Game Sixty-Two – Cubs (25-36) vs. Pirates (30-33)
- Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 185, 844
- Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Travis Wood (5-5, 5.04/1.41/3.97) vs. Francisco Liriano (1-6, 4.54/1.47/3.93)
Weather permitting … The Cubs will try to end their two-game losing skid tonight behind Travis Wood. The Cubs struggles outside of Wrigley Field continued Monday night and the offense will have to figure out Francisco Liriano. The Cubs have been too aggressive at the plate when they’ve faced the Pirates this year. To put it simply, the entire offense is giving the Pirates pitching staff too much credit.
The Pirates have called up their top prospect and Gregory Polanco will make his big league debut tonight. Polanco is taking Neil Walker’s spot on the Pirates’ active roster. Neil Walker was placed on the DL after undergoing an appendectomy Monday night.
The Cubs will have to deal with the electric atmosphere at PNC Park and wonder what it will be like when Kris Bryant and Javier Baez make their big league debuts at Wrigley Field.
Rick Renteria should run out a balanced lineup tonight and not just play his right-handed lineup. Granted it is a small sample size, but lefties have hit .309/.367/.433 in 60 at bats against Liriano this season while right handers have managed a .231/.329/.312 line in 250 at bats.
With Renteria only using Carlos Villanueva on Monday, his entire bullpen was able to get a breather and everyone, but Villanueva, should be available tonight.
And tonight all starts with Travis Wood …
Travis Wood had a rough outing for the second start in a row his last time out against the Mets. Wood pitched into the sixth inning while struggling with his command. Wood walked more batters than he struck out for the second time this season and Rick Renteria had to summon Brian Schlitter from the bullpen to record all three outs in the sixth inning. Travis Wood was charged with two runs on four hits with five walks and three strikeouts in five innings.
Like many of his teammates, the road has not been kind to Travis Wood this year. Wood is 2-4 in six starts outside of Wrigley Field with an 8.04 ERA and a 1.85 WHIP. Teams are hitting .326 against Wood in their home park. Wood faces the Pirates for the second time this season.
Travis Wood received a no decision in his against the Bucs at Wrigley on April 10. Wood gave up one run on four hits with three walks and nine strikeouts in six innings. For his career, Wood is 4-5 in 11 appearances, 10 starts, with a 3.15 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP … at PNC Park, 4-1 in six games, five starts, with a 1.91 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP.
Pirates Career Numbers against Travis Wood
Francisco Liriano has not been the 2013 version of himself for the Pirates this season and he’s coming off a loss to the Padres in which he gave up three runs, two earned, on one hit. Liriano walked six batters in five innings while striking out seven. But he gave up three runs, two earned, on one hits. Liriano has struggled with his command this season and if the Cubs are willing to be patient, he can be beaten.
Liriano has given up a lot of runs at PNC Park. In seven starts (0-3 record), Liriano has surrendered 27 runs, 25 earned, on 44 this with 20 walks and 35 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings. Liriano will face the Cubs for the second time this season and he’s owned the Cubs since he put a Pirates uniform on.
The Cubs managed four hits and no runs with three walks and 10 strikeouts when they faced Liriano back on Opening Day. Francisco Liriano was 3-1 in five starts versus the Cubs last season with a 2.12 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. In 34 innings, Liriano limited the Cubs to eight runs on 19 hits with 15 walks and 36 strikeouts.
Cubs Career Numbers against Francisco Liriano
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …