Taillon had every pitch in his arsenal clicking in the winning effort. He tallied a season-high 10 strikeouts and limited the Mets to just one run in seven innings. New York is 12-6 in June and enters Sunday with a National League-best 6.06 runs scored per game this month.

New York aims for a bounce-back performance offensively, after being held to fewer than two runs for the first time since a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 28.

The Mets may have to regroup without Starling Marte. The 35-year old outfielder exited Saturday’s game in the second inning, after grounding out in his first at-bat. He had been playing through a nagging knee injury, and despite the ailment, was batting .357 at the plate over the previous 15 games leading into Saturday.

Mendoza told reporters after Saturday’s game that the Mets plan to evaluate and conduct tests on Marte when they return to New York on Monday.

“He’s an important part of our team with the way he’s swinging the bat and what he brings to the table and in so many different areas of the game,” Mendoza said. “We’ll see what we’re dealing with here. Hopefully it’s nothing serious and in a couple of days he’ll be back there, but right now we just have to wait and see.”

The Mets are slated to pitch Luis Severino (4-2, 3.52 ERA), while the Cubs are expected to turn to Javier Assad (4-2, 2.75 ERA).

Assad had a pair of no-decisions in each of his past two starts. He hasn’t been awarded a win since May 15, when he pitched six shutout innings in a 7-1 win over the Atlanta Braves. Assad has made six total starts since then, a stretch that includes four no-decisions and two losses. He’ll try to break that drought on Sunday night.

Assad pitched against the Mets in an April 30 no-decision. He gave up one run on five hits over five innings of action.

Meanwhile, Severino will try to put together a better showing after giving up a season-high six earned runs in his most recent appearance Tuesday against the Texas Rangers. Severino gave up eight hits, including two home runs, in a no-decision, as the Mets eventually pulled off a come-from-behind 7-6 victory.

Severino stood out in an April 29 start against the Cubs and had a no-hitter until the eighth inning. The Mets chased Severino and won 3-1, with Severino leaving with a no-decision.

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