Jon Niese started off the season by getting a lot of run support, which resulted in wins for the Mets. Recently, however, the run support has not been great, and the Mets have dropped seven of Niese's last nine starts.
The lefty and the Mets will attempt to reverse that trend Saturday against the Cubs.
Niese was 2-0 after his first three starts, and he got a combined 34 runs of support in those two games. However, his record has dipped to 3-5, and the Mets have averaged just 2.6 runs per game in his last nine appearances.
The 26-year-old -- who has a 5.61 career ERA against the Cubs -- has solidified himself as the Mets' No. 2 starter in a rotation that has been full of uncertainty this season. Neise has gone at least six innings in each of his last four outings and has a 1.67 ERA in those starts.
Scott Feldman will get the ball for the Cubs in the second game of the weekend series. The 6-foot-7 right-hander has been solid in his first season with the Cubs and has a 3.22 ERA and one complete game.
One mistake cost Feldman in his last appearance Monday, as he gave up a grand slam to Brandon Phillips in a 6-2 loss to the Reds.
"If it was a ground ball [by Phillips], he would've ended up pitching a good game," Cubs manager Dave Sveum said. "There wasn't a whole lot of hard contact besides Phillips' jam shot to right [in the first] and he hit the grand slam nice. Other than that, he pitched pretty darn good."
Mets: Top pitching prospect set for debut
Zack Wheeler, the Mets' top pitching prospect, is scheduled to make his Major League debut Tuesday in the second game of a doubleheader against the Braves.
Wheeler was ranked as the No. 7 prospect in baseball by MLB.com entering the season and was 4-2 with a 3.93 ERA in 13 starts for Triple-A Las Vegas. The right-hander was selected sixth overall in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft by the Giants and has a career 3.56 ERA in the Minors.
Mets manager Terry Collins on Friday officially announced Wheeler would pitch in the second game of the twin bill, and Collins acknowledged the start would be widely watched, no matter when the 23-year-old made it.
"It doesn't matter if it's at noon or if it's at 1 or if it's at 7," Collins said. "It's a big league game, his first Major League start. There's going to be a lot of heat on him."
Cubs: Sveum happy to not see Harvey
The Cubs limped into Citi Field this weekend losers of five of their last seven games.
But they were able to get a win Friday night, and there's more good news for the Cubs -- they don't have to face Matt Harvey, the Mets' best starter.
Harvey, who has a 2.04 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 97 innings this season, faced the Cubs on May 17 and kept their lineup in check. The right-handed phenom allowed two runs and struck out six in 7 1/3 innings for his fifth win.
Sveum is pleased his team will not have to hit against him this weekend in New York.
"That's sadistic to want to face the best pitchers in the game," Sveum said. "When you're in a series, you're happy with missing those kinds of guys. Going in, their ERAs don't lie."
• Center fielder David DeJesus left Friday night's game after crashing into the wall while attempting to make a catch. DeJesus' right shoulder took most of the impact. He hit a three-run triple earlier in the game.
• With the loss Friday, the Mets scuffled to a 2-8 mark in June.
• Anthony Rizzo and Nate Schierholtz were flip-flopped in the Cubs' order Friday. The move seemed to work for both players as Schierholtz hit a solo homer in the first from the No. 3 spot in the order, and Rizzo went 3-for-4 from the five-hole.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.