The Chicago Cubs appear to have the New York Mets' number.
While the Cubbies stand at a lowly 32-51 with a team full of prospects who probably belong at Triple-A, they have won three of their four contests this year with the Mets.
Earlier this season, after the Mets looked sluggish and got blown away in an ugly 6-1 loss to the Cubs, New York manager Terry Collins said his team was tired because they didn't arrive in Chicago until 5 a.m. to play a 1 p.m. day game.
The Mets didn't look much better the following day, as Anthony Rizzo blasted a two-run double in the fourth inning to give the Cubs a 5-3 victory.
New York wrapped up the June series with a 17-1 win, but all the good vibes from that game went down the drain after falling 8-7 to the Cubs on July 6.
If the New York Mets want to make a playoff push, they are going to have to beat the bottom-feeders of the National League, and that includes the fifth-place Chicago Cubs, who are 14 games out of first in the NL Central.
Is there a letdown when the Mets play the Cubs?
The Mets faced the unfortunate task of taking on the Cubs directly after a series against their arch rivals, the New York Yankees.
It's easy to see how there would be a letdown after an intense three-game series against their Bronx neighbors, which culminated with a Sunday night game that was televised nationally on ESPN.
Collins was correct in his assessment that the Mets didn't get much sleep following that game, so I'll give them a pass for their loss on June 25. However, there's no excuse for losing three of four to this installment of the Cubs.
Chicago has question marks all over the field, and they already conceded the season by calling up several young guns who may not be MLB-ready.
The Mets faced another letdown in July, as they played the Cubs after a three-game set against the Philadelphia Phillies, another one of their most-heated rivals. Collins typically has the Mets ready to go, but he's been unable to avoid the dreaded letdowns against the Cubs this season.
Ending The Skid
Dillon Gee takes the mound against Jeff Samardzija on July 7 in a must-win game for the Mets as the All-Star break nears.
The Mets need to finish out the first half of the year on a high note to send a message that they are going to be a contender in the National League.
Eric Holden is a lifelong New York Mets fan. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
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