In a Strikeout State of Mind – Mets 3, Cubs 2

Game One Hundred Twenty-One: Cubs 2, Mets 3

WP – Zack Wheeler (8-8) LP – Travis Wood (7-10) Save – Jenrry Mejia (18)

A day after striking out 16 times, the Cubs struck out 14 times Friday night at Citi Field and dropped the opener of the four-game series in New York.

The offense is just not making enough contact. The Cubs have struck out 91 times in the last eight games with 12 walks. Zack Wheeler punched out five in the first two innings and he tied a season-high with 10 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.

The Cubs managed two runs on four hits with 14 strikeouts and five walks … and not a single hit after the third inning.

The Cubs led 2-0 after three innings. Travis Wood (0-for-1 with a walk and a run scored) led off the third with a walk and advanced to third on a single to center by Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a run scored). Anthony Rizzo (0-for-3 with a walk and a RBI) plated Wood with a groundout to second and Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with a RBI) singled in Baez.

PrintStarlin Castro extended his hitting streak to 14 games Friday night.

Free passes once again shortened a Travis Wood outing. Wood walked four batters in 5 1/3 innings and two of the four walks scored on a three-run homer off the bat of Eric Campbell in the fourth inning. Wood issued back-to-back walks to David Wright and Lucas Duda to start the fourth before serving up the three-run homer.

Travis Wood did not appear to find a rhythm. Even in the innings he did not allow any runs, Wood appeared to be struggling with his mechanics. Wood pitched only one clean inning Friday night.

Travis Wood allowed three runs on four hits with four walks and five strikeouts. Wood threw 101 pitches, 59 for strikes, in 5 1/3 innings.

Justin Grimm, Wesley Wright and Pedro Strop combined on 2 2/3 scoreless innings. The three relievers did not allow a hit, but walked three with two strikeouts.

With Friday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 52-69 on the season.

Zack Wheeler pitched too carefully to Travis Wood to start the third inning of a scoreless game. Wood walked. Coghlan fouled out to David Wright (1-2 pitch). Javier Baez smoked a 1-0 pitch into center. Wood got a very good jump off first base and went to third on Baez’s single. Baez saw what Wood was doing and advanced to second on the throw. And Wood’s baserunning led to two runs. Terry Collins left his infield back. Anthony Rizzo pulled a 2-1 pitch toward Daniel Murphy at second. Murphy stopped the one-hop smash. Wood broke for the plate and scored without a throw when Murphy bobbled the ball. Wood scored, Rizzo was thrown out at first and Baez advanced to third on the play. Starlin Castro singled to center and plated Baez, 2-0 Cubs. Wheeler plunked Welington Castillo but Arismendy Alcantara flied out to center (3-1 pitch) to end the inning.

Travis Wood issued a two-out walk to Curtis Granderson in the third, but that was all for the Mets. Wood threw 44 pitches, 28 for strikes, in the first three innings.

The Cubs led 2-0 after three innings.

Zack Wheeler retired the Cubs in order in the fourth, 70 pitches for Wheeler after four innings, 41 for strikes. Wood lost his command in the bottom of the fourth. After issuing back-to-back walks to David Wright and Lucas Duda to start the fourth, Travis d’Arnaud popped a 1-2 pitch up to Rizzo at first. Eric Campbell stepped in and pulled Wood’s first pitch into the stands in left field … and the Mets took a 3-2 lead. Juan Lagares followed with a single to left. Wood caught a break when Chris Coghlan had just enough room to catch Wilmer Flores’ deep fly to left for the second out. Wood struck out Wheeler swinging to finally end the inning. Wood needed 75 pitches, 44 for strikes, to complete four innings.

After four innings, the Cubs trailed 3-2.

And that is how the game ended. The offense made very little contact while the Cubs bullpen did not allow the Mets to cash in the free passes.

Dan Straily faces Jon Niese in his Cubs debut on Saturday night (6:10pm CDT).

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