Mets-Cubs Preview

The Associated Press

Enjoying plenty of early season success, Travis Wood has been as reliable as could be for the Chicago Cubs.

The same can't be said for the New York Mets' Dillon Gee, who hasn't been able to get it together.

Looking to win a third consecutive start, Wood takes the mound opposite Gee as the Cubs and Mets conclude a three-game set Sunday at Wrigley Field.

Among the major league leaders with a .175 opponent batting average, Wood (4-2, 2.03 ERA) has allowed three or fewer runs and gone at least six innings in all eight of his outings. He's already two victories away from matching his total from all of last season.

"He's doing a lot of this without secondary pitches," manager Dale Sveum told MLB's official website. "It's not like he's throwing a lot of curveballs or changeups. He's mixing in those pitches and using them when he has to against people who are vulnerable, and able to use both sides of the plate and be aggressive."

After allowing one run and six hits over 6 2-3 innings during a 2-1 win over St. Louis on May 7, Wood scattered two hits over seven scoreless frames in Monday's 9-1 victory over Colorado.

"Tomorrow's a new day. You've got to get after it and put my work in," said Wood, who went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA against the Mets last season. "If I feel like I need to work on something, work on it and take the ball that fifth day and hopefully be able to keep it going."

Having recorded one quality start in eight tries, Gee (2-5, 6.13) is just hoping to get on track. The right-hander's woes continued Tuesday in a 10-4 loss at St. Louis, surrendering six runs, nine hits and three walks over four innings.

"I don't know what's going on," said Gee, who induced 12 ground balls. "I don't even know what to say, really. I didn't feel all that bad tonight. I'm a ground-ball guy, and I think seven ground-ball hits got through. I don't know what else to do."

Gee's 11.34 road ERA is by far the highest mark among NL pitchers with at least four road starts. He had gone 1-1 with a 6.55 ERA versus Chicago (18-24) before allowing one run over eight innings in a 3-1 victory July 7.

Gee will try to slow down a Cubs team that's won five of seven while hitting .368 with runners in scoring position. Chicago went 4 for 9 in such situations Saturday, and Nate Schierholtz and Anthony Rizzo both went deep in the 8-2 victory.

"Whenever you get an opportunity to get runs, you gotta seize those opportunities," said Rizzo, batting .390 with four homers and 16 RBIs in the last 21 games.

Rizzo is 12 for 29 with two long balls in seven games against the Mets (16-24).

After taking Friday's series opener, New York lost for the seventh time in nine games. The Mets are hitting .223 and have posted a 5.96 ERA during that stretch.

"If you get down and you let this get to you, you're going to lose 10 in a row," manager Terry Collins said. "You've got to stay upbeat."

Ike Davis is mired in a 1-for-30 slump and Ruben Tejada is one for his last 25. Lucas Duda has also struggled, going 7 for 50 this month.

While some of his teammates look lost at he plate, second baseman Daniel Murphy has gone 14 for 28 with one homer and five doubles during a seven-game hitting streak.