Mets-Cubs Preview

The Associated Press

The Chicago Cubs may own the worst record in the NL, but they haven't resembled that lowly status at Wrigley Field recently.

Travis Wood looks to continue his home success as the Cubs go for their first three-game sweep at Wrigley in almost two years Thursday night against the sputtering New York Mets.

Chicago (22-34) has won five of six games at home after dropping 12 of its first 19 there. The success has been spurred by a 1.24 ERA while its pitchers have limited opponents to .201 batting.

The Cubs have held New York (28-31) to two earned runs in the series' first two games.

Chicago is seeking its first three-game sweep at Wrigley since July 13-15, 2012, against Arizona, and hasn't done that against the Mets since April 23-25, 2004.

Wood (5-5, 5.15 ERA) is 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA over his last four starts on the North Side - a stark difference from his 8.04 ERA while dropping four of six road outings.

The left-hander was pounded in Milwaukee on Friday, giving up five runs in the first inning before yielding two more and getting pulled with two outs in the third of an 11-5 loss.

"I've had two really, really rough starts," Wood told the team's official website. "It kind of messes with you a little, but you know it's only two starts. It's a long season, and we've had plenty of good starts."

Wood may have better luck against the Mets, against whom he's 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts since 2012.

Starlin Castro, meanwhile, is trying to build on his three hits and three RBIs from Wednesday's 5-4 win, atoning for a three-run error in the first inning.

"I just wanted to try and pick up my teammates," said Castro, who is 6 for 18 (.333) with two doubles and five RBIs in his last four games against New York.

The Mets entered this series one game under .500, and squandered first-inning leads in both games. They've gone 2 for 17 with runners in scoring position, and have left the bases loaded three times - twice Wednesday.

"We're getting guys on so it's not like we're not getting on base," manager Terry Collins said. "We're just not hitting with guys on base, which has been the tune thus far the way we started the season.''

Jacob deGrom (0-2, 2.42) is getting a fifth chance at his first career win, and he could use some help from his teammates.

The rookie right-hander has been backed by eight total runs of support, and the bullpen has surrendered seven in 15 innings while blowing two saves in his four outings.

DeGrom got enough help from the offense and was in position to win Saturday in Philadelphia, but Jeurys Familia blew the save in the ninth before the Mets went on to win 5-4 in 14.

The only runs deGrom allowed came on a seventh inning homer before leaving with one out. He's reached or completed the seventh three times.