Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 09/15/13

Game One Hundred Forty-Nine: Cubs (63-85) vs. Pirates (86-62)

  • Game Time – 12:35pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 186/844
  • Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Travis Wood (9-11, 3.05/1.11/3.87) vs. Francisco Liriano (16-7, 2.92/1.23/2.73)

The Cubs wrap up the four-game series in Pittsburgh this afternoon behind Travis Wood. The Cubs are 3-3 over the first six games of the 11-game road trip and a win today, in their final game of the year in Pittsburgh, would mean a split of the four-game series and a 4-3 start to their longest road trip in nearly a decade.

Other than the finale in Cincinnati, the Cubs have played decent ball on this trip against two of the better teams in baseball. The Cubs biggest problem, as it has been all season, is the inability to score runs when they do not hit the ball out of yard. This roster simply does not hit with runners in scoring position and that is one of the areas that must be addressed by the front office in the off-season.

The offensively challenged Cubs will not get a break today with Francisco Liriano on the hill. Liriano owned the Cubs in the three starts he made against them earlier in the year. Dale Sveum should run out his right-handed lineup with Donnie Murphy at third, Darnell McDonald in right and Junior Lake in left. After today’s game, the next time the Cubs will see PNC Park will be on Opening Day of the 2014 season.

The Cubs season comes to an end two weeks from today and this afternoon all starts with Travis Wood

Travis Wood is coming off, arguably, his best outing of the season. Wood tossed seven innings of shutout ball against the Reds in Cincinnati and beat his former team for the first time. Wood did not walk a batter and struck out seven for the first time since August 7. Wood had excellent command, found a rhythm and dominated a very good Reds’ team. Now, he has the task of trying to duplicate his performance against another one of the better teams in baseball.

Like a majority of his teammates, Wood has performed much better on the road this year than at Wrigley. Wood is 5-3 in 12 starts outside of his home park with a 2.36 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP while holding teams to a .206 batting average. Wood is 1-1 in his last two outings with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.

This afternoon will be Wood’s third start of the season against the Pirates. Wood was very good in the first two and posted a 1-1 record with a 0.75 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP (one run on five hits with four walks and 10 strikeouts in 12 innings). Wood will have to keep the Battlin’ Bucs off the board to have a chance to win the game while his teammates try to put something together against Francisco Liriano.

Pirates Numbers against Travis Wood in 2013

  • Starling Marte – 0-for-6
  • Russell Martin – 2-for-6 with a double
  • Pedro Alvarez – 0-for-5
  • Andrew McCutchen – 0-for-5
  • Gaby Sanchez – 0-for-3 with two walks
  • Neil Walker – 1-for-4
  • Marlon Byrd – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Jordy Mercer – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Clint Barmes – 1-for-2 with a double
  • Francisco Liriano – 0-for-2
  • Travis Snider – 0-for-1 with a walk
  • Jose Tabata – 0-for-2

Francisco Liriano is one of the big reasons the Pirates are battling the Cardinals and Reds for the NL Central Crown. Liriano has outpitched all expectations this season and is coming off an excellent outing in Texas. Liriano held the Rangers to one run on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts in six innings. Liriano bounced back from his second worst start of the year against the Brewers (seven runs on seven hits in three innings) and led his team to the second win of the series.

Francisco Liriano has been just about unhittable at PNC Park this year. In nine starts, Liriano has allowed only eight runs on 39 hits with 19 walks and 61 strikeouts in 59 2/3 innings (1.21 ERA, 0.97 WHIP) and the Cubs will have the pleasure of facing him for the fourth time this season.

To say that Liriano has dominated the Cubs this year would be an understatement. In three starts, Liriano has limited the Cubs to two runs on eight hits with 10 walks and 24 strikeouts in 23 innings (0.78 ERA, 0.78 WHIP).

Cubs Numbers against Francisco Liriano in 2013

  • Darwin Barney (.226) – 0-for-9 with a walk
  • Starlin Castro (.285) – 1-for-9 with a double and a walk
  • Anthony Rizzo (.251) – 0-for-8 with two walks
  • Welington Castillo (.351) – 2-for-5 with a walk
  • Dioner Navarro (.306) – 2-for-3 with a walk
  • Ryan Sweeney (.304) – 0-for-3
  • Travis Wood (.289) – 1-for-2

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne