The New York Mets may be in the thick of the NL East race, but being among the worst fielding teams in the league could end up costing them.
It's certainly making a difference lately.
The Mets will try to rebound from one of their worst fielding displays of the season Tuesday night when they continue a three-game road set against the Chicago Cubs, who are expected to have top prospect Anthony Rizzo in the lineup for the first time.
New York, which hasn't dropped four straight since April 30-May 4, ranks among the major league leaders with 58 errors, five coming in the last two games.
That sloppiness was a problem again in Monday night's series opener, as the Mets' three errors contributed to Chicago's four-run seventh in a 6-1 defeat. David Wright and Lucas Duda misplayed popups that became three-base errors as the wind at Wrigley posed problems.
"Weird would be one would be one way to describe it," manager Terry Collins said. "I have another description for it that I can't say here ... It's that kind of night. We don't make those mistakes. Unfortunately it came back to haunt us."
Chicago's six runs Monday were one less than it totaled during a four-game slide and the Cubs (25-48) are hoping to get a boost from Rizzo, who is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Iowa, where he hit .342 with 23 homers and 62 RBIs.
The 22-year-old Rizzo, acquired in an offseason trade with San Diego, hit .141 with one homer and nine RBIs in 49 games with the Padres last year.
Rizzo is expected to bat either third or fourth and take over as the everyday first baseman, replacing Bryan LaHair.
"He's got to understand he's not the savior of this offense now," manager Dale Sveum told the team's official website. "That's what he has to be careful of, is that he comes up here and tries to save a struggling offense. He can't do it with one swing of the bat all the time, (although) it'd be nice if he does."
Dillon Gee (5-5, 4.27 ERA) will try to help the Mets (39-35) bounce back by building on his first win in five starts.
The right-hander yielded two runs and three hits with nine strikeouts in 7 1-3 innings of a 4-3 win over Baltimore on Wednesday.
Gee had been 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA in his previous four starts, which all ended in New York defeats.
"My job is to put the team in position to win," Gee said.
His only meeting with the Cubs resulted in a rain-shortened 7-4 win at Wrigley Field on May 25, 2011. He completed all six innings while allowing four runs and four hits.
Randy Wells (1-2, 4.91) is slated to get another turn in the rotation in place of the injured Ryan Dempster (right lat tightness).
The right-hander struggled in his first start since April, allowing thee runs and five hits with four walks in 3 2-3 innings of a 7-0 loss to the White Sox on Wednesday.
Wells has 20 walks over 25 2-3 innings in 11 games, but 13 have come in 12 1-3 over three starts while he's gone 0-2 with a 6.57 ERA.
He is, however, 0-1 with a 2.92 ERA in four starts against the Mets.
Wells will have to contend with Wright, who is batting .362 during a 15-game hitting streak.
Mets first baseman Ike Davis is 3 for 19 in his last six games but each of those hits has been a home run - including a solo shot Monday - and he has nine RBIs during that span.
- Anthony Rizzo
- The New York Mets
- Chicago Cubs