Dan Straily began the season pitching for the team that currently has the best record in baseball. He'll return to the majors with a club that has one of the worst.
The right-hander will make his debut for the visiting Chicago Cubs on Saturday night against the New York Mets.Straily opened his third season with Oakland by going 1-2 with a 4.93 ERA in seven starts before he was sent to Triple-A Sacramento on May 9. Two months later, the Athletics dealt him and three prospects to Chicago (52-69) as part of the trade that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel west.Looking to give their starters some extra rest, the Cubs called up the 2013 10-game winner from Triple-A Iowa to make his first major league appearance since he allowed three runs, four walks and two homers in six innings of a 6-4, 10-inning loss to Seattle on May 7.Between Sacramento and Iowa, Straily is 7-6 with a 4.06 ERA in 17 starts, but has yielded two unearned runs while striking out 18 over 19 innings to win his last three outings."I got out of the little funk I was in, some mechanical flaws, if you will, that had taken over my game," he told MLB's official website. "You have one good game, and it's like, 'OK, I had a good game.' Two in a row, OK. Three in a row, OK."Hopefully, we got it."He'll make his first career appearance against New York (58-65) trying to help the Cubs avoid a third straight defeat after falling 3-2 on Friday.A three-run, fourth-inning homer from rookie outfielder Eric Campbell helped the Mets get back on track after they totaled four runs while being swept in a three-game home set by Washington.New York's Jonathon Niese (6-8, 3.46) posted a 5.76 ERA while losing his first four starts since coming off the disabled list from a strained shoulder July 21, then allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings of a 5-3 victory at Philadelphia on Monday."This year has been really weird," the left-hander said. "It seems like I'm losing with my good stuff and winning with my bad stuff."I'll take a win like this anytime with what I've been through this year, spending time on the disabled list and all."Niese's teammates have scored four runs with him on the mound while he has gone 0-1 with a 2.91 ERA in this last four at Citi Field. He's received the same amount while going 0-3 with a 6.33 ERA in four home starts versus Chicago.With 14 strikeouts Friday, the Cubs have fanned 30 times in the last two games, and 91 while losing five of eight.Cubs All-Star Starlin Castro struck out twice in the opener, but is batting .421 with seven RBIs during a 14-game hitting streak that matches a career high. He's 5 for 16 with a home run, triple and five strikeouts against Niese.New York outfielder and suburban Chicago native Curtis Granderson is 1 for 21 in five games since going 6 for 13 in his previous three.