Game One Hundred Thirty-Eight: Cubs (51-86) vs. Pirates (72-64)
Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185/914
Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Travis Wood (4-11, 4.64/1.24) vs. A.J. Burnett (15-5, 3.63/1.24)
The long and winding road trip continues for the Cubs tonight at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The struggling Cubs open a three-game series against the Battlin’ Bucs. The Pirates have taken care of business against the Cubs this season (Cubs are 3-6 versus Pittsburgh in nine games) and they are looking to use the Cubs as a way to stay in the Wild Card mix. The Cubs and Pirates square off seven times over the next ten games.
The Cubs are a miserable 3-20 on the road since the break with only one win since the trade deadline. Two of the Cubs three wins were at PNC Park but that was then and the Cubs are coming off their worst series of the season.
After tonight’s matchup of Travis Wood and A.J. Burnett, Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face James McDonald on Saturday night. A pair of rookie southpaws are expected to face off in Sunday’s finale. Chris Rusin is set to make his third big league start while Jeff Locke is slated to make his fifth start at the Major League level.
In other news … Starlin Castro collected two more hits on Thursday night and enters play tonight just two hits shy of 500 for his career. When Castro collects two more hits he will become just the 28th player in Major League history to collect 500 hits before turning 23-years old.
Darwin Barney ran his errorless games streak to 122 games on Thursday. Barney begins play tonight one game shy of the Cubs’ record for consecutive games played by a second baseman without an error held by Ryne Sandberg (123).
Tonight it all starts with Travis Wood …
Travis Wood has not posted a win since July 6.
Travis Wood is 2-6 in nine road games this season with a 4.36 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP and will face the Pirates for the second time this season.
Wood dropped the game against the Pirates on August 1. Wood allowed two runs on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts in five innings. Wood is 2-3 in five career appearances, four starts, against the Pirates with a 5.79 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP … at PNC Park, 2-1 in three games, two starts, with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.
Pirates Career Numbers against Travis Wood
- Pedro Alvarez – 0-for-2
- Rod Barajas – 1-for-7 with a double and a walk
- Clint Barmes – 1-for-12 with a walk
- Josh Harrison – 2-for-5 with a triple
- Garrett Jones – 0-for-3
- Andrew McCutchen – 1-for-7 with a double and three walks
- Michael McKenry – 1-for-2
- Alex Presley – 1-for-2
- Gaby Sanchez – 1-for-3 with a walk
- Travis Snider – 1-for-2
- Jose Tabata – 1-for-4 with a double and a walk
- Neil Walker – 3-for-7 with a double and a walk
A.J. Burnett is one of the main reasons the Pirates are on the verge of finishing above .500 for the season while battling for a spot in the post-season. Burnett is coming off a no decision against the Brewers in which he allowed two runs on two hits with four walks and nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Burnett has not won a game since August 16 and the Pirates are 0-3 in his last three starts.
For as good as Burnett was in the first half (10-2 in 15 starts with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP), he’s actually been better since the break. Burnett is 5-3 in his last 10 starts with a 3.57 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP … 66 strikeouts with 20 walks and 62 hits allowed in 70 2/3 innings.
A.J. Burnett is 8-2 in 13 starts at PNC this season with a 2.94 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
Tonight will be A.J. Burnett’s third start of the season against the Cubs. Burnett dominated the Cubs back on July 31 with a one-hit, complete game shutout. Burnett is a perfect 2-0 against the Cubs this season with a 0.00 ERA and 0.77 WHIP (no runs, seven hits, four walks and 14 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings). For his career, Burnett is a perfect 6-0 in seven starts against the Cubs with a 2.78 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against A.J. Burnett
- Darwin Barney – 1-for-4
- Adrian Cardenas – 1-for-3 with a walk
- Starlin Castro – 4-for-10
- Steve Clevenger – 0-for-3
- David DeJesus – 4-for-22 with a double and four walks
- Bryan LaHair – 0-for-6
- Joe Mather – 1-for-3
- Anthony Rizzo – 0-for-3 with a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-19
- Luis Valbuena – 0-for-5
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