Cubs plan to rest Wood on Monday

Cubs plan to rest Wood on Monday

Kerry Wood won't be pitching Monday, whether he likes it or not. That's good news for the Pirates.

The Cubs' new closer got his third save, and second in consecutive days, in the Cubs' 3-2 win over the Astros on Sunday. He looked dominant against the meat of the Houston order. Wood got Darin Erstad and Carlos Lee to ground out, and punched out Miguel Tejada on a nasty slider.

But Cubs manager Lou Piniella said he'd go with Carlos Marmol if the situation called for it Monday, to give Wood two days of rest with Tuesday's off-day.

"We're just trying to be a little prudent," Piniella said.

Wood, now 3-for-3 in save opportunities after giving up three runs in a tie game on Opening Day, said he's ready to go again, but he recognizes Piniella's reticence.

"If it's a save situation tomorrow, I feel like I could work it," he said. "But I understand it's early and they don't want to work me too many days in a row."

Wood is beginning to adjust to his new role. He said he sits in the clubhouse, like most closers, during the early action, but he finds watching "nerve-wracking."

"I'm trying to get a routine and stick with it," he said.

He was even-keeled after the game Sunday, speaking softly and calmly. But inside, he was still churning.

"It's hard to come down after a game," he said. "It's a good three hours before I can come down, but it's fun. It's a fun ride."

The Pirates are coming off a 9-2 win over Florida and open their home schedule at 3-3.

"They're scrappers," Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee said. "We can't let down."

Piniella said he's looking forward to seeing his team bond on the road and get some rest in the daytime with an off-day followed by four night games in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

"We've won three of four, and hopefully we'll go on this road trip and continue to play good," he said.

Pitching matchup
CHC: LHP Ted Lilly (0-1, 7.71 ERA)
Lilly didn't make it out of the fifth in his first start. The veteran left-hander gave up four runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings against Milwaukee on April 2. Lilly was 1-0 with a 3.20 ERA in three starts against the Pirates last season. Lilly, 15-8 last year, was 6-3 with a 3.76 ERA in 15 road starts, winning once in two starts at PNC Park.

PIT: LHP Tom Gorzelanny (0-1, 4.50 ERA)
Gorzelanny, one of the Pirates' two young ace starters, along with Ian Snell, was 1-2 with a 3.66 ERA in three starts against the Cubs last season. A native of Chicago's south suburbs, Gorzelanny was 6-5 at home last season, compared to 8-5 on the road. He lost his first road start of 2008, giving up three runs in six innings in a 10-2 loss to Atlanta. The Cubs, a primarily right-handed team, have faced six straight right-handers to start the season.

Tidbits
Alfonso Soriano, who homered Sunday, said before the game he wasn't worried about entering the day with a 1-for-22 start. "I feel comfortable at the plate," he said. "I just have to keep it simple, man. It's only five games. I need to be more selective at the plate -- be aggressive and be selective." ... The Cubs scored in the second inning Sunday on a Carlos Zambrano double-play ball, marking the first time this year they scored first in a game. ... Through the first five games, the Cubs were hitting .322 from the seventh inning on, and just .220 through the first six innings. ... Soriano's outfield assist Sunday was his first of the season.

Tickets
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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• WGN

On radio
• WGN 720

Up next
• Tuesday: Off-day
• Wednesday: Cubs (Ryan Dempster, 1-0, 1.50) at Pirates (Zach Duke, 0-0, 3.18), 6:05 p.m. CT
• Thursday: Cubs (Rich Hill, 0-0, 3.00) at Pirates (Matt Morris, 0-0, 5.40), 6:05 p.m. CT

Jon Greenberg is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.