National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, September 12th
(All times Eastern)
Chicago Cubs (55-87) at Houston Astros (45-97), 8:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Travis Wood (5-11, 4.42)
Houston - Fernando Abad (0-3, 5.30)
(Sports Network) - Dominican lefty Fernando Abad starts for the fourth time in
2012 and searches for his first win tonight when the Houston Astros host the
Chicago Cubs in the finale of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park.
The 26-year-old, who made 51 relief appearances in his initial two seasons in
the majors, opened 2012 with 30 straight trips from the bullpen before getting
his initial start on Aug. 25 in New York against the Mets.
He pitched four innings and allowed a run on four hits in a 3-1 loss, then
surrendered six runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings six days later when the
Astros lost, 9-3, to the Cincinnati Reds.
Start No. 3 resulted in another four-inning outing and resulted in another
loss when Abad allowed five runs on six hits during a 6-3 loss at Pittsburgh.
He's struck out six and walked nine in 12 1/3 innings as a starter after
posting a 3.86 earned run average through 23 1/3 innings as a reliever in the
initial 30 appearances.
In 10 career relief outings against the Cubs, Abad has a 2.16 ERA across 8 1/3
innings while allowing seven hits and two runs.
Chicago opposes him with fellow southpaw Travis Wood, who snapped an eight-
decision losing streak in his last start.
Wood, a 25-year-old from Arkansas, surrendered a single hit in six scoreless
innings at Pittsburgh in the Cubs' 12-2 defeat of the Pirates on Sept. 7.
He was 4-3 in 2012 after defeating the Mets on July 6 in New York, then
emerged from the All-Star break with eight losses in 10 starts - in which
Chicago was 0-10 - and watched his ERA climb from 3.05 to 4.64.
His third win of the season came against the Astros on July 1 and saw Wood
allow three hits and strike out four in 7 2/3 scoreless innings of a 3-0
In his career against Houston, Wood is 2-2 in seven starts.
On Tuesday, Jordan Lyles threw five shutout innings and the bullpen did the
rest as the Astros edged the Cubs, 1-0.
Lyles (4-11) allowed two hits and walked two while striking out five to pick
up just his third win since June 26.
Jason Maxwell drove in the lone run for the Astros, who have won three of
Wilton Lopez stranded two in the ninth to earn his fourth save of the season.
Justin Germano (2-7) was pegged with the loss despite allowing just one
unearned run on three hits while striking out eight over five frames. David
DeJesus and Starlin Castro each tallied hits for the Cubs, who had a season-
high four-game winning streak snapped.
"Any time you lose by one run, it's tough, especially when it's an unearned
run," Germano said.
Chicago rookie first baseman Anthony Rizzo left the game in the third inning
after a nasty collision at first base with Maxwell.
Rizzo ripped a grounder to second base, but a high throw caused first baseman
Brett Wallace to jump as Rizzo was crossing the bag. It appeared that Rizzo
hyperextended his left leg and was then struck in the left side of the head by
The 23-year-old Rizzo stumbled and landed awkwardly on his right shoulder, and
then remained motionless on the field for several minutes before he walked off
the field with the help of two trainers. He sustained soft-tissue soreness and
is considered day-to-day.
The Cubs won five of the first nine games between the teams in 2012, a year
after winning eight of 15 in the 2011 season series.
09/12 10:30:49 ET