Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Nationals – 05/18/06

Game Forty: Cubs (17-22) vs. Nationals (13-27)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Kerry Wood (0-0, -.–) vs. Ramon Ortiz (0-4, 6.30)

The long awaited season debut of ‘Kid K’. Kerry Wood is expected to make his first start since July 20, 2005 today against the Washington Nationals as the Cubs go for the series sweep. The Cubs Faithful have doubted this day would ever come, but it is here and it is time once again to root for Kerry and the Cubs. According to several reports, Wood has really worked on improving his mechanics that have led to the injury problems he has had over his very storied career. The addition of Wood today to the active roster should add to the confidence the Cubs have built over the last two games against the Nationals.

Kerry Wood is spent the better part of the last two seasons on the DL since he led the Major League in strikeouts in 2003 (266). Wood was 14-11 with a 3.20 ERA in 32 games, but since then he has only pitched in 43 games and only 10 starts in 2005; 8-9/3.72 in 2004, 3-4/4.23 in 2005….but this is a new season and a fresh start for Wood.

The Cubs pitching staff has held the Nationals scoreless in the first 2 games of the series and Alfonso Soriano has only 1 hit in the series. Carlos Zambrano and Sean Marshall only allowed only 5 hits in 14 innings of work and their great performances allowed Dusty to give his overworked bullpen a much-needed rest which will benefit the Cubs today with Wood making his first start in almost 10 months.

The Cubs’ offense is coming off its best back-to-back games since Derrek Lee went down and although they have only recorded 17 hits in 2 games….they made them count and have scored 9 runs. After a 4-walk performance on Tuesday, the Cubs added 4 more on Wednesday and the more pitches they continue to take the more successful they will continue to be. Ramon Ortiz has allowed 11 runs and 11 walks in 17 1/3 innings over his last 3 starts. Ortiz does not have a decision in 2 career starts, with a 3.38 ERA, against the Cubs.

Will he or won’t he? Aramis Ramirez left Wednesday’s game with a mild lower back strain and without Ramirez in the line-up and a day game after a night game, Barrett could get the day off….let’s hope Jacque Jones got a good night’s sleep. Juan Pierre has come around in the first 2 games of the series and has recorded 4 hits….if Ramirez is out, Pierre must lead the offense the way he is capable of.

A sweep would be more than nice before heading to the Wrongside of Chicago.

Feel free to share you favorite Kerry Wood memory…here at the CCO!!

Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old." - George Burns
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