Mets(courtesy of mlb.com)
Oliver Perez started this streak of crazy, wonderful pitching and now it becomes up to him to keep the ball rolling — and keep Mets opponents from hitting it hard anywhere.
The left-hander’s stellar outing on Friday in St. Louis, where he held the Cardinals to four hits and a run in 6 1/3 innings, launched the New York rotation into its current untouchable mode.
When Perez faces the Cubs in Wednesday night’s third game of the series, he will try to fall in line with a pace that has seen Mets starters allow a total of four runs in their past 38 innings — that’s an ERA of 0.95.
David Wright ran Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano to a full count in the third inning — the 18th time he reached 3-and-2 this season, second most in the Majors to the Cubs’ Derrek Lee — who reached that count twice Tuesday night to run his total to 24.
Cubs(courtesy of mlb.com)
The Cubs, with Carlos Silva coming off a strong effort for his first win with the North Siders, present a notable challenge for Perez, approaching the seventh anniversary of his last victory over them.
But Perez’s rut against the Cubs hasn’t been as deep as that last triumph on April 24, 2003, when he was pitching for the Pirates, would imply. In all that time, he has faced them a mere six times.
Out to curb a four-game losing streak, the Cubs desperately need Silva to at least approximate the performances in his first two starts, which have yielded an ERA of 0.69. The Cubs are 1-2 against left-handed starters, and all they have to look forward to beyond Perez is Johan Santana, due to start the finale of the four-game series on Thursday.
“He’s pitched well. He throws strikes and competes well, and he’s been very successful and very productive,” said Cubs manager Lou Piniella of Silva, who won only one game for the Mariners in an injury-wrecked 2009 season.
Still, Piniella hasn’t been shocked by the early success of Silva, who won 24 games in 2006-07 for the Twins prior to moving on to Seattle as a free agent.
“He had success over in Minnesota a few years back,” Piniella said, “so there was some history there. Let’s hope it continues.”
The Cubs last lost five in a row Aug. 9-13 of last season. … Tuesday was the 94th anniversary of the Cubs’ first game at Federal League Park, which would be rechristened as Wrigley Field. The Cubs beat the Reds, 7-6, in 11 innings that day.