Mets host Cubs on Sept. 11 Anniversary

Courtesy of Marc Levine/New York Mets

Former New York Mets teammates Mike Piazza (2nd-left) and John Franco (4th-left) will take part in pregame ceremonies honoring the 10th Anniversary of Sept. 11 prior to the Mets-Cubs game.

The New York Mets host the Chicago Cubs on Sunday Night Baseball at 8 ET on ESPN in the rubber game of a three-game series. Prior to the game, the Mets will hold a Sept. 11 Remembrance Ceremony.

Former closer John Franco will throw the first pitch to Mike Piazza, who hit a dramatic home run in the Mets 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 21, 2001 – the first major league game in New York after the 9/11 terror attacks. In addition, a 300-foot-by-100 foot American flag will be unveiled; Marc Anthony – who sang the national anthem on Sept. 21, 2001 – will repeat the performance; and Queens native (and American Idol finalist) Pia Toscano will sing “God Bless America.”

On the mound

Matt Garza takes the mound for the Cubs, his first career start against the Mets. Garza is having the best season of his career, according to ERA. He has lowered his ERA nearly half a run from 3.91 last year to 3.52 this year.

However, the road hasn’t been kind to Garza this season. In 12 road starts, he’s 3-5 with a 4.84 ERA, more than double his home ERA (2.64). In addition, the opposition is hitting .279 against him on the road, compared to .230 in the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.

Miguel Batista This Season

For the Mets, 40-year-old Miguel Batista takes the mound. Batista - playing for his 10th MLB team (tied with Bruce Chen for the second-most teams played for among active pitchers, behind Octavio Dotel, 12) - earned his 100th career win in his first start with New York (Sept. 1).

Batista is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts this season (including one start with the St. Louis Cardinals on April 22). Batista’s last loss as a starter was July 19, 2008. He is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in eight starts since then.

Matchup to watch

Jason Bay is hitting just .218 (19-87) since August 13, despite hitting .452 (14-31) during his current nine-game hitting streak. Bay is 5-20 (including postseason) in his career against Garza, but hasn’t faced him since 2009, when he went 3-15. However, those three hits were all for extra bases (double and two triples).

Stat of the game

Starlin Castro leads the NL with 186 hits and is projected to finish with more than 200 this season. He would be the first Cubs player to have a 200-hit season before turning age 22.