Mets @ Cubs Series Preview

This season just cannot end quickly enough for the Mets. The team has lost nine out of ten games and now must head to Wrigley Field to take on a Cubs team that is just two games out of first place. New York has basically laid down for the string of contending teams on their schedule lately. The Phillies, Marlins and Expos blew by the Mets as if they were just a minor bump in the road.

Dusty Baker has turned the Cubs into a force to be reconked with. While they are not the Braves or Giants, the Cubs, led by one of the NL's best pitching staffs, have fought hard to stay near the top of the standings. With Houston playing at Colorado this week, this is a chance for Chicago to inch closer to the division lead.

Pitching Probables:
Talk about kicking a team while they're down. After a tough couple of weeks, the Mets must now face Chicago's big three.

Tonight's rare night Wrigley night game will feature Jeremy Griffiths vs. Matt Clement. Griffiths (1-2 6.82 ERA) has not pitched since September 6th, when he was shelled for seven runs in just four innings. Clement (12-11 4.16 ERA) has not lost since August 19th, but has two straight no decisions. Clement gave up three runs in five innings, but left before he could be credited with the loss.

The Mets will send Jae Weong Seo (8-11 4.05) to the hill for Tuesday's game. Seo has lost three straight games, including last week to the Expos, where he gave up four runs in five innings. Chicago will counter with All-Star Mark Prior. Prior (15-6 2.48 ERA) had won seven games in a row until last Thursday when the Expos touched him up for three runs in just five innings of work.

Two pitchers used to success will pitch the series finale. Al Leiter (14-8 4.26 ERA) will try to bounce back after allowing seven runs in five innings against Montreal. The Mets will have the undesirable task of facing staff ace, Kerry Wood (3.46). Though his record may not indicate it, most NL teams hope to miss out on Wood's turn in the rotation. Wood looked impressive last Friday against the Reds. Though he did not earn a decision, he allowed just one run in six innings and struck out nine batters.

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