Chicago Cubs (52-69) at New York Mets (58-65), 7:10 p.m. (ET)
08/16/2014 9:55 AM
08/16/2014 9:55 AM
(SportsNetwork.com) - For Dan Straily, reality sets in on Saturday night.
The right-hander makes his initial appearance for the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field, where they'll play game two of a four-game series with the host New York Mets.
Straily was a member of the best team in the major leagues -- the Oakland Athletics -- at the start of the 2014 season. He made seven starts and had a 4.93 earned run average before being sent to Triple-A Sacramento in May. Then, in July, he became Cubs property when he was part of the trade that sent starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics.
The Cubs, incidentally, are last in the National League's Central Division and 17 games below .500.
Straily last pitched for Oakland on May 7 and was 7-6 in 17 starts at Sacramento and Chicago's Triple-A affiliate, Iowa. In his last three starts, comprising 19 innings, he's allowed two unearned runs and struck out 18 batters.
He has never faced the Mets.
New York counters with lefty Jonathon Niese, who picked up his first win on Monday since returning from the disabled list after a strained shoulder.
He had a 5.76 ERA in his first four turns since the injury, but beat Philadelphia, 5-3, with seven innings of two-run ball.
"This year has been really weird," Niese said. "It seems like I'm losing with my good stuff and winning with my bad stuff. I'll take a win like this anytime with what I've been through this year, spending time on the disabled list and all."
In his last four home starts, the Mets have managed just four runs of support. In four home starts against the Cubs, he's also gotten just four runs while going 0-3 with a 6.33 ERA.
Chicago batters have struck out 30 times in two games.
On Friday, Eric Campbell hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning to help lift the Mets over the Cubs, 3-2.
Zack Wheeler (8-8) tossed 6 2/3 strong innings for New York, scattering four hits and conceding only two runs. The right-hander tied his season high for strikeouts with 10 and improved his record to 5-0 in his last nine starts. Jenrry Mejia pitched a perfect ninth inning en route to his 18th save of the season as the Mets snapped a three-game losing streak.
Travis Wood (7-10) struck out five over 5 1/3 innings, but was tagged with the loss for surrendering the homer to Campbell. Wood is winless (0-5) in his last 11 starts.
Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro drove in Chicago's two runs as the Cubs lost for just the second time in their last seven meetings with the Mets.
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