Joe Maddon discusses facing Mets for first time since NLCS sweep
The Chicago Cubs get their first crack of the season at facing the New York Mets, the team that swept them out of the playoffs last season in the NLCS. And even though the Mets are in a bit of disarray and dealing with some injuries, Cubs skipper Joe Maddon — whose team has injury issues of its own — isn’t about to underestimate their opponent in a four-game series beginning Thursday at Citi Field.
“It’s not really a true indicator of what it’s going to look like at the end of the year,” Maddon said Wednesday, via ESPN’s Jesse Rogers. “Last year is last year. They beat us. They pitched really well.”
After a near-historic start to the season, the Cubs have faltered a bit, relatively speaking, losing six of its past 10 games. But the team is entering its series with the Mets coming a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds on the road has undoubtedly lifted their spirits.
But injuries certainly are a source of concern for the Cubs. Dexter Fowler, Jorge Soler or Kyle Schwarber — the three starting outfielders in the NLCS — won’t be in the lineup this weekend.
The Mets as well have been bitten by the injury bug, highlighted by Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz being plagued by bone spurs in their pitching elbows. But Curtis Granderson (right calf soreness) is day-to-day while Lucas Duda (stress fracture in lower back) is expected back sometime in July.
“Even when they’re banged up, they’re good,” said Maddon. “I don’t take anything for granted.”
The Mets (40-37), like the Cubs (51-26), have also dropped six of their past 10 games and are riding a four-game losing streak, a slide that included a three-game sweep at the hands of the division rival Washington Nationals.
With all that in mind, Maddon sees no connection between the upcoming four-game set with the Mets and the lopsided outcome of last year’s playoff series.
“We’ll be going in there with an entirely different look,” Maddon said. “I don’t even think about connecting those dots from last year. Let’s just go play.”