Game Eight: Cubs (2-5) vs. Brewers (2-5)
- Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 187/844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Travis Wood (1-0, 0.00/0.50) vs. Wily Peralta (0-1, 6.75/1.69)
Weather permitting … The Cubs will look to end their four-game losing skid tonight behind Travis Wood. While the pitching staff has been inconsistent, the offense has been consistently bad with runners in scoring position. The Cubs are 6-for-44 with runners in scoring position over the first seven games of the season and must start receiving run production from the likes of Alfonso Soriano and Anthony Rizzo.
The Cubs’ three and four hitters in the lineup are not producing. Dale Sveum pointed out the lack of hitting from Soriano and Rizzo during his post-game press conference on Monday. While the Cubs figure to struggle in the run scoring department this season, the inability to plate runners from third base with less than one out is one of the many fundamentals this organization, from top to bottom, must improve on moving forward.
While Ryan Braun is and will always be a thorn in the Cubs’ side, the coaching staff must put together a new game plan for Norichika Aoki. The Brewers’ right fielder continues to feast on Cubs’ pitching. Aoki was hitting .400/.475/.660/1.135 with five doubles, a triple and two home runs against the Cubs in 16 games before he went 3-for-4 with a double and two walks on Monday. The Brewers will have another familiar face in the dugout tonight. Milwaukee transferred Corey Hart to the 60-day DL on Monday and purchased the contract of Blake Lalli from Triple-A Nashville.
The Cubs play their first night game of the season at Wrigley Field, something the ownership would like to see more of in the near future.
Can the Cubs post a win in their first night game of the year at the old ballyard?
Travis Wood is coming off an excellent outing against the Pirates. Wood allowed just one hit over six shutout innings with a pair of walks and four strikeouts and picked up the win when the Cubs survived the ninth inning. Wood mixed his pitches well with very good command against the Pirates … can he keep it up again tonight against the Brewers?
Wood was inconsistent in his home park last season. Wood seemingly put together a very good outing then would follow it up with a dud, pretty much following the theme of his first season in the Cubs’ organization. Wood was 2-6 in 14 starts at Wrigley last season with a 4.52 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP while teams hit virtually the same off of him at home (.235) as on the road (.228). The difference in his home-road splits was the amount of home runs he allowed … 14 at Wrigley, 11 on the road.
Tonight marks the eighth time in Wood’s young career he will start a game against the Brewers. Wood is 3-2 in seven career appearances, six starts, with a 3.40 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP … last season, 0-2 in two starts with a 3.86 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP.
Brewers Career Numbers against Travis Wood
- Norichika Aoki – 2-for-6 with a double
- Yuniesky Betancourt – 0-for-5
- Ryan Braun – 6-for-17 with four doubles and a home run
- Carlos Gomez – 2-for-12 with a home run and a walk
- Jonathan Lucroy – 1-for-8
- Martin Maldonado – 0-for-7
- Rickie Weeks – 1-for-16 with a home run
The Cubs get their first look at Wily Peralta tonight. Peralta is coming off a bad first outing against a very good Rockies’ offense. Peralta allowed four runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Peralta is making just his seventh start at the big league level after posting a 2-1 mark in six games, five starts, a year ago with a 2.48 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.
Baseball America considers Wily Peralta the top prospect in the Brewers’ system. Peralta does not turn 24 for another month and can run his fastball up into the high 90s when he needs to. Peralta sits in the mid-90s while throwing both a two and four-seam fastball. Last September the scouts really liked his slider. Peralta features a changeup with splitter action.
The biggest knock on Peralta has always been his control and command. He can get quite wild (14 walks in 34 1/3 big league innings) if teams are patient with him. Once he begins to struggle, reports indicate he has a history of losing confidence. If the Cubs allow him to get comfortable early they could be in for a long-short night.
Outside of possible plate appearances by Anthony Rizzo, Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger in the minors the past few seasons, the only players that have faced Peralta at the big league level are Scott Hairston (0-for-1) and Dioner Navarro (0-for-2).
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …