Game Three: Cubs (1-1) vs. Pirates (1-1)
- Game Time – 11:35am CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 185/844
- Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Travis Wood (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. James McDonald (0-0, -.–/-.–)
The Cubs wrap up the three-game opening series with the Pirates this afternoon. With Opening Day well in the rearview mirror, the Cubs will shoot for their first series win of the season. The Cubs have played rather well over the first two games, but the offense must figure out a way to drive in a run with runners in scoring position. The Cubs are 0-for-13 with RISP over the first two games and have left 10 runners on base.
With the early start look for Dioner Navarro behind the plate today. Welington Castillo has been very good both offensively and defensively over the first two games. But after a night game, plus he was hit in his left knee, it would not be surprising to see him get a breathier today.
In other news … Matt Garza is catching up with the team in Atlanta this weekend and will reportedly start throwing off a mound for the first time since being shut down more than a month ago.
Can the Cubs post their first series win of the season?
Travis Wood’s first season in a Cubs’ uniform can simply be defined as inconsistent. Travis Wood showed from time to time how good he can actually pitch then he would have a bad start or two and remind everyone why he began the year in Iowa’s rotation. Wood has very good stuff but he must pitch from ahead in the count.
Wood posted a 6-13 record in 26 starts last season with a 4.27 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP, and was really the only big league pitcher in the Cubs’ rotation after Jeff Samardzija was shut down.
Travis Wood pitched better on the road a year ago (4-7 in 12 starts with a 3.98 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP) than at Wrigley (2-6 in 14 starts with a 4.52 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP) and was 2-10 in his last 16 starts with a 5.07 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.
This afternoon marks the seventh time Travis Wood has started a game against the Mighty Pirates. Wood is 3-4 in seven career appearances, six starts, against the Bucs with a 4.45 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP … at PNC Park, 3-1 in four games, three starts, with a 2.20 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. Last season, Wood was 1-2 in three starts versus the Pirates with a 2.70 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP.
Pirates Career Numbers against Travis Wood
- Pedro Alvarez – 1-for-7 with a double
- Clint Barmes – 1-for-13 with a walk
- Josh Harrison – 2-for-7 with a triple
- Garrett Jones – 0-for-5
- Starling Marte – 2-for-8 with a triple, a home run and a walk
- Russell Martin – 1-for-3
- Andrew McCutchen – 1-for-11 with a double and four walks
- John McDonald – 0-for-2
- Michael McKenry – 2-for-8 with a walk
- Gaby Sanchez – 1-for-7 with two walks
- Travis Snider – 1-for-2
- Jose Tabata – 2-for-7 with two doubles and a walk
- Neil Walker – 3-for-7 with a double and a walk
The Pirates are depending on James McDonald to pitch the way he did in the first half last year for the entire season. McDonald should have been on the NL squad in the Mid-Summer Classic after posting a 9-3 record in 17 starts with a 2.37 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. McDonald was one of the best pitchers in the league … then one of the worst in the second half. McDonald was 3-5 in his last 13 games, 12 starts, with a 7.52 ERA and a 1.79 WHIP after the break.
If McDonald can keep from beating himself and if the Pirates can get production from someone not named Andrew McCutchen they might just end up over .500 this season.
For all of the problems James McDonald had last year, he was very good at PNC Park. McDonald posted a 6-2 record in 14 home starts with a 2.73 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP … teams hit 70 points less against him at home (.199) than on the road (.269).
James McDonald makes his seventh career start against the Cubs this afternoon. McDonald is 0-3 in seven games, six starts, with a 5.71 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP … last year, 0-2 in three starts with a 7.04 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against James McDonald
- Welington Castillo – 1-for-3 with a double
- Starlin Castro – 5-for-16 with a home run and a walk
- Steve Clevenger – 0-for-2
- David DeJesus – 3-for-7 with two double and two walks
- Scott Hairston – 0-for-1
- Dioner Navarro – 0-for-3
- Anthony Rizzo – 1-for-6 with a walk
- Dave Sappelt – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Nate Schierholtz – 3-for-10 with a home run and a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-12 with two home runs and a walk
- Luis Valbuena – 1-for-6 with a double and two walks
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …