Things you should know about tonight's game...
1) Zack Wheeler lasted 1 2/3 innings and allowed a career-high eight runs on six hits -- including a grand slam to Ian Happ -- and three walks with three strikeouts. The Cubs sent 11 men to the plate in the second, scoring all their runs with two outs on a bases-loaded walk by Anthony Rizzo, Happ's slam and an Addison Russell two-run double.
2) Yoenis Cespedes drove in the Mets' first run with a double in the first and singled in the third. He was removed from the game prior to the top of the sixth with New York trailing, 9-1. Neil Walker and Lucas Duda hit back-to-back homers in the ninth.
3) Josh Smoker pitched the bulk of the game in relief of Wheeler, and surrendered three runs on six hits and four walks with five strikeouts in four innings.
Post-game reaction from Matt Citak...
The Mets were out of this one before they even had a chance. After the starting pitching spoiled us with a 0.86 ERA in 41.2 innings over the previous six games, Wheeler came through with the worst start of his career. Zack gave up a career-high eight runs in a career-low 1.2 innings, needing 61 pitches to record just five outs. He allowed six hits, two of which were home runs, to go along with three walks in an outing Zack would certainly like to forget.
The sad thing about Wheeler's brutal second inning is almost the entire Chicago rally came with two outs. Jon Lester came to the plate with a man on first, and was able to collect only his third hit of the season to extend the inning. Wheeler would go on to walk the next two batters before Ian Happ smacked a grand slam to left center, and the rest is history.
While the pitching put the Mets in a near impossible position to win, the offense did nothing to help the situation. Lagares singled to lead off the bottom of the first, and would eventually score on a double by Cespedes. After the first inning, New York's bats were able to muster only three hits in the next seven frames before Walker and Duda connected for consecutive home runs in the ninth. It is difficult to win any game where your offense garners three hits in seven innings, let alone one where your pitching is nonexistent.
The only positive to come out of this game was Cespedes' performance at the plate. Yoenis looked like his old self up there, going 2-for-2 with an RBI double before being taken out prior to the top of the sixth due to the game situation. It's great to have him back in the lineup, but I still find myself holding my breath every time he's running the bases. It would be refreshing to see him play a full nine innings in back-to-back contests, just to make sure that hamstring is truly okay. >> To follow Matt on Twitter, click here.
Highlights from the game...
News and notes...
The Mets failed to match their season-high five-game winning streak.
Jay Bruce's nine-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-3, two-strikeout night.
Duda's 119th career home run moved him past Ed Kranepool into 10th place on the Mets' all-time list.
Prior to Tuesday, New York had surrendered 10 runs in its previous six games.
Wheeler's ERA jumped from 3.45 to 4.48 after the shortest outing of his career. He had allowed 11 runs in 41 innings (2.41 ERA) over his last seven starts.
Asdrubal Cabrera was placed on the 10-day disabled list (sprained left thumb) prior to the game. T.J. Rivera was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas. Michael Conforto missed his second straight game with back stiffness.
What they said after the game...
Terry Collins on Wheeler: "He's going to have a bad one. Tonight was it."
Wheeler on his bad outing: "I just didn't feel it tonight. It's unfortunate. I put us in a hole early. ... I don't know what it was. I just didn't feel right."
The Mets (29-34) and Cubs (32-32) play the rubber game at Citi Field on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. on SNY.
Matt Harvey (4-3, 5.02 ERA, 1.46 WHIP) closes out the series coming off his first scoreless start in more than a year. The right-hander blanked the Braves over five innings, but took a no-decision in the Mets' 3-2 loss on Friday. Harvey, who has allowed two runs or less in three of his last five starts, owns a 1.76 ERA in two career appearances against the Cubs.
Mike Montgomery (0-3, 2.43 ERA 1.28 WHIP) makes his second start of the season following 19 appearances out of the bullpen. The southpaw surrendered two runs over four innings against the Rockies last Friday, but was not involved in the decision, a 5-3 loss. Montgomery has a 4.23 ERA in 24 career starts compared to a 2.14 ERA in 60 relief outings. He has never faced the Mets.