Chicago (72-60) at Washington (56-76)

Light Rain Currently: Montreal, QC
Temp: 66° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Wed Sep 1, 2004
  • TV: CLTV
Preview | Box Score | Recap

For the Chicago Cubs to remain near the top of the NL wild-card race, Kerry Wood knows he can’t afford to pitch the way he did Friday.

Wood will try to rebound from one of his worst starts of the season when the Cubs meet the Montreal Expos in the finale of a three-game series at Olympic Stadium.

The 27-year-old right-hander lasted just 4 1-3 innings, allowing eight runs and nine hits, in a 15-7 loss to the Houston Astros. He also surrendered four home runs.

“It was just a bad day,” Wood said. “Most of those balls would have got out (even) if the wind was blowing in. The ball was up and they were whacking it.”

The Cubs, who have lost four of their last five, are tied with the San Francisco Giants atop the NL wild-card standings—a half-game ahead of the San Diego Padres.

To stay in that position, the Cubs will look to provide more offense than they did in an 8-0 loss to the Expos on Tuesday. Chicago managed just four hits.

The Cubs hope newly acquired outfielder Ben Grieve can provide a boost to the lineup. Chicago traded a minor league player to be named and cash to the Milwaukee Brewers for Grieve, who recently returned to full strength after a nagging calf injury cut into his playing time in right field.

Grieve hit .261 with seven home runs and 29 RBIs in 108 games for Milwaukee. He was 9-for-37 (.243) as a pinch-hitter, which will be his role with the Cubs.

“We just felt it was the right time to try do something, and it also covers us if we’re close enough to make the playoffs that we might have some alternatives now that we didn’t have before today,” Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said.

Grieve said he doesn’t mind his role as a bench player.

“I probably will be doing the same thing I was doing (in Milwaukee): maybe coming in late in the game and pinch-hitting off a right-handed pitcher,” he said.

With Tuesday’s win, the Expos improved to 4-5 on a 13-game homestand. Livan Hernandez allowed three hits over eight scoreless innings, and Brad Wilkerson and Maicer Izturis both homered to help the Expos snap a three-game losing streak.

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Starting Pitchers

K. Wood ChC vs. T. Armas Atl
8-9 Record 2-4
3.72 ERA 4.88
144 K 54
51 BB 45
1.27 WHIP 1.54