Cubs notebook: Kerry Wood still struggling

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

If the Cubs make the playoffs this year, it would be fitting to have Kerry Wood — who pitched in the 1998 and 2003 postseasons — around.

However, the reliever is struggling, and his chances of making the postseason roster would be slim if he can’t get back on track. Wood didn’t retire a batter in allowing three runs in Sunday’s 10-5 loss to Pittsburgh at PNC Park. He went into the game in the bottom of the eighth with the Pirates ahead 7-5.

In two of his last three appearances, Wood has allowed a total of five runs in one inning. His season ERA stands at 5.52.

Wood, who spent most of the season on the disabled list because of a shoulder injury, said health is not an issue.

“I actually feel great,” Wood said. “I threw well in the ’pen and felt great. I just didn’t throw strikes. For me to come in and do that obviously hinders our efforts.”

On the road at home?

The Cubs face St. Louis at Wrigley Field today in a road game.

Technically, that’s not true. It’s still a home game, and the Cubs will bat last. But it could have the feel of road game because, for a day, it interrupts what otherwise would be a 10-game road trip.

The Cubs, who played in Pittsburgh over the weekend, are in town for today’s 2:20 contest, then are back on the road for three games at Houston and four in St. Louis.

“It’s almost an extension to the road trip is what it amounts to,” manager Lou Piniella said. “But what can you do? You have to play it. It’s on the schedule. It’s a makeup game. No sense complaining about it.

“It’s just as tough on St. Louis — maybe tougher. They’re coming in from Arizona.”

It’s an important game because the Cardinals, Cubs and Milwaukee are bunched together near the top of the National League Central. The Cubs and Cards were originally scheduled to have today off, but their game scheduled for Aug. 19 was postponed because of rain.

This is the first time the Cubs are having a road trip interrupted with a one-game “homestand” since April 13-19, 1990, when they were in Pittsburgh for three, came back to Chicago for one against the New York Mets and headed to New York for three games against the Mets at Shea Stadium. Games were made up that year because of a work stoppage early in the season.

The last time the Cubs had a three-city-in-three-day stretch was Sept. 18-20, 2004. They finished a series in Cincinnati on the 18th, played a makeup doubleheader (because of Hurricane Frances) in Miami against the Florida Marlins the following day, then headed to Pittsburgh on the 20th to open a three-game set.

Rotation still pending

Piniella thought about giving Carlos Zambrano an extra day of rest during this turn in the rotation and considered using rookie Kevin Hart to start Thursday at Houston.

Sunday, the manager seemed to be leaning toward having Zambrano pitch Thursday against the

Astros and having Steve Trachsel start Friday at St. Louis. That is until Trachsel pitched just two innings in Sunday’s loss.

“I’ll have to figure it out over dinner and wine,” Piniella said. “I don’t know what we’re going to do right now.”

Zambrano (15-10), who allowed one run in six innings in a 5-1 victory Saturday over the Pirates, worked out Sunday, then traveled to Chicago in the afternoon to take care of a personal matter.

Aches and pains

Piniella considered starting Daryle Ward in right field Sunday, but Ward had fluid in his right knee.

He was to have the knee drained today in Chicago.

Infielder Mark DeRosa suffered a left wrist injury when he was hit by a pitch Saturday, but he played Sunday.