Game Eighteen – Cubs (5-12) vs. Diamondbacks (5-16)
- Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 188, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Travis Wood (0-2, 3.00/1.39/2.52) vs. Bronson Arroyo (1-1, 9.95/1.97/7.42)
Weather permitting … The Cubs begins a four-game series tonight against the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks. The D-Backs are expected to contend for a title in the NL West this season but to this point Arizona has as many wins as the Cubs. The D-Backs are a mess right now, especially in the pitching department and both Kevin Towers and Kirk Gibson are in danger of losing their jobs. Arizona has a lot of talent on paper but injuries to the pitching staff have put the team in a very tough spot.
The Cubs have not played good ball over the years against the D-Backs. The Cubs were 3-4 in the seven games with Arizona a year ago. After tonight’s matchup of Travis Wood and Bronson Arroyo, Jason Hammel is scheduled to face Brandon McCarthy on Tuesday night. Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to take on lefty Wade Miley on Wednesday afternoon when the Chicago Federals square off against the Kansas City Packers for the Wrigley Field 100 Celebration. The series is expected to wrap up on Thursday afternoon with Edwin Jackson taking on Mike Bolsinger.
Rick Renteria should load his lineup with lefties. While both righties (.444/.476/.667) and lefties (.351/.390/.512) are hitting Arroyo rather well this season, over the course of his career lefties (.290/.345/.445) have hit Arroyo much better than right handed hitters (.251/.293/.355).
And tonight it all starts with Travis Wood …
Travis Wood has been solid over his first three starts of the year and is coming off a better start against the Yankees than his final line indicates. Wood gave up two runs on 11 hits in the Bronx with no walks and two strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. The Yankees made very little solid contact against Wood with many of the hits being flares or bloops. Wood had allowed fewer hits than innings pitched prior to that outing.
Travis Wood makes his third start of the season at Wrigley tonight. Wood is 0-1 in the first two with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
The Diamondbacks have been a thorn in Travis Wood’s side throughout his career. Travis Wood is 1-4 in five starts against Arizona with a 6.33 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP (33 hits, nine walks and 22 strikeouts in 27 innings). Last year Wood lost his only start against the D-Backs (four runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings).
Diamondbacks Career Numbers against Travis Wood
- Cody Ross: 3-for-9
- Bronson Arroyo: 1-for-6 with one double
- A.J. Pollock: 2-for-5 with two doubles
- Eric Chavez: 1-for-3 with one triple
- Paul Goldschmidt: 1-for-2 with one walk
- Aaron Hill: 1-for-3 with one double
- Martin Prado: 1-for-2 with one home run and one walk
- Mark Trumbo: 0-for-2 with one walk
- Miguel Montero: 2-for-2 with one double
After dealing with a back injury for a majority of the spring, Bronson Arroyo has not been what Kevin Towers thought he would be when he signed the veteran right-hander to a two-year contract late in the off-season. Arroyo has struggled and is coming off a horrible start against the Mets. The Metropolitans scored nine runs on 10 hits against Arroyo in 3 1/3 innings.
Arroyo is not only giving up a ton of hits (21) but the ball is leaving the yard (4) as well and in 12 2/3 innings, he has walked four batters while striking out six.
The Cubs must make Arroyo work tonight. If the offense swings at his pitch, Arroyo will continue his dominance over the team. Bronson Arroyo was 2-1 in three starts against the Cubs last season with a 2.25 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP (15 hits, two walks and 15 strikeouts in 20 innings) and for his career Arroyo owns a 13-10 mark against the Cubs in 31 games, 29 starts, with a 2.91 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. Tonight will be Arroyo’s 15th career start at Wrigley. Arroyo is 8-3 in 15 games, 14 starts, at the Friendly Confines with a 2.83 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Bronson Arroyo
- Starlin Castro: 6-for-27 with one double and one home run
- Darwin Barney: 3-for-20
- Nate Schierholtz: 5-for-18 with three doubles
- Anthony Rizzo: 3-for-17
- Luis Valbuena: 6-for-13 with four doubles, two home runs and two walks
- Emilio Bonifacio: 3-for-10 with one walk
- Ryan Sweeney: 1-for-9 with one home run
- Travis Wood: 1-for-8
- Justin Ruggiano: 2-for-5 with one double and one walk
- John Baker: 0-for-3
- Welington Castillo: 0-for-3
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …