National League Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, June 3rd (All times Eastern)
Chicago Cubs (18-34) at San Francisco Giants (29-24), 4:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Travis Wood (0-1, 5.94) San Francisco - Barry Zito (4-2, 3.41)
(Sports Network) - If it is one thing Barry Zito doesn't do too often, it is waste offensive support.
The Giants look to back their left-hander with a few runs this afternoon and extend the Cubs' longest road slide since 2006 in the third contest of a four- game series.
Zito, who posted a 5.87 earned run average in 13 appearances last season, is 3-1 over his past four starts and is coming off his longest outing of the season since mid-April last time out.
After getting tagged for eight runs -- four earned -- over a mere three innings in a loss at Milwaukee on May 23, he held the Diamondbacks to a pair of runs over seven-plus frames five days later. He worked around seven hits and a walk, striking out three in a 4-1 win.
It improved Zito to 31-3 during his tenure with the Giants and 116-7 in his career when receiving at least four runs of support.
"I wanted to throw more strikes and let them hit it," Zito said. "I wanted to pitch to contact instead of trying to nibble. Just pouring it through the zone, putting pressure on them."
The 34-year-old put together his longest start since going seven innings on April 14, his second outing of the season. He is 4-2 with a 3.41 ERA in 10 starts this season.
Zito has faced the Cubs seven times before, going 2-3 with a 4.46 ERA.
Chicago needed a season-high effort in runs to survive Travis Wood's last outing and hope that the southpaw can put forth a better effort in this outing.
In his third start of 2012 on Monday, Wood was tagged for six runs on seven hits over five innings of work. Pitching in a windy Wrigley Field, the 25- year-old served up a career-high four homers, but got a no-decision as the Cubs hit four homers of their own en route to an 11-7 win that halted a 12- game losing streak.
Wood, in his first season with the Cubs after beginning his career with two seasons as a member of the division-rival Reds, is 0-1 with a 5.94 ERA this year and 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two career starts versus the Giants.
Chicago turns to Wood in the hopes of snapping a nine-game slide on the road, the longest for the club since also dropping nine straight from Aug. 25-Sept. 10, 2006.
Seven of the nine setbacks came during Chicago's recent 12-game slide that it halted with a three-game sweep of the Padres to begin the week. However, the Cubs have lost consecutive one-run games to the Giants, including yesterday's 2-1 setback.
Matt Cain picked up his fifth straight win by striking out seven over eight- plus innings, the only run he allowed coming on David DeJesus' homer in the fourth inning.
"He's been so consistent and we needed it today because their guy was throwing the ball well," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy.
Bochy was referring to Cubs starter Matt Garza, who kept the Giants off the board for the first five frames of his six-inning outing. He ended up with the loss after issuing a bases-loaded walk to Aubrey Huff followed by a run- scoring forceout off the bat of Joaquin Arias in the sixth.
"He did a nice job. Once again, we just couldn't muster anything against the starting pitcher again," said Chicago manager Dale Sveum. "Same old thing. It's just unbelievable how we have a hard time scoring against starting pitchers."
The Cubs had just five hits, allowing the Giants to win for the fifth time in six games.
The Cubs won five of nine versus the Giants a season ago, winning the only series played in San Francisco.
06/03 10:37:23 ET