After becoming the fastest pitcher to record his 1,000th strikeout, Kerry Wood looks to help the Chicago Cubs stay in first place in the NL Central as they continue a three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field.
On Monday, Wood gave up two earned runs and seven hits in seven innings of a 3-1 loss to the Houston Astros.
The 26-year-old right-hander also struck out nine batters, reaching the 1,000-strikeout plateau in his 134th career game and in his 853rd inning. He reached the milestone quicker than previous record-holders Roger Clemens (143 games) and Hideo Nomo (927 2-3 innings).
“It’s an awesome milestone, especially since he’s so young and he missed a year (in 1999 because of elbow surgery),” manager Dusty Baker said. “I’m sure he’d trade it for another victory.”
However, Wood was most concerned with the loss.
“The curtain call will come later,” Wood said. “We lost an important game. I got outpitched today. (The 1,000 strikeouts) means nothing. We’re chasing a pennant.”
The right-hander has lost three of his last four decisions, with a 5.68 ERA during that stretch.
Before those four starts, however, he won six of eight decisions, including three complete-game victories.
Wood will be facing the Dodgers’ Odalis Perez, who is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two starts this month. His last outing against Chicago came on April 26, 2002, when he pitched a one-hitter in a 10-0 win.
On Friday, the Cubs beat the Dodgers 2-1 for their fourth straight win. The Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals both lost, giving the Cubs a half-game lead in the Central.
“This is our time,” said slugger Sammy Sosa, who had had three hits and drove in two runs. “This is our chance to win the division.”
Los Angeles is five games behind Philadelphia in the wild-card race.
STANDINGS: Dodgers - 3rd place, 11 1/2 GB, NL West. Cubs - 1st place, NL Central.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Perez (8-9, 4.40 ERA). Perez gave up two earned runs and seven hits in eight innings of the a 9-3 win Monday over the Florida Marlins—his fourth victory in six decisions. In two career starts against the Cubs, he is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA.
CUBS PROBABLE STARTER: Wood (11-9, 3.40 ERA). In five career starts against the Dodgers, he is 2-2 with a 5.33 ERA—his second highest ERA against any NL team.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Dodgers - Paul Lo Duca, .291 avg.; Jeromy Burnitz, 24 HRs and 59 RBIs; Shawn Green, 61 runs; Dave Roberts, 30 SBs. Cubs - Mark Grudzielanek, .305 avg.; Sosa, 28 HRs and 78 RBIs; Kenny Lofton, 74 runs and 24 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Cubs, 2-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Dodgers - RHP Eric Gagne, who has converted a major league-record 40 straight saves since the start of the season, has not given up a run in to 20 innings, the longest stretch by a Dodger pitcher this season. … 3B Adrian Beltre has driven in at least one run in seven of his last 11 starts, a total of 14 RBIs. … LHP Perez is 4-6 with a 5.04 ERA in 15 road starts this season. Cubs - The Cubs recalled OF David Kelton from Triple-A Iowa before Friday’s game. … RHP Andy Ashby did travel with the Dodgers to Chicago on Thursday night because of the flu. He is expected to join the team Saturday. … The Cubs are just 4-11 against left-handers at home.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Dodgers - 28-33 on the road; Cubs - 32-30 at home.
INJURIES: Dodgers - C Todd Hundley (back), 15-day DL; 1B Fred McGriff (abductor muscle), 15-day DL; OF Brian Jordan (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Troy Brohawn (rotator cuff), 15-day DL; LHP Kazuhisa Ishii (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Darren Dreifort (knee), 60-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL. Cubs - 2B Mark Grudzielanek (hand), 15-day DL; OF Tom Goodwin (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF Corey Patterson (knee), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Chiasson (elbow), 60-day DL; LHP Will Ohman (elbow), 60-day DL.