Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Rangers – 04/16/13

Game Thirteen: Cubs (4-8) vs. Rangers (8-5)

  • Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 185/844
  • Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Travis Wood (1-0, 1.46/1.05) vs. Derek Holland (0-1, 2.40/1.00)

After their only day off over a 33-day stretch, the Cubs return the field tonight for the first of three against the Texas Rangers, the first Interleague matchup of the year for the Cubs … the Cubs were 5-10 against the Junior Circuit last season.

The Cubs and Rangers will honor Jackie Robinson tonight. All on field players and personnel will wear #42 in tribute to the great Jackie Robinson.

The Cubs should receive a boost tonight with the return of Darwin Barney. Barney has been on the shelf since March 31 after he ran into a side wall in the last Spring Training game in Houston. Barney received five stitches to close a gash in his left knee. The Cubs defense should show improvement with Barney back on the field. Barney went 5-for-10 in his three rehab games with Iowa that included a double, three walks and a stolen base.

The Cubs will have two new faces in the pen tonight. Kameron Loe and Kevin Gregg are in uniform and available out of the pen for Tuesday night’s game. The Cubs added Gregg to the roster on Tuesday after signing him to a minor league contract on Sunday.

Cody Ransom has taken Brent Lillibridge’s spot on the Cubs’ bench. The Cubs claimed Ransom off waivers from the Padres on Tuesday. Ransom may be available for Tuesday’s game, if not the Cubs will play with a 24-man roster for the second consecutive game.

The Cubs right-handed lineup must start producing. While the team has a whole is struggling to score runs, the righties have been even worse. Dave Sappelt is 1-for-8 on the season with two strikeouts and no walks while Scott Hairston is 1-for-11 with a home run, no walks and two strikeouts. The Cubs are 0-3 versus lefties this season.

The Cubs last faced the Rangers back in 2010. Lou’s Crew took two of three from Texas in Arlington. The Cubs will see a lot of familiar faces in the visiting dugout. Former Cubs Jeff Baker and Geovany Soto along with Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski … both the White Sox and Cubs opening day catcher from a year ago.

As for the pitching matchup, after tonight’s battle of the southpaws between Travis Wood and Derek Holland, Carlos Villanueva faces Justin Grimm on Wednesday and Jeff Samardzija squares off against Alexi Ogando in the finale on Thursday afternoon. Scott Feldman is not going to face his former team. The Cubs skipped Feldman this time through the rotation. Feldman is dealing with back tightness.

The Cubs begin a stretch of 20 games in a row without an off day tonight … and it all starts with Travis Wood.

Travis Wood has begun his year on a positive note. Wood is coming off his second solid start of the season against the Brewers. After tossing six innings of shutout ball against the Pirates on April 4, Wood followed up with a two earned run, seven hit performance against the Brewers.

The Cubs sloppy defense did not help Wood in his last outing … and neither did the three walks he allowed. Wood has to limit the free passes in order to be successful. In 12 1/3 innings this year, Wood has walked five batters while striking out 10 and allowing only eight hits.

With all of the bullpen issues, Wood could really help alleviate some of the problems with a seven inning outing tonight.

Travis Wood makes his first start against the Texas Rangers … and only Jeff Baker (3-for-8 with a home run and a walk), Lance Berkman (7-for-11 with a double, two home runs and a walk) and Geovany Soto (1-for-4 with two walks) have faced Wood in their careers.

Derek Holland is off to a very good start this season. Holland has allowed four earned runs on 11 hits over his first two starts with four walks and nine strikeouts. Holland completed seven innings against the Angels and received a no decision in a 3-2 Rangers win and he picked up a loss against Tampa after allowing two runs over eight innings … Texas was shut out 2-0. While the Cubs have struggled mightily against southpaws this year, it will not get any easier with Derek Holland on the bump for the Rangers.

Holland makes his second start against the Cubs tonight and first ever appearance at Wrigley Field. Holland allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits over six innings with no walks and five strikeouts to the Cubs on May 22, 2010. Lou’s Crew topped Texas 5-4.

Cubs Career Numbers against Derek Holland

  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-3 with a home run
  • David DeJesus – 2-for-5 with a double and a walk
  • Scott Hairston – 1-for-9
  • Dioner Navarro – 2-for-4 with a double and a home run
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-2 with a home run

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver
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