Kerry Wood has been one of the hottest pitchers in the majors over the past month. Lately, he’s been nearly unhittable.
Wood yielded a combined one run and five hits over two straight complete games against the Florida Marlins, including Saturday’s 1-0 victory.
After striking out 12 and walking three in a 5-1 win over the Marlins on July 9, the 26-year-old All-Star fired a two-hitter at the Marlins on Saturday. He struck out eight and walked five in his third complete game of the season and first shutout since May 7, 2002, against St. Louis.
“I was running on fumes but like I’ve said a million times before, we start a game, we want to finish it,” said Wood, who leads the majors with 164 strikeouts. “In (a tight game), I felt that it was my game to lose.”
Wood’s last two starts are the culmination of a strong month-long stretch. He is 5-1 with a 2.40 ERA over his last six starts, striking out 45 and walking 21 over 45 innings.
The Cubs have lost two straight and were shut out for the second time since the All-Star break with Wednesday’s 3-0 loss to the Phillies.
Thome is hitting .351 (13-for-37) over his last nine games, with three homers and nine RBIs.
STANDINGS: Phillies - 2nd place, 9 1/2 GB, NL East. Cubs - 3rd place, 5 1/2 GB, NL Central.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Vicente Padilla (8-8, 3.71 ERA). Padilla is 3-1 with a 3.09 ERA over his last five starts. The 25-year-old right-hander allowed three runs and six hits over eight innings of Philadelphia’s 4-3, 11-inning win over Montreal on Saturday, walking three and striking out two. Padilla is 2-3 with a 4.25 ERA in 12 career appearances against the Cubs, including three starts.
CUBS PROBABLE STARTER: Wood (10-6, 2.98 ERA). Wood is 2-0 with a 2.76 ERA in four career starts against the Phillies.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .314 avg.; Thome, 26 HRs, 74 RBIs and 67 runs; Bobby Abreu and Jimmy Rollins, 11 SBs. Cubs - Mark Grudzielanek, .311 avg.; Sammy Sosa, 20 HRs and 57 runs; Moises Alou, 62 RBIs; Tom Goodwin, 19 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Phillies, 4-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Phillies - The Phillies made three errors Wednesday and have committed 14 in their last 17 games. … Philadelphia has won eight of its last 10 series. … The Phillies’ 3.52 team ERA in the second best in the majors behind Los Angeles’ 3.10 mark. Cubs - OF Sosa is hitting .358 (24-for-67) over his last 15 games with nine homers and 21 RBIs. … 3B Ramirez, who led the Pirates with 23 errors, committed his 24th error of the season Wednesday, which easily leads the Cubs. SS Alex Gonzalez is next with eight. … 1B Eric Karros needs one RBI for 1,000 for his career.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Phillies - 27-20 on the road; Cubs - 24-26 at home.
INJURIES: Phillies - INF David Bell (back), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 15-day DL. Cubs - RHP Mark Prior (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Chiasson (elbow), 60-day DL; LHP Will Ohman (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Corey Patterson (knee), 60-day DL.