Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Marlins – 07/17/12

Game Eighty-Nine: Cubs (36-52) vs. Marlins (43-46)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Travis Wood (4-3, 3.05/1.13) vs. Anibal Sanchez (4-6, 4.12/1.25)

Dale Sveum’s team gets back to work tonight with the first of three against the Miami Marlins. The Cubs are coming off an impressive three-game sweep over the Diamondbacks and in the process tied a season-high with their fourth straight win. The Cubs have won 12 of 16 … and will have their hands full for the next three days with the underachieving Marlins.

The Marlins took all three from the Cubs in Miami earlier this season (April 17 – April 19) and outscored the Cubs 19-6. The Cubs will face a different Marlins team this time around. Carlos Lee is now manning first base, not Gaby Sanchez, and Giancarlo Stanton is on the DL after having his right knee scoped earlier this month.

While the Cubs will have to deal with Ozzie Guillen, they will miss Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano pitched the finale of the four-game series against the Nationals on Monday. After tonight’s matchup of Travis Wood and Anibal Sanchez, Jeff Samardzija will face Josh Johnson on Wednesday night with Paul Maholm and Mark Buehrle closing out the series on Thursday afternoon.

Ozzie Guillen returns to Chicago for the first time since stepping down as manager of the White Sox last year. Guillen loves Wrigley Field and will bring the circus that is the Marlins to Wrigley for the next three days.

Tonight it all starts with Travis Wood

Travis Wood put together an excellent run before the break now he has the tough task of following it up for the remainder of the season. No one expects Wood to keep up the stretch he’s been on (4-2 in last seven starts with 1.99 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP) but a strong finish could go a long way in the off-season.

After going 0-1 in his first three big league starts with a 5.94 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP, Wood posted a 2-2 record in five starts in June with a 2.27 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. While he was not as good in his final start before the break, Wood still posted his fourth straight win and finished with a 2-0 record in his last two outings with a 1.32 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP.

Travis Wood has been very good in his short time at Wrigley this season. In five starts, Wood is 2-1 with a 3.34 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP … in his last two starts at Wrigley in the first half, Wood was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.61 WHIP (no runs on eight hits with a walk and 10 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings).

The key to Wood’s success of late has been getting ahead in the count and pounding the strike zone. In his last 45 1/3 innings, Wood has walked 16 while striking out 31.

Travis Wood has faced the Marlins just once in his career … and was shelled. The Marlins put up seven runs, all earned, on eight hits with a pair of walks and three strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings last April 29 at Great American Ball Park.

Marlins Career Numbers against Travis Wood

  • Emilio Bonifacio – 2-for-3 with a double and a triple
  • John Buck – 1-for-2
  • Scott Cousins – 0-for-1 with a walk
  • Omar Infante – 0-for-2
  • Austin Kearns – 1-for-2
  • Carlos Lee – 2-for-15 with a walk
  • Hanley Ramirez – 1-for-2 with a double

Anibal Sanchez has been inconsistent again this season. After a solid two months to begin the year (1-0 in four starts in April with a 2.73 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP and 2-3 in six starts in May with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP), Sanchez has struggled in his last seven starts. Sanchez was just 1-3 in five starts in June with a 7.06 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP then posted two no-decisions prior to the break with a 5.73 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP. The difference has been his command. In his last 40 1/3 innings, Sanchez has walked 14 batters with only 28 strikeouts … in the previous 40 1/3 innings, Sanchez walked nine and struck out 34.

Sanchez is coming off back-to-back no decisions on the road. Sanchez lasted just five innings in Milwaukee back on July 3 and gave up six runs, five earned, on 11 hits with a walk and five strikeouts. He rebounded nicely in St. Louis just before the break. Sanchez allowed two runs on five hits without a walk and three strikeouts in six innings.

Anibal Sanchez has pitched much better outside of the Marlins’ new stadium than in his home park this year. Sanchez is 2-1 in eight road starts with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP.

The Cubs missed Sanchez in Miami back in April and he is 1-2 in four career starts against the Cubs with a 5.66 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP … at Wrigley, 0-1 in two starts with a 6.97 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Anibal Sanchez

  • Darwin Barney – 0-for-2
  • Starlin Castro – 0-for-4 with two walks
  • Reed Johnson – 1-for-3 with a triple
  • Joe Mather – 0-for-1
  • Anthony Rizzo – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 5-for-22 with a double, two home runs and two walks
  • Geovany Soto – 4-for-7 with a double

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