Tuesday, June 03, 2014
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Preview: Mets At Cubs

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[June 03, 2014]  After taking four of five from one struggling National League representative, the visiting New York Mets look to continue their good fortune on Tuesday when they open a three-game set against the sputtering Chicago Cubs. The Mets appear to have righted the ship by going 6-1 after firing former hitting coach Dave Hudgens. Wilmer Flores belted a grand slam to highlight a six-RBI performance as New York cruised to an 11-2 triumph over Philadelphia on Monday.

While the Mets are ascending, the cellar-dwelling Cubs hope they've hit rock bottom after suffering their fourth loss in five games with a 9-0 drubbing by Milwaukee on Sunday. The downward spiral has made trade speculation run rampant in the Chicago locker room. "There's a lot of talk going on," right-hander Jeff Samardzija said after permitting a season-high eight runs against the Brewers on Sunday. "I'm not saying it gets to you - it's part of the job. Whatever is on the outside doesn't matter."

TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, SNY (New York), CSN Chicago

PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets RH Zack Wheeler (2-5, 4.31 ERA) vs. Cubs RH Jake Arrieta (1-1, 3.20)

Wheeler recorded his first win since April 14 in scintillating fashion, striking out the first five batters he faced before fanning nine in 6 1/3 innings versus the Phillies on Thursday. The 24-year-old allowed one run on four hits and reached the six-inning plateau for the fourth time in his last five starts. Wheeler has yet to face the Cubs in his young career.

Arrieta matched a season high by yielding four runs on seven hits in six innings in a 4-0 setback to San Francisco last Tuesday. The 28-year-old has kept the ball in the yard, permitting just one homer in 25 1/3 innings while seeing his pitch count elevated from a conservative total in his first three starts. Arrieta lost his lone career appearance versus the Mets, surrendering four runs in seven innings.

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1. Chicago closer Hector Rondon is expected to return from paternity leave on Tuesday. He became a first-time father on Friday when his wife delivered a son.

2. New York 2B Daniel Murphy, who had two hits and two runs scored on Monday, is batting a robust .315 in his career versus the Cubs.

3. Chicago SS Starlin Castro has reached safely in each of his last 16 games at home, going 21-for-62 during that stretch.

PREDICTION: Mets 4, Cubs 3

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