Cubs Look To Sweep BoSox

Can Travis Wood lead the Chicago Cubs to victory over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night?

Can Travis Wood lead the Chicago Cubs to victory over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night?

The Chicago Cubs will look to record a rare sweep as they meet the Boston Red Sox in a nationally televised interleague matchup on Wednesday.

First pitch at Fenway Park in Boston is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.

20140701_NL_CentralChicago (36-46, 17-16 road) enters Wednesday’s game having won six of its last eight road games, including both games this series.

In Monday’s series opener, Cubs pitcher Jake Arietta was four outs shy of a no-hitter while the road side took a 2-0 victory.

On Tuesday, the Chi town club left it late but Luis Valbuena’s sacrifice fly in the ninth inning broke a 1-1 tie to give the Cubs a late victory, leaving the Red Sox to once more ponder their lack of offense.

Now Rick Renteria’s side will look to make it three wins on the bounce as they go for the sweep.

20140701_AL_EastBoston (38-46, 20-21 home) meanwhile will look to rain on the Cubs’ parade and earn a valuable win.

For a while it looked like the Red Sox – currently fourth in the AL East, eight games back of the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays in the win column – had turned the corner and would once more be a contender. But a rough road trip has left the club with plenty of questions to answer.

Prior to this series, the Red Sox had won 10 of their last 12 games at Fenway Park. Manager John Farrell will hope his side can return to that kind of form, starting with Wednesday’s game against the Cubs.

While the matchup itself might not be the sort of stuff prime time television longs for, there’s plenty of similarities between the two clubs that makes this an intriguing encounter.

While many are ready to write the Cubs and BoSox off already, both teams are still within touching distance of the wild card race in their respective leagues. Boston is eight games back of the second wild card berth in the American League while the Cubs are just 8 1/2 back in the race for the National League berths. With about 80 games left on the docket, neither gap is insurmountable.

Of course, nobody expects the Cubs to contend – something Boston’s David Ortiz puts down to the club’s erratic, day game-heavy schedule – and with the trade deadline on the horizon, that’s likely the case. But baseball likes to throw up unthinkable storylines and with an impressive road record of late, could it be the Cubs that begin to make headlines?

As they try to secure a third straight win, the Cubs will send Travis Wood (7-6, 4.52 ERA) to the mound on Wednesday.

Wood’s numbers may not look impressive but he’s actually had a fairly good season, particularly with the handicap of playing for the Cubs. Over his last 11 starts he’s recorded a 6-3 record. Two of those three losses have been nasty, otherwise the 27-year-old left-hander has been worth his salary.

Wood has won his last two road starts.

Boston will counter with Brandon Workman (1-1, 3.27 ERA), starting his second game since serving a suspension for throwing a pitch near the head of Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays at the end of May.

Workman allowed four earned runs off seven hits against the New York Yankees in his return last Friday. In six starts this season, the 25-year-old right-hander has posted a 3.60 ERA, allowing a total of 14 earned runs while striking out 26 batters.

David Ortiz blames Chicago's day game-heavy schedule for the club's continued failure.

David Ortiz blames Chicago’s day game-heavy schedule for the club’s continued failure.

Chicago Cubs at Boston Red Sox odds for 07/02/2014

Boston (-144) opened as the favorite over Chicago (+134) on the moneyline. At the time of publication, the Sox were sitting at-165 with some sportsbooks, while the Cubs were at +150.

Prior to this series, the Red Sox had won six of the last eight head-to-head meetings. The Cubs have shown what they think of that record this week though.

The over/under opened at 9 and remains there.

Both meetings in this series saw the total go under. The total has now gone under in Boston’s last five home games, as well as five of the last six head-to-head meetings between the two teams.

The Red Sox haven’t allowed more than three runs in 14 straight games at Fenway Park, which makes the over look unlikely.

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Following Wednesday’s series finale, Chicago will travel south to D.C. to take on the Washington Nationals in a three-game weekend set, before heading to Cincinnati for a five-game series next week.

The homestand continues for Boston as the club welcomes the Baltimore Orioles (Fri-Sun) and Chicago White Sox (Mon-Thu) over the next seven days.

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