Right-handed phenom Matt Harvey faces the Chicago Cubs for the first time in his brief career on Friday when the New York Mets visit Wrigley Field to open a three-game weekend series.
A 24-year-old native of Connecticut, Harvey was 3-5 in 10 starts with the Mets at the end of last season before beginning 2013 in the starting rotation.
He won his first four starts against San Diego, Philadelphia, Minnesota and Washington while allowing only three runs and posting a stingy 0.93 earned run average.
He's winless in four starts since - getting no-decisions in each as the Mets have gone 2-2 - though the ERA is still at a sterling 1.44 through 56 1/3 innings of work.
Harvey, who is 2-0 on the road this season and 5-3 away from home in nine career starts, allowed two runs on five hits over seven innings in his most recent work, a game the Mets lost, 3-2, against Pittsburgh on May 12.
The Cubs reply with veteran righty Edwin Jackson, who finally got his first win with the team in his last start.
The 29-year-old, who won 10 games with Washington last season, was 0-5 in his initial seven outings with Chicago while posting a bloated 6.39 ERA in 38 innings.
He gave up four hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings of an 8-2 defeat of the Nationals for win No. 1 on May 11 - the 71st victory of his career in his 212th start.
Jackson is 1-1 in four career meetings with the Mets and 0-3 at Wrigley this season.
On Thursday in St. Louis, Daniel Murphy had a pair of doubles among his four hits to go with two runs scored and an RBI in the Mets' 5-2 win over the Cardinals to avoid a sweep in the finale of a four-game set.
After a terrific start to the year, Murphy fell into an 0-for-17 slide, but has responded by going 10-of-16 since with four doubles.
"When he gets it going, he can be very dangerous," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Murphy had an unusual ground-rule double in the sixth when he scalded an Adam Wainwright offering that stuck into a gap between the two conjoining walls in the right field corner.
David Wright registered two hits, two RBI and a run scored, while Jonathon Niese (3-4) surrendered two runs on six hits and two walks over 7 1/3 frames for the Mets, who snapped a six-game losing skid.
Bobby Parnell notched his fourth save after working around a two-out single in the ninth.
On Wednesday in Chicago, Jeff Samardzija belted a two-run homer and pitched eight strong innings to post his first victory since Opening Day, and the Cubs topped the Colorado Rockies, 6-3, to take the rubber match of a three-game series.
Samardzija (2-5) allowed five hits and two runs, walked a pair and had seven strikeouts. His other victory came April 1 at Pittsburgh. Between wins, the right-hander went 0-5 in seven starts.
"He knew what he was doing tonight," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "He was pitching, he just wasn't out there throwing. He broke a lot of bats again tonight and I think when he's pitching well, he breaks a lot of bats."
David DeJesus led off the bottom of the first inning with a homer to left- center field to help the Cubs post their fourth win in five games.
The Cubs secured their first series victory at Wrigley Field this season. They were 0-2-4 in six previous series of two or more games in their home ballpark. Before Wednesday, Chicago's previous series win at home came against the Rockies, August 24-26 of last season (2-1).
The Cubs won four of six games with the Mets in both 2011 and 2012. The Mets last won the season series, 4-3, in 2010.