Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 04/04/13

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 newsMatt 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 …

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Quote of the Day

"Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again." – Bob Feller

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  • Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    DeJesus – CF
    Castro – SS
    Rizzo – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Schierholtz – RF
    Navarro – C
    Valbuena – 3B
    Lillibridge – 2B
    Wood – P

    • Craig York

      I can’t wait for Barney, and Stewart to return. That 7-9 punch is awful.

      • Ray Ray

        Hey, Travis Wood can hit. I would bat him ahead of Valbuena and Lillibridge.

        • Theboardrider

          No kidding, that is a legitimate suggestion. I’ve been thinking the same about Barney. The guy has the clutch gene, I think if he’d have been up with bases loaded last night game might have been different…

      • 07GreyDigger

        Who gets a hit first? Lillibridge or Valbuena? UGH!

  • Tom U

    Welcome back everyone to another minor league season. Here are today’s minor league starters (with 2012 stats):

    Kane County – Pierce Johnson (0-0, 3.27)
    Daytona – Ben Wells (3-2, 3.20)
    Tennessee – Dallas Beeler (6-7, 4.24)
    Iowa – Chris Rusin (8-9, 4.55)

  • Matt Weaver

    Hey guys. Long time no see. Morning baseball is always better than coffee.

    • Neil

      Good to hear from you Matt

  • Neil

    Good first inning for Wood

  • Neil

    Just a typical 5-6-3 double play

  • Matt Weaver

    Proving that the Cubs have worse hitters than Wood in their lineup. Also — that beard is impressive. Save it for October one of these years.

  • Neil

    Wood with the first hit

  • Neil

    Pitcher Chris Young as re-signed with the Nationals, minor league deal

  • Roland Bowman

    Time for a good clutch 2 out base hit!

    • Neil

      Agreed … Castro with the first hit with RISP this season

      • Roland Bowman

        Neil I just want to point out I psoted that before Castro got the hit. I think I am clairvoyant.

        • Neil

          Let’s talk Lottery numbers then

  • Neil

    Good outing from Travis Wood

  • Josh Man

    Not sure I’d have pulled Wood yet, but the bullpen looked good getting around the lead off batter getting on and over

  • Neil

    Russell catches Walker looking to end the seventh

  • Josh Man

    We can’t bring Fujikawa in in the 8th! Who will we bring in to save the game after Marmol loads the bases with no one out in the 9th!?

  • Josh Man

    Let’s please leave Fujikawa out for the 9th. I don’t trust Marmol at all.

  • Roland Bowman

    It is bad, I am already nervous. Marmol will be brought in for the 9th. In the past he has struggled even more with his control when he hasn’t pitched in a game for a few days.
    As Josh has already asked who comes in if Marmol faulters again?

  • Josh Man

    Needed that!

  • Neil

    Schierholtz with his first HR in a Cubs’ uniform

  • Roland Bowman

    Nate Schierholtz!

  • Denver Mike

    I’ve been stuck in meetings all day I’ve been following along through my phone. That Schierholtz HR made me feel a WHOLE lot better than if we were counting on Marmol to hold a 1 run lead. One of my co-workers just looked over and goes, “what are you smiling about?” Ha ha!

    • Matt Weaver

      Go back to your meetings if you know what’s good for you.

  • Matt Weaver

    Seen this movie. Nervous as hell.

  • Matt Weaver

    Okay. Heart attack diverted. Wow. Phew. Good day ladies and gentlemen.

  • EqDoc

    Can we please be done with Marmol now?

  • Neil

    Cubs beat the #Pirates 3-2 on Thursday afternoon
    – Travis Wood: 0R, 1H, 2BB, 4K in 6IP (85 pitches, 54 strikes); 1-2, R; Nate Schierholtz: 1-3, HR, 2RBI, BB; Starlin Castro: 1-4, RBI; Anthony Rizzo: 0-3, BB, SB, R;

    Cubs win first series of season (2-1)

  • Theboardrider

    Schierholtz is going to be a really good pick-up. He’ll either be part of the plan or bring back some prospects. Another example of the plan working well…

  • Matt Weaver

    Oh. One last note. I’m starting the petition to send Carlos Marmol to the All-Star Game — as the Home Run Derby pitcher. So if you guys will support me on this, I would be eternally grateful.

    • Bredstik

      He could NEVER throw enough strikes to be a HR Derby pitcher!

      • Matt Weaver

        Bazinga! Well said, haha

  • redlarczykg

    The Marmol situation is soooo tipical of the extreme politics in todays Baseball. Marmol this spring did not earn the Closer role. It’s all because of the money he is being paid and the Cubs hope to have him earn his way out of Chicago by trade if does well. Forget about logic when comes to run a baseball team!

  • Josh Man

    Someone came in for a meeting with me just as the bottom of the 9th started, I see we held on, but that Marmol gave up a couple. How close was it?

    • Neil

      First and third no outs, struck out Alvarez, Walker grounded into a 4-6-3 DP to end it … so just a little close.

      • Josh Man

        Ugh. Marmol has got to go! Thanks, Neil.

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