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Mets vs. Cubs Thursday MLB injury report, odds: Jeff McNeil back in lineup, Starling Marte might return for New York

The Mets could get back two All-Stars at the Cubs tonight.
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Off a huge series in Atlanta in which the New York Mets won two of three and were able to extend their NL East lead to 2.5 games over the second-place Braves, the Mets close the first half with a four-game series at the Chicago Cubs. New York could get back two All-Stars in second baseman Jeff McNeil and outfielder Starling Marte Thursday night. The Mets are -130 at Caesars Sportsbook.

McNeil will be in the lineup after being activated off the paternity list – players are awarded three days of paternity leave as per the collective bargaining agreement. McNeil and his wife welcomed a baby boy Wednesday morning. McNeil leads the Mets with a .311 average and .371 on-base percentage but has struggled in July with .219 average in 32 at-bats. He obviously may have had other things on his mind.

Marte has been out of the lineup for four straight games due to tightness in his groin, but that the team didn't put him on the injured list obviously indicates the Mets think he can play at some point before the break. He's officially questionable tonight. Marte is batting .291 with nine homers, 40 RBIs, 50 runs scored and 10 steals. He is slashing.380/.436/.600 over his last 13 games and has been stellar this year with runners on base in hitting .306.

New York starts Carlos Carrasco (9-4, 4.55 ERA) on the mound. Following back-to-back rough outings vs. Houston, he has allowed three earned over 11.1 innings in his past two. Carrasco is two wins away from 100 for his career and will become the eighth pitcher from Venezuela to reach the 100-win milestone. He is 0-1 with a 5.23 ERA in two career starts vs. the Cubs and hasn't seen them since 2020.

If the Mets can score at least four runs for Carrasco, he should win. New York is 47-5 when scoring at least four runs in a game this year. The Mets have won 15 consecutive games in which they've scored at least four runs and are 25-1 since May 27 when scoring at least four times.

Keegan Thompson (7-3, 3.04) starts for the Cubs and he has emerged as the team's unlikely ace. Thompson has allowed one earned run or fewer in four of his past five and is 4-1 with a 2.14 ERA at home. In his lone appearance vs. the Mets in New York on June 15, 2021, Thompson tossed 2.0 scoreless innings in relief, allowing one hit and two walks with three strikeouts.

Nine of Chicago's past 12 games have been decided by two or fewer runs and the Cubs have gone 17-30 (.362) in games decided by that margin. The 47 such games are tied for second-most in the National League.

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