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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Late Preview: 2011 Regular Season Game 49 - Mets at Cubs

New York Mets (23-25) at Chicago Cubs (21-26), 2:20 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - R.A. Dickey (2-5, 4.71) Chicago - Carlos Zambrano (4-2, 4.88)

The New York Mets are still waiting for last year's version of R.A. Dickey to show up after signing the knuckleballer to a two-year deal with a club option for 2013 this past offseason.

Dickey will get the call this afternoon in the finale of a three-game series versus the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field and is coming off just his second win of the 2011 campaign. In last Friday's 2-1 victory against the local New York Yankees in the Bronx, Dickey was reached for just one run in six innings.

The right-hander struck out six batters and walked three to improve to 2-5 in 10 games (9 starts) to go along with a 4.71 earned run average. Dickey lost his only start against the Cubs on Sept. 3 in a 7-6 loss in the Windy City and is 2-1 in five road games, four of which have been starts. In 2010, Dickey finished tied for second on the club with a career-best 11 wins.

New York ended a three-game losing streak in last night's rain-shortened 7-4 victory. Carlos Beltran had a pair of hits and drove in two runs, while Daniel Murphy also knocked in two runs for the Mets, who have won four of seven games and are 2-3 on a six-game road trip.

Dillon Gee earned the win and allowed four runs on four hits in six solid innings of work.

"I couldn't find it in the first inning," Gee said. "After my team dug me out of it, I really focused on doing well for the team."

After today's game the Mets will return to Citi Field for a 10-game homestand versus the Phillies, Pirates and Braves.

The Cubs will resume a nine-game homestand Thursday and are 1-1 so far on the residency. They entered last night's game with four wins in six tries, but got a rough outing from starter Casey Coleman, who was rocked for six runs and seven hits in only 1 1/3 innings of work.

Reed Johnson and Alfonso Soriano knocked in two runs apiece for the Cubs.

"I think a lot of us were upset," Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney said. "Having experience in this weather, we knew we had to work quick. I thought we could have gotten another inning in."

Chicago, which is also slated to host Pittsburgh and Houston on the homestand, will send veteran hurler Carlos Zambrano to the mound Thursday. Zambrano is 0-1 with a 6.50 earned run average in his last three starts and did not record a decision in Saturday's 9-3 win at Boston in which he gave up three runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Zambrano is 4-2 with a 4.88 ERA in 10 starts, but 0-1 in four trips to the Wrigley Field mound. The righty hasn't won at home since Sept. 4. He has faced the Mets 12 times in his career, 11 of which have been starts, and sports a 5-3 record to go along with a 3.52 ERA. Zambrano is 3-1 in six games (5 starts) against New York at home.

New York won four of seven versus Chicago last year, but dropped two of three at Wrigley Field. The Cubs, however, are 11-2 in their last 13 games against NL East opponents.

Thursday Mets lineup @ Chicago: Reyes-SS, Thole-C, Beltran-RF, Bay-LF, Murphy-1B, Turner-3B, Pridie-CF, Tejada-2B, Dickey-RHP

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