HOW IT HAPPENED: Give it up for Cubs starter Travis Wood, who was actually locked in a pitchers’ duel with the Tigers’ Justin Verlander until the seventh inning. The Tigers took the lead on an infield single, a sacrifice bunt from Verlander and an RBI single from Jackson before Wood was removed. The Cubs got to Verlander for two runs in the second inning on an RBI double from Darwin Barney and a run-scoring ground out from Luis Valbuena, who was just recalled earlier in the day.
WHAT IT MEANS: Outside of Ryan Dempster, Wood has been the Cubs’ most consistent starter this month. He has yet to give up more than three runs in any of his starts in June, although he has walked seven in 18 2/3 innings. Wood has also handled himself nicely at the plate with a number of solid at-bats. He had a line drive to short and a single against Verlander, but was thrown out trying to extend the single to a double.
OUTSIDE THE BOX: Make that a 105-124 record for the Cubs since the start of interleague play in 1997. They are just 2-7 against the American League this season with three games against the Red Sox this weekend and three games at the White Sox next week. They were 5-10 against the AL last year. The Cubs will need to sweep all six of those games to have their first winning season since going 8-4 against the AL in 2007.
OFF BEAT: Yes, there were a lot of fans in attendance at Wrigley Field this week and indeed many of them were Tigers fans. The three-game series drew a total crowd of 124,782, the largest midweek attendance in Wrigley Field history. The largest crowd of the season so far was the 42,326 in attendance Tuesday night. Many Tigers took the opportunity to see the series that was such a short distance from the Detroit area with Thursday’s crowd sounding like it was equally split between the teams.
UP NEXT: The Cubs will open a three-game series Friday against the Boston Red Sox with Ryan Dempster (2-3, 2.31 ERA) moving up a day to stay on a five-day schedule. The Red Sox will counter with right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-1, 7.20) in the 1:20 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.