Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cubs in first place after 3-2 win over Pirates; Travis Wood's exceptional start

The Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 to win their first series of 2013 and to stay in first place in the NL Central (tied with the Reds).  Travis Wood made his first start of the season and was impressive, allowing just one hit over six innings pitched.

Cubs players celebrate their 3-2 win against the Pirates on Thursday (Getty Images photo)
Wood threw 85 pitches and said, "I had good fastball command and was able to locate it both sides and keep them off balance.  It's great to start off the season up here and get off to a good start and hopefully keep rolling."  That's what we like to hear, Travis! 

Travis Wood allowed just one hit over six innings pitched and earned a win against the Pirates (Getty Images photo)
However, Carlos Marmol almost blew the Cubs' lead (again!), but thankfully was able to earn his first save of the year instead.

Manager Dale Sveum said the following about Marmol, "He gave up hits, but it wasn't like he was throwing the ball all over the place.  For the most part, we know things like that can get interesting with him.  He got the ground ball when he needed it.  He was OK.  It didn't seem that way, but it wasn't too bad."  For the record, Marmol's ERA is 20.25 in two outings this season.

I'm not sure why Sveum is so willing to give Marmol so many chances, when the team now has Kyuji Fujikawa, who has been excellent so far this season.  You know that Cubs fans dread Marmol when numerous tweets about the "Marmol coaster" and "Un-oh, it's Marmol" and such start appearing all over Twitter once Marmol is in the game.  Hopefully Marmol will improve as the season moves on, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that he makes me nervous.

Outfielder Nate Schierholtz's home run in the ninth inning proved to be the difference in the game after Marmol's influence on the game.  Whew!

Nate Schierholtz is congratulated after his homer in the ninth inning against the Pirates (Getty Images photo)
The Cubs got on the board with Starlin Castro's RBI single in the third inning, which scored Travis Wood, who was at second base after hitting a single and advancing on a groundout.

Tomorrow, the Cubs will start a three-game series against the Braves in Atlanta.  Scott Feldman will make his first start with the Cubs.  Game time will be at 6:30pm CT.

Just 4 more days until the Cubs Home Opener!  Here's a photo from @Cubs on Twitter of the marquee at Wrigley Field getting fresh paint today!

Wrigley Field marquee getting a fresh coat of paint before the Home Opener (photo from @Cubs on Twitter)
 Who's going to the Home Opener on Monday?  Go Cubs Go!

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