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Riggleman Hopes to Have Wood Ready for Start in Game 3

October 01, 1998|JASON REID

The Cubs are optimistic that right-hander Kerry Wood will start Game 3 at Wrigley Field on Saturday.

The sensational rookie has been sidelined since Aug. 31 because of a strained ligament in his throwing elbow. Wood said he did not experience discomfort after throwing 51 pitches in an instructional league game Monday.

"The best way to word this would be to say that he is a strong possibility to be the third-game starter," Chicago Manager Jim Riggleman said. "Things have progressed quite well with him, but it's still a situation where you have to be careful with your decision."

Wood is expected to be selected the National League rookie of the year after going 13-6 with a 3.40 earned-run average, and striking out 233 in 166 2/3 innings. He was 1-0 with a 2.18 ERA in three starts against the Braves--all Chicago victories.


Atlanta first baseman Andres Galarraga, among the game's top power hitters, said he's in awe of what Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa have accomplished.

Although McGwire finished with four more homers than Sosa, Galarraga said Sosa should be the MVP.

"McGwire had 70 home runs, and that's a lot, but Sammy had a lot also [66], and Sammy had all the pressure on him to get the Cubs to the playoffs," Galarraga said. "Sammy had to do everything to help his team, and he still hit many home runs.

"I just hope that the fans remember Sammy a long time from now. Everybody will remember McGwire because he was the first one to break [Roger Maris' record of 61 homers], but Sammy should be remembered."

Today's Pitchers

BRAVES' TOM GLAVINE (20-6, 2.47 ERA) vs. CUBS' KEVIN TAPANI (19-9, 4.85 ERA)

Site--Atlanta's Turner Field

Time--5 PDT. TV--Channel 11

* Update--This is seemingly a must-win game for the Cubs because the Braves defeated their previous three division series opponents after taking 2-0 leads. And typically against the Braves, the Cubs face another formidable starting pitcher in Glavine--the NL's only 20-game winner. Glavine was among the league's hottest pitchers down the stretch, going 8-2 with a 1.98 ERA in his last 14 starts. He was even better on the road, going 12-2 with a 1.78 ERA. Those statistics might help Glavine, who has won at least 20 games four times in the decade, win his second Cy Young Award. Tapani is the Cubs' ace. He led Chicago in victories, but had a high ERA for a No. 1 starter on a playoff contender. Tapani was 2-1 against the Braves in three starts during the regular season. "Obviously, this is a very important game for us," Tapani said. "I think I understand that."

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