Flushing, NY—The wrap around weekend series between the New York Mets and the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field provides a look into the future possibilities for both clubs. With one-quarter of the 2014 regular season remaining, both teams have been eliminated from any realistic chance of reaching the playoffs.
Each team is giving the young prospects on its team valuable game experience to prepare themselves for pennant races that hopefully will come in future years. There was not one player in the starting lineup of the Cubs that has reached the age of 30 and only two starting Mets that are over that age, Curtis Granderson and David Wright.
Pitching dominated the game #1 of the four games as runs were only scored in two half innings of the encounter. Travis Wood, the Chicago starter, in 5.1 innings yielded only four hits, one of which drove in the three runs for the Mets. Two of the four walks he issued, led to three Mets’ runs in the fourth frame.
The left-hander walked David Wright and Lucas Duda, the first two batters he faced in the fourth. With one out, rookie Eric Campbell, who did not play his first major league game until May 10 of this year, blasted a three run homer to left.
The four-bagger was only the second for Campbell in the big leagues, but was his fourth game winning run batted in. Mets skipper Terry Collins praised the 27 year-old, “He’s not known as a home run hitter, but he’s a good hitter. He’s got some big hits for us.”
Campbell has displayed his versatility, but has not played regularly. The rookie explained how he has adjusted to his situation on the club, “I’m getting better every day with the situation I’m in. I’m just trying to win games. If I play like I’ve played, I’m confident I can be here a long time.”
Zach Wheeler, the Mets starter, went deep into the game, 6.2 innings, while throwing his season high of 120 pitches. The Georgia native wanted to keep his pitch count down so he could remain in the game even longer, but walked four and fanned 10, “No one want to come out as a pitcher. You want to get through seven, at least.”
Wheeler surrendered only four hits, two in the second and two in the third. The first two Cubs batters in the second, Starling Castro and Wellington Castillo, singled. The 24 year-old struck out the next three batters to end the threat. Collins explained, “He [Wheeler] can get in a jam and take over the inning.”
Walking the pitcher to begin the third caused a problem that did not end until two runs had scored. Wheeler gave up no further hits. According to Collins, “He kind of settled down. He started pitching to contact and cut down his pitch count.”
Dan Straily (Cubs) and Jonathon Niese (Mets) will start Saturday night’s contest, which will be followed by a Boys II Men concert.