Game Eighty-Eight: Cubs (39-46) vs. Angels (43-45)
- Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 185/844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Travis Wood (5-6, 2.69/0.98) vs. Joe Blanton (2-10, 5.14/1.49)
Weather permitting … The Cubs welcome the red-hot Angels to Wrigley Field for the first of two in their final Interleague series of the season. The Cubs and Angels split the two-game series in Anaheim last month but the Angels are clicking on all cylinders right now and come in winners of eight of their last 10.
The Cubs are 12-6 against the Junior Circuit with two games remaining. The Cubs have won three straight and have won five of the last seven series dating back to June 14. The Cubs have out homered opponents at Wrigley this season 56-35.
Will the Cubs pitch to Albert Pujols over the next two games? While Pujols might not be Pujols right now, he thrives on Cubs pitching. Albert Pujols owns a career line of .302/.402/.617/1.020 in 175 games against the Cubs with 36 doubles, two triples and 54 home runs … at Wrigley, Pujols is 95-for-319 with 17 doubles, one triple and 26 home runs in 86 games (.298/.397/.602/.999).
After tonight’s match-up of Travis Wood and Joe Blanton, Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face lefty C.J. Wilson in the finale on Wednesday night. The Cubs wrap up the first half with a four-game series against the Cardinals that begins on Thursday night.
Tonight it all starts with Travis Wood, the All-Star …
Travis Wood has put his team in position to win 16 of the 17 games he started this season. Wood is coming off a no decision in his last outing. Wood pitched six innings of shutout ball in Oakland and allowed just three hits with a walk and five strikeouts. Wood has not posted a win since May 30 while be the most consistent starter on the Cubs’ staff to this point of the season. Wood is 0-3 in his last six starts with a 2.58 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP (11 earned runs on 26 hits with nine walks and 30 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings).
Travis Wood did not face the Angels in Anaheim last month and is 3-4 in 10 starts at Wrigley this season with a 2.55 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP.
Tonight will be Wood’s first career start against the Angels and he will face the challenge of keeping the ball in the park.
Chris Iannetta (2-for-5 with a home run and a walk) and Albert Pujols (2-for-9 with a home run) are the only two players on the Angels’ active roster that has faced Wood in a regular season game.
Joe Blanton is coming off a Joe Blanton outing against the Cardinals. Blanton allowed five runs, four earned, on nine hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Prior to his last start, Blanton had allowed more than three earned runs in four of his nine starts. Blanton has been inconsistent but has always proved to be a challenge for the Chicago Cubs.
Joe Blanton was 1-2 in five starts in June with a 3.44 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP.
Sometimes home and road splits can tell a little more about what type of season a player may be having. In the case of Joe Blanton, he has been the same pitcher on the road as at home this year. Blanton is 2-6 in eight road starts with a 5.10 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP.
The Cubs missed Blanton in Anaheim last month and he will make his seventh career start against the Cubs tonight. Blanton is 1-0 in six career starts against the Cubs with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP … at Wrigley Field, Blanton has two no decisions with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Joe Blanton
- Darwin Barney – 1-for-6
- Brian Bogusevic – 0-for-3
- Welington Castillo – 2-for-6 with a home run
- Starlin Castro – 4-for-12
- Dioner Navarro – 1-for-9
- Anthony Rizzo – 1-for-3
- Nate Schierholtz – 5-for-7 with two home runs
- Alfonso Soriano – 7-for-24 with two doubles, a triple and three walks
- Luis Valbuena – 0-for-5 with a walk
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …