Chicago (38-60) at New York (59-40)

Light Drizzle Currently: New York, NY
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  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Tue Jul 25, 2006
  • TV: WGN, SNY
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Two pitchers vying for the NL Cy Young award meet Tuesday when New York Mets ace Tom Glavine starts opposite the Chicago CubsCarlos Zambrano in the middle game of a three-game set at Shea Stadium.

Glavine (11-3, 3.52 ERA) is having his best season since joining the Mets (59-40) as a free agent in 2003, and the two-time Cy Young winner is two victories shy of his 2005 total.

Zambrano (10-3, 3.11) has won seven consecutive decisions for the Cubs (38-60) and has not lost in nine starts since May 31.

The All-Star pitchers matched up July 15 at Wrigley Field, where Zambrano and the Cubs recorded a 9-2 victory as he limited the Mets to two runs and three hits while striking out seven in six innings.

Glavine yielded three runs and four hits in five-plus innings and had a nine-game winning streak snapped in his first loss since April 24.

Zambrano also defeated Glavine during his rookie year in 2002, when Glavine pitched for the Atlanta Braves.

The 25-year-old Zambrano has been a stopper for the Cubs, recording nine wins the game after Chicago loses. The Venezuela native started the season 0-2 and did not get his first win until May 10, but has since gone 10-1 with a 2.56 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 98 1-3 innings.

He limited the Houston Astros to one run while striking out 10 in eight innings of a 4-1 victory Thursday.

“He’s having quite a run here,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “Especially since it’s his 10th victory and considering he didn’t get a win in April.”

The right-hander has been one of the few bright spots for a Cubs, who trail the St. Louis Cardinals by 18 games in the NL Central and are enduring their worst season in four years under Baker, who is in the final year of his contract.

Zambrano is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in two starts against the Mets, but lost his only one at Shea Stadium on Aug. 7, 2005. The current Mets roster is only hitting .209 against him.

Glavine, who is 0-1 with a 4.23 in his last five starts, is still second in the National League in wins. The 40-year-old left-hander yielded two runs and nine hits over 6 1-3 innings before the Mets posted a 4-2, 10-inning win Thursday over the Cincinnati Reds in his last start.

“I felt good,” Glavine said. “In my last couple of games, I just seem to have that one inning or two innings that become difficult, become the turning point in the game for me. It’s not like the third time through the lineup I’m getting hammered. There’s a ground ball, a bloop hit, and things get going.”

The 10-time All-Star has beaten the Cubs once in his last four starts, going 1-3 with a 7.40 ERA.

The Mets hope he can help them avoid only their second three-game losing streak of the season after Monday’s 8-7 loss. New York lost a season-high four in a row from June 27-30, but still comfortably leads the NL East by 11 1/2 games over Atlanta.

Already struggling offensively, the Cubs absorbed another blow Monday when first baseman and 2005 batting champion Derrek Lee was placed on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right wrist. The 2005 NL batting champion suffered the initial wrist fracture April 19 in a collision with the Los Angeles DodgersRafael Furcal and missed 59 games.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Zambrano Phi vs. T. Glavine Atl
16-7 Record 15-7
3.41 ERA 3.82
210 K 131
115 BB 62
1.29 WHIP 1.33