Game Fifty-Eight: Cubs (24-33) vs. Pirates (35-25)
- Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 183/844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Travis Wood (5-3, 2.75/1.01) vs. Francisco Liriano (5-3, 3.34/1.21)
The Cubs begin an extremely difficult seven-game homestand this afternoon with the first of three against the Mighty Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs wrap up the homestand next Thursday with the last of four against the Reds.
The Cubs more than salvaged the finale of the two-game series in Anaheim with a victory over Albert Pujols and company and will get back to work this afternoon following a rare second off day in the same week. The Cubs won three of five during the last homestand and begin play today just three games under .500 at Wrigley Field (13-16) this season. But the Cubs must start playing better against teams in their own division. The Cubs are just 6-16 against the NL Central this year.
After taking two of three against the Pirates in Pittsburgh to start the year, the Cubs lost all three in the Steel City and are just 2-4 in the first six games against the Bucs this season. The Cubs offense will not catch a break over the next three days either. The Cubs are 8-11 in games started by lefties this season and will face two very good southpaws over the next three days. After this afternoon’s lefty-lefty matchup of Travis Wood and Francisco Liriano, Jeff Samardzija takes on A.J. Burnett on Saturday then the series wraps on Sunday with Edwin Jackson and Jeff Locke.
Dale Sveum should load his lineup with as many right handers as possible. Francisco Liriano has dominated southpaws to the tune of a .083/.120/.077 slash line while right handers have hit .270/.330/.276.
This afternoon it all starts with Travis Wood …
Travis Wood bounced back from his rough outing in Cincinnati and posted his tenth quality start of the season the last time out against the White Sox. Wood held the South Side to two runs on five hits with a pair of walks and six strikeouts in six innings. Wood not only quieted the Sox offense but he supplied a majority of the runs with the first grand slam of his career.
Travis Wood has pitched very well at Wrigley this season. Wood is 3-2 in seven home starts this year with a 2.44 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP and he will face a big challenge this afternoon with the Battlin’ Bucs. Wood beat Pittsburgh in the third game of the year back on April 4. Wood allowed just one hit with two walks and four strikeouts over six shutout innings.
For his career, Travis Wood is 4-4 in eight games, seven starts, against the Pirates with a 3.72 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.
Pirates Career Numbers against Travis Wood
- Pedro Alvarez – 1-for-9 with a double
- Clint Barmes – 2-for-15 with a double and a walk
- Garrett Jones – 0-for-5
- Starling Marte – 2-for-11 with a triple, a home run and a walk
- Russell Martin – 1-for-6
- Andrew McCutchen – 1-for-13 with a double and four walks
- Michael McKenry – 2-for-5 with a walk
- Gaby Sanchez – 1-for-8 with three walks
- Travis Snider – 1-for-2
- Jose Tabata – 2-for-9 with two doubles and a walk
- Neil Walker – 3-for-9 with a double and a walk
Francisco Liriano has pitched better than even the Pirates thought he would to this point of the season. Liriano has been extremely good with the only hiccup in five starts coming against the Detroit Tigers, an AL team, two starts ago. Liriano lost his last start because Mike Leake shutout the Pirates’ offense for six innings before turning the game over to the bullpen. Liriano allowed only one run on four hits with a walk and a season-high 11 strikeouts … the most strikeouts for Liriano in a single start since he punched out 15 Athletics last July 13.
Liriano has not been nearly as effective on the road this season as he’s been at PNC. Liriano is 2-1 in three home starts with a 0.96 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP but on the road not only are teams hitting over .300 against him (.318) but he is 1-1 in two starts with a 4.35 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP.
Francisco Liriano shut down the Cubs on May 22 in Pittsburgh. Liriano allowed just two hits and a walk with nine strikeouts over seven innings of shutout ball. Liriano is 1-1 in two career starts against the Cubs with a 2.84 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP. Today marks the first start of Liriano’s career at Wrigley Field.
Cubs Career Numbers against Francisco Liriano
- Darwin Barney – 0-for-4 with a walk
- Julio Borbon – 0-for-6
- Welington Castillo – 1-for-3
- Starlin Castro – 1-for-6 with a double
- David DeJesus – 2-for-17 with a walk
- Scott Hairston – 0-for-3
- Dioner Navarro – 0-for-3
- Cody Ransom – 2-for-6 with a walk
- Anthony Rizzo – 0-for-3
- Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-5 with a double and a walk
- Ryan Sweeney – 0-for-4
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …