Cubs-Mets Preview


While the Chicago Cubs are showing signs of breaking out of their slump, the New York Mets haven't been able to overcome their season-long troubles at the plate.

Runs could be tough to come by when these offensively challenged clubs open a three-game series Friday night at Citi Field.

After hitting .161 in losing five of six, the Cubs (26-38) matched a season high with 15 hits in a 6-5, 14-inning win over Cincinnati on Thursday.

Pinch-hitter Julio Borbon singled home the winning run with two outs as the Cubs scored at least five runs for the first time in seven games.

Chicago has lost eight of 11, largely because it's batting .203 with 36 runs over that span.

"I think we needed that win today," winning pitcher Hector Rondon said.

All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro went 3 for 7 after entering in a 4-for-48 slump, while Anthony Rizzo (.135) and Darwin Barney (.205) have struggled this month.

Chicago will be looking to build on Thursday's performance as it meets the Mets (24-37) to open a seven-game road trip.

The Cubs are scheduled to face Shaun Marcum (0-7, 4.96 ERA), who had his best outing of the season in relief Saturday. The right-hander suffered the defeat despite giving up one run and five hits over eight innings in a 2-1, 20-inning loss to Miami.

Marcum is 4-0 with a 2.90 ERA in five starts against the Cubs. Alfonso Soriano (2 for 11), David DeJesus (3 for 23) and Castro (2 for 16) haven't had much success when facing him.

The Mets have had their own troubles at the plate, particularly while losing four of five on this homestand.

New York, which has dropped eight of 10, couldn't get anything going again Thursday except for a Marlon Byrd home run - his second in as many games - in a 2-1 loss to St. Louis.

The Mets are hitting a major league-worst .224 and have scored 13 runs while batting .184 on the homestand.

Right-hander Edwin Jackson (2-8, 5.76) will try to keep their bats quiet after snapping a three-start losing streak Sunday. He struck out eight and allowed one run and four hits over seven innings in a 4-1 win over Pittsburgh.

"Sometimes we take the game too serious and we are kind of confined in a bubble," Jackson said. "I was just able to come out of that bubble and have some fun out there."

He'll make his second start against the Mets this season after giving up three runs and seven hits - two homers - over 6 2-3 innings in a 3-2 loss at Wrigley Field on May 17.

Daniel Murphy and David Wright homered off Jackson in that contest, though Murphy is 2 for 12 against him.

Wright, who went 3 for 4 on Thursday, has been one of the few bright spots with 11 hits in 28 at-bats (.393) over his last six games. He's batting .385 during a seven-game hitting streak against the Cubs.

Chicago lost two of three at home to the Mets last month but has won four of the last five meetings in New York.