The Cubs' offense has been cold in June. You don't have to tell Travis Wood.
The southpaw hasn't been backed by much run support this season, as evidenced by his 5-6 record, a mark unreflective of his 2.74 ERA or his sterling 6.3 hits allowed per nine innings.
Bud Norris has faced a similar hurdle in Houston. The right-hander, who sits at 5-7 with a 3.64 ERA, has fashioned a 2.77 ERA over his last six outings, but has just a 1-3 mark to show for it.
The two hurlers will meet at Wrigley Field on Saturday in what the statistics would suggest will be a pitchers' duel. Cubs skipper Dale Sveum hopes his club's bats bust out of their slumber.
"What it comes down to is a failure factor," Sveum said. "[Some players are] worried about failing instead of worrying about succeeding, and you can't do anything in any walk of life in that mindset."
Wood has taken the loss in each of his last three starts, despite yielding only six earned runs over 20 innings.
"It's been tough to score runs all year," Sveum said. "Travis has been our best pitcher, day in and day out, every fifth day. He consistently throws six, seven innings and gives up two, three runs, if not one."
Norris has suffered the same fate for the Astros. Routinely left with little margin for error, the 28-year-old ran into trouble in the sixth inning of his start on Monday and exited with his third straight loss.
"I was in a groove and obviously the sixth inning was very frustrating," Norris said. "… I felt I let a couple of balls really go through that that inning, and that's how it goes sometimes."
Astros: Krauss gets the call
Houston called up outfielder/first baseman Marc Krauss on Friday to take the roster spot of outfielder Trevor Crowe, who landed on the disabled list a day earlier.
Kraus was hitting .277 with nine home runs for Triple-A Oklahoma City.
"He's done a tremendous job," Astros manager Bo Porter said.
Krauss struck out in a pinch-hit appearance on Friday.
Cubs: Chicago parts ways with Lillibridge
Chicago sent infielder Brent Lillibridge to the Yankees on Friday for a player to be named or cash considerations. The 29-year-old started the season with the Cubs, but notched only one hit in 24 at-bats before being sent to Triple-A Iowa. There, he batted .281 in 48 games.
• Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro snapped an 0-for-15 skid with an eighth-inning double on Friday.
• Houston's Chris Carter logged his third multihit game in his last five contests on Friday.