Game Four: Cubs (1-2) vs. Phillies (1-2)
- Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 184, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Travis Wood (0-0, -.–/-.–/-.–) vs. Roberto Hernandez (0-0, -.–/-.–/-.–)
Weather permitting … The Party of the Century begins this afternoon with the Cubs home opener against the Phillies. The Cubs have a season-long celebration planned for the cherished ballpark turning 100 years old on April 23 and will honor the history of Wrigley Field throughout the year. And one of the best players to ever put on a Cubs’ uniform will spend the next three days in the visitor’s dugout.
The Cubs are coming off their first victory of the season after a hard-fought three-game series in Pittsburgh. The Cubs struggled with runners in scoring position (3-for-30) but received good performances from their starters and solid efforts from a majority of the relief corps. And the Cubs will face a Phillies’ team for the next three games that had a wild start to their season in Texas.
Ryne Sandberg is trying to keep a rather old Phillies’ roster in contention for an entire season. Sandberg has done a good job since taking over for Charlie Manuel last year on an interim basis.
The Cubs split the six games (3-3) with Philly last season and it will not get any easier for the offense over the next three days. After this afternoon’s match-up of Travis Wood and Roberto Hernandez, Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face Cliff Lee on Saturday afternoon. Carlos Villanueva is still penciled in to face A.J. Burnett in the finale on Sunday afternoon.
Several players and manager Rick Renteria will get their first taste of home clubhouse at Wrigley Field this afternoon. One of the many areas the big league team has to work on moving forward is creating a home field advantage at Wrigley Field. The Cubs are coming off a year in which the team saved their worst performances for the home crowd. The Cubs were 31-50 at Wrigley last year but the win-loss mark does not tell the story of how bad the team played in their own park.
Look for Rick Renteria to run out his left-handed hitting lineup this afternoon, with the exceptions of Starlin Castro and Welington Castillo.
The first game of the year at Wrigley Field all starts with Travis Wood …
Travis Wood makes his first start of the season, but will appear in his second game, and is looking to build on his best year at the Major League level. Wood earned his spot on the NL All-Star team after posting a 6-6 record in 19 starts before the break with a 2.79 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. Wood ended up with a 9-12 record in 32 starts with a 3.11 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. If it wasn’t for his last start against the Cardinals, Wood would have finished with an ERA under 3.00. Wood set career highs in starts (32), innings pitched (200) and strikeouts (144). Wood was 4-8 in 18 starts at Wrigley last season with a 3.39 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.
Travis Wood was in the running for the Opening Day job before he was pushed to the home opener. Wood will stay on a five-day routine and will eventually end up slotted behind Edwin Jackson in the Cubs rotation.
The Cubs’ lone starting southpaw, at least for now, has never beaten or lost to the Phillies. In three career starts, Wood has three no decisions with a 2.11 Era and a 0.80 WHIP. Wood faced Philly one time a year ago and allowed two runs on six hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings (2.84 ERA, 1.11 WHIP).
Phillies Career Numbers against Travis Wood
- Marlon Byrd: 3-for-14 with one double and one walk
- Jimmy Rollins: 2-for-11
- Ryan Howard: 0-for-8
- Wil Nieves: 1-for-7
- Carlos Ruiz: 2-for-5 with two doubles and two walks
- John Mayberry Jr.: 2-for-5 with one double and one walk
- Tony Gwynn Jr.: 0-for-2 with one walk
- Ben Revere: 2-for-3
- Chase Utley: 0-for-2
The Cubs will get their first look at the pitcher formally known as Fausto Carmona. Roberto Hernandez was serviceable for the Tampa Bay Rays last year after putting his injury and identity issues behind him. Hernandez was 6-13 in 32 games, 24 starts, for the Rays with a 4.89 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP.
The Cubs were interested in Hernandez in the off-season before he signed with his childhood team, and he has pitched just one-third of an inning in his career against the Cubs.
Cubs Career Numbers against Roberto Hernandez
- Ryan Sweeney: 2-for-15 with one walk
- Emilio Bonifacio: 1-for-3
- Ryan Kalish: 2-for-2 with one double and one walk
- Justin Ruggiano: 0-for-3
- Nate Schierholtz: 0-for-3
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …