Travis Wood pitched very well last night for the Cubs to silence the New York bats over seven shutout innings, but it was the defense (or lack thereof) in the seventh inning that took center stage for the Mets. There were three errors in that seventh inning, including two three-base errors, extending the Chicago lead to six runs at the time, effectively putting the game out of reach for the Amazins.
Mets Offensive Highlights:
There were really no highlights at the plate for the Mets, on a night where they couldn’t get anything going against Wood and the worst team in baseball. Ronny Cedeno and Mike Nickeas both collected two hits each, while David Wright‘s single extended his current hitting streak to 15 games, his longest since he hit in 17 straight on two different occasions in 2007. The only run for New York came in the top of the ninth inning, as Ike Davishit his ninth home run of the season to prevent the Mets from being shutout. They continued their struggles with runners in scoring position, going 0-for-5 and leaving seven runners on base.
Cubs Offensive Highlights:
Like the Mets, there weren’t many offensive highlights to speak of, but they were able to take advantage of the defensive miscues in the later innings. Chicago was able to break a scoreless tie on a windy night at Wrigley Field in the fourth inning against New York starter Johan Santana. With two outs, Geovany Soto drew a walk in front of Joe Mather, who hit a line shot out to left center field for a two-run homer, the only way a ball was getting out of Wrigley last night. Then in the seventh inning, everything went Chicago’s way. Adrian Cardenas popped up in front of the plate, but David Wright couldn’t catch it, and he ended up on third. Then, with one out, Darwin Barney hit a short fly ball to right field that Lucas Duda couldn’t catch either, and he also wound up on third. Starlin Castro followed that with a grounder up the middle, mishandled by Cedeno, and scoring Barney. Jeff Baker singled in another run, then Soto finished the scoring with an RBI groundout.
Travis Wood was spectacular for the Cubs last night, throwing 7 scoreless innings, giving up 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6 for his second win of the year. Shawn Camp turned in a scoreless inning and James Russell was the one Cubs pitcher that got touched up in the series opener. The Mets continue to show their vulnerability to left-handed pitching this season with another poor showing.
Johan Santana pitched well last night, but it was the fifth time this season that he’s pitched into the fifth inning without having a run scored by his offense. He went 6 innings, allowing 5 hits, and 3 walks on 2 runs, while striking out 6 hitters. Jon Rauch felt the brunt of the bad defense, only throwing 0.1 innings and giving up 4 runs, but none of them being earned. Ramon Ramirez threw 0.2 innings in his first appearance back with New York and Justin Hampson also made his first appearance with a scoreless inning.
The loss is the third straight for Terry Collins and the Mets, as they fall to 39-35 on the season, now tied with the Braves for second place. The entire division is playing poorly recently, but the Nationals still hold a 3.5 game lead on their nearest competitors.
Probable Pitchers Tuesday:
The Mets will send Dillon Gee (5-5, 4.27 ERA) to the mound to end their current losing streak. He will be opposite Randy Wells (1-2, 4.91 ERA), who will be fighting to keep the rotation spot that has been left vacant by the injured Ryan Dempster. First pitch in Chicago is scheduled for 8:05pm.