Jeff Samardzija is the nominal ace of the Cubs pitching staff.
But lefty Travis Wood has drawn some pretty tough opposing cards.
Last week at Wrigley Field, Wood went up against Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals. Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, the opponent was the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, who went into the game leading the major leagues with a 1.72 ERA.
Wood more than held his own in the early going, and Cubs batters chased Kershaw in the sixth inning, when they scored a run to take a 2-0 lead.
The Cubs held on and beat the Dodgers 3-2.
Kershaw (13-8) led the National League in quality starts with 23, and had a WHIP of 0.86 coming into the game.
Wood has hardly been a slouch. He is 8-10 with a 3.22 ERA. His 20 quality starts were tied for fourth in the NL, and his WHIP was a tidy 1.11.
Wood allowed 1 unearned run and 5 hits in seven innings. He struck out six and walked two for his first victory since July 28 at San Francisco.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum had one plan of attack against Kershaw and a right-handed-hitting lineup.
"You got to be aggressive," Sveum told reporters before the game. "He's going to be aggressive to you. You got to be aggressive to him. He doesn't walk people. He doesn't get behind. He wants to be aggressive, so you got to be aggressive."
The right-handed-hitting lineup meant that Anthony Rizzo, who had just moved back to the No. 3 spot of the order from the second spot the night before, was out of Tuesday's lineup altogether.
"It's just a good day," Sveum said. "He's swinging the bat much better now. I want to give him a few days off here and there, and this was a good one to give him off."
Rizzo, who didn't like batting second, was OK with not facing Kershaw.
"He's the best in the game," Rizzo told the media. "It'd be kind of fun to face him. It's a good day to take off."
Fall League lineup:
The Cubs will send eight players to the Arizona Fall League in October, and they're sending their best.
The last three first-round picks -- third baseman Kris Bryant, center fielder Albert Almora and shortstop Javier Baez -- will play for the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL as will outfielder Jorge Soler, last year's big signee out of Cuba.
The Cubs also will send pitchers Dallas Beeler, Matt Loosen, Armando Rivera and Arodys Vizcaino.
"Each one individually made a lot of sense," general manager Jed Hoyer told reporters at Dodger Stadium. "It should be a really good roster we send. Individually, it all helps their development."
Almora and Soler have missed significant time this year with injuries, so they will get some needed at-bats. Almora's season with the Kane County Cougars was cut short at the beginning and end by hand and groin injuries. Soler has missed much of the season at Class A Daytona with a stress fracture in his left tibia. Beeler suffered a finger injury at Class AA Tennessee, and Vizcaino has been on the major-league 60-day disabled list all season.
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