Friday, Sept. 9, 2011Posted: 10:11 a.m.
After a prosperous two weeks, the New York Mets faltered in their return to Citi Field. A matchup with the Chicago Cubs could get them back on track.
Mike Pelfrey will try to start this three-game series on a positive note for the Mets by adding to his recent success against the Cubs on Friday night.
The Mets had won 10 of 13 before heading home to play a doubleheader against Atlanta on Thursday, rescheduled games due to the threat of Hurricane Irene last month.
New York (70-73) couldn't capitalize on a four-run first inning while dropping the opening game 6-5 and scored its lone run in the finale during the first inning en route to a 5-1 defeat.
"It's been a disappointing season," outfielder Jason Bay said. "You can kind of let it be that way or try to use the last month as a stepping stone going into the offseason and feeling a little bit better of what you're working on in spring training. That was kind of the focus over the last couple of weeks."
As they continue a nine-game homestand, the Mets will try to bounce back with their seventh win in nine home games against Chicago (62-81). The Cubs enter this series having won three of four following a 5-12 stretch but they've dropped six of eight on the road.
Pelfrey (7-11, 4.68 ERA) will try to add to Chicago's road woes with another dominant outing against the Cubs. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA in two career matchups and will face them for the first time since April 20, 2010.
Pelfrey, though, is 1-2 in his last seven starts and hasn't given up fewer than three runs in any of those outings. The right-hander allowed three runs and five hits over 4 2-3 innings Sunday in Washington but also matched a career high with five walks while failing to factor in the decision during a 6-3 win.
In his search for another victory, Pelfrey will try to get help from Jose Reyes, who leads the NL with a .335 average. The shortstop is also on an 11-game hit streak since returning from a stint on the disabled list for a strained left hamstring.
Reyes is hitting .400 in his last 11 games against the Cubs and went 1 for 2 versus Casey Coleman (2-7, 6.61) during a 7-4 win at Wrigley Field on May 25. Coleman gave up six runs over a career-low 1 1-3 innings during that game and enters this one winless in the majors since May 19.
The right-hander has lost three of his last four outings but nearly won his previous one. He allowed two runs over six innings Saturday against Pittsburgh but was denied a victory when closer Carlos Marmol gave up a grand slam in the ninth of a 7-5 loss.
"We talked before the game about him getting better each time and being consistent. He threw the ball extremely well," manager Mike Quade said. "I was glad to get him out in a position to win the game. We didn't get it done for him, but he pitched great and gave us a chance to win. That's all you can ask."
Starlin Castro, the NL leader with 182 hits, will try to extend his hit streak to 10 games. He's batting .375 in six career matchups with the Mets but has never played at Citi Field.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.