Cubs look to keep momentum against Mets (Jun 14, 2017)

BY AP • June 14, 2017

NEW YORK -- The Chicago Cubs hope their offensive outburst Tuesday night was a sign of things to come. The New York Mets hope their poor pitching performance was just an aberration.

Something will likely have to give on Wednesday night, when the Mets host the Cubs in the finale of a three-game series at Citi Field. Chicago ended New York's four-game winning streak with a 14-3 victory on Tuesday night.

Cubs left-hander Mike Montgomery (0-3, 2.43 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Mets right-hander Matt Harvey (4-3, 5.02 ERA).

On Tuesday, the Cubs racked up eight runs against Zack Wheeler, the Mets' most consistent pitcher this season, in just 1 2/3 innings. Wheeler gave up just eight runs in his previous four starts, a span of 24 1/3 innings.

"This guy's pitched I don't know how many good ones in a row," Mets manager Terry Collins said afterward. "He's going to have a bad one and tonight was it."

The Cubs scored just 13 runs in their previous five games, during which they went 1-4.

"We did swing the bats, overall, better -- obviously, that's an understatement," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "They all looked better."

The surge was sparked by first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who hit leadoff for the first time in his major league career and hit Wheeler's second pitch for a homer. Rizzo finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs and will bat leadoff again on Wednesday.

"You know what, let's go on a run now, that'd be great," Rizzo said when asked if he could get used to batting leadoff. "Just keep winning."

The Mets were getting used to that before Tuesday, when Wheeler's poor start snapped a six-game stretch in which New York went 5-1 thanks to its starting pitchers, who compiled an 0.86 ERA (four earned runs in 41 2/3 innings).

Harvey tossed five scoreless innings but threw 104 pitches in his most recent start last Friday night, when he didn't factor into the decision in the Mets' 3-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves. The right-hander, whose 2016 season was cut short by surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome, has lasted five innings or fewer three times in his last four starts and five times in 12 starts overall.

"It's tough and really puts the bullpen on notice a lot," Collins told reporters following Friday night's game. "I thought it was a step forward for Matt, and maybe this will kick-start him and get him going."

Harvey is 1-0 with a 1.26 ERA in two regular-season career starts against the Cubs.

This will be the second start of the season for Montgomery, who replaced injured right-hander Kyle Hendricks in the rotation. Montgomery didn't factor into the decision in his first start last Friday, when he allowed two runs over four innings as the Cubs fell to the Colorado Rockies. 5-3.

Montgomery has never faced the Mets.



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