Game Sixty-Eight: Cubs (28-39) vs. Cardinals (44-28)
- Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: ESPN Monday Night Baseball, WCIU – Radio: 97.9 FM The Loop, XM Radio Channels 187/844
- Location – Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Travis Wood (5-5, 2.65/1.00) vs. Shelby Miller (7-4, 2.21/0.97)
Weather permitting … The Cubs open an extremely difficult series in St. Louis tonight with the first of four against the best team in baseball. No one associated with the team was too thrilled with the way Sunday’s game ended and if the team carries over the final inning in New York to this series against the Cardinals, the next four days could end up being very embarrassing for the Chicago Cubs.
The good news is that one of the Cubs’ eight wins against teams in the central (8-21) came against the Cardinals last month (May 7-May 8) at Wrigley Field. The long-time rivals split the two game series and the Cubs took a 4-3 lead into the seventh before the pen blew the lead. The Cardinals have struggled of late, well at least for them, but the two teams always step up their game when playing each other.
Dale Sveum needs for his starting staff to step up the next four days and not only pitch late into games to keep out of the bullpen but to limit the high-flying Cardinals’ offense. The pen, outside of Kevin Gregg and James Russell, has really struggled and Carlos Marmol’s third blown save of the season on Sunday marked the 14th time in 27 chances the Cubs’ relief corps has blown a lead this season.
After tonight’s match-up of Travis Wood and Shelby Miller, Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face Adam Wainwright on Tuesday night. Edwin Jackson is slated to face his old teammate Jake Westbrook on Wednesday and the series wraps on Thursday night with Scott Feldman taking on Lance Lynn.
Tonight’s game can be heard on 97.9 FM The Loop. Pat Hughes, Keith Moreland and Judd Sirott will call the action from St. Louis on the FM side so the Game Three of the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Blackhawks and Bruins can be heard on 720 WGN.
The Cubs will face the team and the organization they hope to become in the near future for the next four games and eight times between tonight and the All-Star break … and tonight it all starts with Travis Wood.
Travis Wood has allowed three runs on eight hits with four walks and 10 strikeouts in his last two starts combined (13 innings) and has two losses to show for his efforts. Not only has Wood posted a 2.08 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP over those two starts but held the Pirates and Reds to a .170 batting average. Wood has posted 12 quality starts in 13 tries this season.
Travis Wood has been very good to this point of the year and is 2-1 in four starts outside of Wrigley this year with a 3.38 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. Wood beat the Cardinals back on May 7 at Wrigley Field after holding St. Louis to one run on six hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Wood beat Lance Lynn and will have to put together a similar outing tonight with Shelby Miller on the hill.
For his career, Wood is 3-2 in seven starts against the Redbirds with a 4.71 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP … at Busch Stadium, 1-1 in three starts with a 4.19 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP.
Cardinals Career Numbers against Travis Wood
- Carlos Beltran – 3-for-9 with a double and a home run
- Matt Carpenter – 2-for-6 with a home run and a walk
- Allen Craig – 5-for-13 with two home runs
- Daniel Descalso – 3-for-7 with a triple
- David Freese – 3-for-8 with three walks
- Matt Holliday – 6-for-20 with two doubles, two home runs and a walk
- Jon Jay – 7-for-15 with a double and two walks
- Pete Kozma – 0-for-3 with two walks
- Yadier Molina – 5-for-17 with a double and two home runs
The Cubs have the pleasure of facing one of the best young right handers in the game tonight. Shelby Miller has been as advertised so far and has really solidified the Cardinals rotation. Miller has struck out 91 batters with only 17 walks in 81 1/3 innings. And over his last two starts, Miller has notched 19 strikeouts and not a single free pass. While he has pitched in only 19 big league games, from all appearances Miller seems to be the real deal.
Shelby Miller followed up his outstanding April (3-2 in five starts with a 2.05 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP) with a spectacular May (2-1 in five starts with a 1.99 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP). Over his last three starts, Miller is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP that includes 26 strikeouts and one walk in 19 innings.
Shelby Miller is 4-1 in six home starts this season with a 1.12 ERA and a 0.74 WHIP and tonight will be Miller’s first career start against the Cubs. Miller pitched two-thirds of an inning in relief against the Cubs last September 21 at Wrigley Field. The Cubs managed a couple of hits.
Welington Castillo (1-for-1), Starlin Castro (0-for-1) and Luis Valbuena (1-for-1) are the only players on the Cubs’ active roster that has faced Shelby Miller in a big league game.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …