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CIN@NYM: Niese strikes out seven in game vs. Reds

Something has to give on Wednesday, when Mets starting pitcher Jonathon Niese takes on the Cubs and Jeff Samardzija at Wrigley Field.

The Friendly Confines have been anything but for Niese, who allowed six runs in five innings in an 11-1 loss in Chicago last season. He takes a 1-2 record and a 5.95 ERA against the Cubs into Wrigley Field on Wednesday, looking to reverse his previous bad luck against the club.

And the way this season has gone for Chicago against left-handers such as Niese, he just might have a chance.

The Cubs are 4-16 against southpaw starters this season, and their .216 batting average against lefties entering Tuesday's action was the second worst in baseball ahead of only the Indians. After a loss to the Red Sox and left-hander Franklin Morales on June 17, Chicago manager Dale Sveum said he has no answers for the struggles.

"You can't even try to do what we do against left-handed pitching," Sveum said. "It's very difficult to have those kind of numbers and slugging percentage and everything like that against left-handed pitching on a consistent basis."

For the Mets, manager Terry Collins is frustrated with what is now a four-game losing streak, which comes after New York had won four straight. It matches the longest losing streak of the season for the Mets, and Collins said his team can't afford for it to continue.

"We've got to get it stopped," he said. "We've got to turn it around right now. Jon Niese has got to give us a ballgame tomorrow."

Mets: Collins looking for Murphy to break out of slump
Mets infielder Daniel Murphy registered just his fourth hit in 26 at-bats on Tuesday night against the Cubs, a slump that goes back nine games.

The entire month has been a struggle for Murphy, though, as he is 15-for-79 (.190) in 22 games. Mets manager Terry Collins said he's seen signs of Murphy breaking out of his slump, and he hopes he does soon.

"He's swung the bat pretty good lately," Collins said. "He's hit the ball on the button three or four times in the Yankees series. I'm hoping it's starting to get back into play, his stroke. If he hits like he's capable of hitting, our lineup's a whole different lineup."

Cubs: Patience paying off for Rizzo
At times, it wasn't easy for the Cubs new first baseman Anthony Rizzo to wait to be called up to the big club. But he could have been doing worse things than playing in the Minor Leagues, he said.

"I was playing baseball every day, so I look at it that way," said Rizzo, who played in his first game on Tuesday after being brought up from Triple-A. "It wasn't that tough -- I was playing the game I love so much every day."

Rizzo made a splash in his first game with Chicago, going 2-for-4 with an RBI double in a 5-3 win over the Mets. Before the game, he said he was able to make it to the Majors and deliver such plays because he kept his head on straight and stayed focused on the ultimate goal while in the Minors.

"Just knowing what the big leagues is like and seeing the guys up here play, you just want to be here," he said. "Every Minor League guy has that passion down there to get up here and be better." Worth Noting
• Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija will look for his first win since May 29 on Wednesday. He is 0-3 with an 8.53 ERA in his last four starts and hasn't lasted longer than 5 1/3 innings in those appearances.

• Mets third baseman David Wright had what was the longest active hitting streak in the Majors (15) snapped on Tuesday with an 0-for-3 performance. He was batting .362 during the streak. Comments