It was simply not a good day for the New York Mets as the Cubs exploded for seven runs off of Jonathon Niese to take the rubber game of the final series prior to the All-Star Break by a final score of 7-0.
Niese took the hill going toe to toe with Cubs ace Ryan Dempster and was hit hard from the get-go. Reed Johnson led things off with a single which opened the door to a four run first for Chicago. Niese settled down for five scoreless frames after that and pitched well up until the seventh when Starlin Castro rocketed a three run homer into left center to break the game open at 7-0. Niese ended the evening with a forgetful seven innings pitched, allowing seven runs (all earned) on nine hits while walking none and punching out three, taking the loss to fall to 7-4 on the year while boosting his ERA to 3.73. Not the way Niese wanted to go into the break.
As for the Cubs, Ryan Dempster was dominant to say the least. Making his first start back from the DL, Dempster had the Mets number as he went five shutout frames allowing just four hits while walking none and punching out four, improving to 4-3 on the season with the win while lowering his ERA to 1.88. His only hiccup came in the second when he allowed a triple to Scott Hairston but the Mets were unable to get him home.
From there the Cubs bullpen slammed the door with four scoreless frames, improving to 4-2 against the Mets in 2012. The Mets now go into the All-Star Break six games over .500 and 46-40 and five games back of the Washington Nationals in the NL East.
-If it’s any consolation, the Mets bullpen performed well today as Tim Byrdak and Pedro Beato combined for two scoreless innings. Beato now has a 1 1/3 scoreless streak going, making a bid to top his personal best last year of 18.
-Murphy had himself a three hit game in the loss, now batting .295 heading into the break.
-The subject of trade rumors, Justin Turner went 0-for-1 in his pinch hitting appearance today.
-Tejada, Wright, Hairston, Valdespin and Niese had hits on the day in addition to Murphy.
-For a rarity, a game featuring the Mets and Cubs, GM’ed by Sandy Alderson and Theo Epstein respectively, had no walks on the day.
Following a much needed four-day holiday for the majority of the Mets for the All-Star break, the Amazin’s will pick things back up with a series at Turner Field to take on the Atlanta Braves starting Friday at 7pm.