Cubs @ Mets Wednesday Game Preview

After winning Tuesday night's game in dramatic fashion, the New York Mets will need more heroics tonight if they hope to take a second straight win from the Chicago Cubs. The teams face off at 7:10 p.m. in the second game of a three-game series at Shea Stadium. Coverage is on MSG. Jeromy Burnitz hit a walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning, after David Weathers put down a Cub rally in the top of the inning, as the Mets won the opener, 3-1.

Tonight, the Mets will face a pitcher they've struggled mightily against: Cubs ace Kerry Wood.

Wood, 11-9 with a 3.88 ERA, has been dominant in his four career starts against the Mets, going 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA. In 27 innings, he's allowed just 16 hits and five earned runs while striking out 28.

Only six current Mets have hits off Wood, who needs two strikeouts to join Ferguson Jenkins as the only Cub to record back-to-back 200 strikeout seasons. Mike Piazza has been the best, going 4-for-14 with two homers and five RBIs, while Roger Cedeno is 6-for-10 with four steals against Wood.

On the opposite side of the spectrum sits Mets starter Steve Trachsel, who pitches for the first time since taking a shot off his right thumb in last Wednesday's 8-5 loss at Atlanta. It was the first time in a month where Trachsel (9-11, 3.54) pitched less than five inning and allowed more than two runs.

In his career against the Cubs, the team where Trachsel got his start, the deliberate righty has one solid start and one horrible one. He was the losing pitcher in a 2-0 loss on April 9, giving up a run on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings in his first start at Wrigley Field as an opposing player.

In the other start, Trachsel was shelled for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings in a 13-4 loss in 2001.

Ex-Met Todd Hundley and veteran Fred McGriff, a teammate of Trachsel's in Tampa Bay, have hit Trachsel the hardest, Hundley going 6-for-18 with three homers and McGriff at 8-for-20.

-- Roger Cedeno remains in the Mets lineup despite his weekend scare in Montreal. Cedeno said he intends to reduce his caffeine intake, though not eliminate use of a particular allergy medication he has been taking. Cedeno, a coffee drinker, was examined and tested yesterday, two days after he experienced dizziness and a rapid heartbeat.

-- The Mets Tuesday named shortstop Jose Reyes the organization's minor league player of the year, and David Mattox was named minor league pitcher of the year.

-- Sammy Sosa's home run Tuesday was the 497th of his career and 47th of the season. Three more would lift him into the 500 club, as well as marking the fifth straight season in which the Cubs' slugger hit the 50-homer mark. Since 1999, Sosa has five homers in 33 at-bats at Shea Stadium.

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