Game Twenty-Three: Cubs (8-14) vs. Marlins (5-18)
- Game Time – 6:10pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 187/844
- Location – Marlins Park, Miami
Travis Wood (1-1, 2.08/1.04) vs. Alex Sanabia (2-2, 5.09/1.74)
After giving away the first four games on the current 10-game road trip, the Cubs have won three of four, including two straight, and will shoot for three in a row tonight behind Travis Wood.
The Cubs have taken advantage of Marlins’ pitching over the last two games and have hit four home runs which have accounted for six of their eight runs. The other two runs came as a result of three doubles so the slugging percentage that Dale Sveum preaches about has been there over the last two games.
With Friday’s game being decided by two runs, the Cubs have set a new franchise record with 19 of the 22 games this season being decided by three runs or less. This year’s team also set a new mark for the most players to make their big league debut (14) in a single month in 98 years.
Anthony Rizzo enters play this afternoon two short of the Cubs’ All-Time record for the most home runs in April. Alfonso Soriano holds the record after hitting 10 just two short seasons ago (2011). After launching two on Friday, Rizzo is tied with Derrek Lee (2008), Sammy Sosa (2000, 2002) and Lee Walls (1958) as the only four players in team history that have hit eight home runs in April.
A win tonight would give the Cubs a chance at a .500 road trip … and it all starts with Travis Wood.
Travis Wood is off to a good start to the season. Wood has made four starts, completed at least six innings in each of his outings and has four quality starts to show for his efforts. Wood has held three pretty good offenses in check over his last three games (Reds, Rangers and Brewers) and must remain focused tonight against the Fish. Wood will lose focus from time to time, especially against the bottom of lineups.
Wood is coming off an excellent outing against the Reds in which he allowed two runs on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. Wood served up his first longball of the season to Jay Bruce in the seventh inning. Wood left with the Cubs up 2-1 in the seventh before Jack Hannahan tripled home the tying run.
In 26 innings this season Wood has allowed just 17 hits with 10 walks while striking out 18 batters.
Travis Wood makes his third career start against the Marlins tonight in search of his first victory. The Marlins have punished Wood the two times he’s faced them. And one of his worst starts last season came against Miami at Wrigley Field. Wood is 0-2 with a 16.88 ERA and a 2.50 WHIP … tonight will be his first start at Marlins’ Park.
Marlins Career Numbers against Travis Wood
- Austin Kearns – 2-for-5
- Placido Polanco – 1-for-3
- Justin Ruggiano – 0-for-2
- Giancarlo Stanton – 1-for-3 with a double
Alex Sanabia is also coming off an outing against the Reds. Sanabia dropped his second game of the season after allowing five runs on six hits with five walks and three strikeouts over six innings. Sanabia has really struggled with his command this season. In four starts, 23 innings, Sanabia has walked more batters (14) than he has struck out (11) while allowing 26 hits. The Cubs must make him work tonight. He will give them opportunities to score runs … if they are willing to take them.
The Cubs will face Alex Sanabia for just the second time. Mike Quade’s team beat Sanabia 2-0 in Florida back on September 17, 2010. Sanabia allowed two runs on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Ryan Dempster picked up his 14th win while Carlos Marmol earned his 32nd save with Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano delivering the two RBI.
Starlin Castro (0-for-3) and Alfonso Soriano (1-for-2 with a double) are the only two Cubs on the active roster that has faced Alex Sanabia in a big league ballgame.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …