Game Seventy-Eight: Cubs (28-49) vs. Astros (32-46)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Travis Wood (2-3, 3.54/1.20) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (6-5, 3.52/1.26)
Weather permitting … Can the Cubs complete the sweep of the ‘Stros this afternoon behind Travis Wood? The Cubs have a shot at their second series sweep of the season (Padres, May 28 – May 30) … but first they will have to figure out Wandy Rodriguez and post their second consecutive win in a game started by a southpaw (5-17).
Dale Sveum should send out a majority of his everyday lineup once again. Wandy Rodriguez has struggled of late and lefties (.258/.313/.381) have hit just as good as righties (.269/.304/.411) against him this season. Jeff Baker (10-for-23 with five doubles and a walk) has hit Rodriguez rather well and Sveum could use this afternoon as a way to give Alfonso Soriano (4-for-38 with a home run and three walks) and that bad knee a break.
In other news … Rosters for the 83rd All-Star game will be announced today. The selection show airs on TBS beginning at 12:00pm CDT. Starlin Castro is expected to be the Cubs’ lone representative in the Mid-Summer Classic … but Alfonso Soriano could sneak in on the NL Roster.
The Cubs announced Saturday that Chris Volstad will get the start Tuesday in Atlanta against Jair Jurrjens. Volstad will be officially recalled Tuesday afternoon, no word yet on which pitcher will be sent down to make room for Volstad on the active roster.
Ian Stewart is expected to make a decision soon whether or not to have surgery on his left wrist. The wrist did not respond to the cortisone injection and Stewart is still feeling quite a bit of pain. Dale Sveum indicated Saturday there is some calcification on the bone that is causing some of the problem and Jed Hoyer said there is a strong likelihood that Stewart will have to have surgery on the wrist.
The final game at Wrigley before the break all starts with Travis Wood … Travis Wood is coming off his best outing of the season. Wood tossed seven innings of shutout ball against the Mets with only one walk and six strikeouts. Wood threw strikes and only one runner reached third base while he was on the mound. Wood has appeared to be more comfortable and confident of late.
Wood has posted wins in his last two starts and is 2-2 in his last five outings with a 2.27 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. Wood has posted quality starts in each of his last three games … and four of the last five.
Travis Wood’s second start of the season came in Houston back on May 22. Wood allowed two runs on two hits with a pair of walks in 5 2/3 innings. The Cubs lost 2-1 because the offense could not figure out J.A. Happ. Wood is 1-2 in six career starts against the Astros with a 2.55 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.
Astros Career Numbers against Travis Wood
- Jose Altuve – 1-for-5 with a home run
- Matt Downs – 2-for-2 with a walk
- Chris Johnson – 2-for-12 with a double
- Carlos Lee – 2-for-12
- Jed Lowrie – 1-for-2 with a double and a walk
- J.D. Martinez – 1-for-4
- Jordan Schafer – 0-for-2
- Chris Snyder – 2-for-7
Wandy Rodriguez’s last start was one of his worst of the season. Wandy Rodriguez allowed five earned runs over 6 2/3 innings to the Padres. San Diego pounded out eight hits with no walks and Rodriguez struck out six. The veteran southpaw started June with a horrible outing against the Reds (nine runs, seven earned, on nine hits with four home runs, two walks and three strikeouts in five innings) and finished the month with a rough start against the light-hitting Padres.
In his last five starts, Wandy Rodriguez is 2-1 with a 6.00 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP.
Rodriguez has been slightly better on the road (3-1 in six starts with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP) than at Minute Maid Park (3-4 in 10 starts with 3.60 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP) this season … and has already beaten the Cubs this year. Rodriguez held the Cubs to just one run on eight hits without a walk and five strikeouts over seven innings back on May 23 at Houston.
Wandy Rodriguez owns a 6-6 mark in 20 career starts against the Cubs with a 3.84 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP … at Wrigley Field, 2-4 in 11 starts with a 5.09 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Wandy Rodriguez
- Jeff Baker – 10-for-23 with five doubles and a walk
- Darwin Barney – 3-for-13 with a walk
- Tony Campana – 0-for-1
- Starlin Castro – 3-for-15 with a walk
- David DeJesus – 1-for-4 with a walk
- Reed Johnson – 7-for-26 with a home run and a walk
- Joe Mather – 1-for-10 with a double
- Alfonso Soriano – 4-for-38 with a home run and three walks
- Geovany Soto – 9-for-21 with three home runs and four walks
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