Energized Cubs go for four-game sweep of skidding Mets

NEW YORK — Both the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs should be tired Sunday afternoon, when the first pitch of their series finale at Citi Field is scheduled to be thrown 13 hours after the last pitch of Saturday’s game.

But riding a six-run 14th inning to victory as Saturday night bled into Sunday morning means there’s a pretty good chance the Cubs feel far more energized than the Mets.

The visiting Cubs will look to complete a four-game sweep of the reeling Mets on Sunday afternoon, when Jon Lester (5-2, 2.71 ERA) takes the mound for Chicago against Steven Matz (2-3, 3.55 ERA) in a battle of left-handers.

Albert Almora Jr.’s two-run double sparked the big 14th inning Saturday, when the Cubs beat the Mets, 7-1. Ben Zobrist (two-run double) and Javier Baez (two-run homer) added RBI hits later in the frame to ensure the yeoman relief effort of Luke Farrell, who struck out seven in five scoreless innings wouldn’t go for naught.

The 14th inning was preceded by plenty of frustration for the Cubs (32-23), who stranded 17 runners in the first 13 innings and struck out 24 times.

“Listen, obviously I’m a lot chippier and happier right now because we won,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “Had we not won that game, with all those opportunities, it would have been difficult.”

Suffice to say Mets manager Mickey Callaway understood exactly what Maddon was talking about. The 24 strikeouts by its pitchers were a single-game team record for New York (27-29), which wasted a gem by ace right-hander Jacob deGrom (one run and 13 strikeouts in seven innings) and rendered meaningless were six subsequent scoreless innings by a bullpen that entered Saturday with an 8.42 ERA in the previous nine games.

“They did a great job of keeping us where we needed to be and giving us extra at-bats to go out there and scratch one run over the plate,” Callaway said.

The Mets stranded 11 runners and left the bases loaded in the 13th en route to their eighth loss in 10 games.

“We’ve just got to go out there and grind,” Callaway said. “It was a frustrating night.”

The Cubs and Mets will obviously be looking for distance Sunday from Lester and Matz, each of whom made headlines this week for what he did at the plate instead of on the mound.

Lester, who earned the win in his most recent start Tuesday after allowing four runs over six innings as the Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-6, made his third career pinch-hitting appearance Friday, when he grounded out in the ninth inning of Chicago’s 7-4 victory.

The 0-for-1 didn’t even drop Lester’s career average, which remained at .094. But afterward, Maddon praised the hitting potential possessed by Lester, who was hitless in his first 66 career at-bats.

“I think it’s just a matter of getting more opportunities, because technically he’s got a really good swing.” Maddon said. “This guy has a good approach and he’s hitting with a lot of confidence right now.”

Matz is also pitching for the first time since Tuesday, when he was forced to leave after three scoreless innings against the Atlanta Braves due to a strained left middle finger suffered while fouling off a pitch an at-bat a half-inning earlier. The southpaw, who doubled during the at-bat, played catch Thursday and threw his usual bullpen session on Friday.

Lester is 5-1 with a 3.83 ERA in seven career starts against the Mets.

Matz is 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA in two starts against the Cubs.