10/15/2003 1:51 AM ET
Cubs' hopes in Wood's hand
Redman gets the call in Game 7
CHICAGO -- Kerry Wood has pitched big games before this season. He's got one more on tap Wednesday night.
Wood will start Game 7 of the National League Championship Series for the Chicago Cubs against the Florida Marlins. Florida forced a decisive game with an 8-3 come-from-behind victory Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. The best-of-seven series is now tied at three wins apiece.
Wood, 26, started Game 3 of the NLCS but did not get a decision. He gave up three runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings and left the game trailing 3-2. But the Cubs rallied to win, 5-4, on pinch-hitter Doug Glanville's 11th-inning RBI triple.
Which means the Marlins now are 1-1 in the NLCS against the Cubs' powerful tandem of Wood and Mark Prior.
"We don't mind being underdogs at all," Florida manager Jack McKeon said. "I don't want to belittle the Cubs because I think they're a heck of a ballclub, really. But some of you guys here wrote like we shouldn't have even showed up [for the series]. Couldn't beat Prior, couldn't beat Wood, couldn't beat anybody.
"And we may not beat them," McKeon said, "but we're going to battle them and give them their money's worth and make them earn it."
Wood was the winning pitcher in Games 1 and 5 of the NL Division Series against Atlanta, combining to strike out 18 in the two games.
"We've been in this situation before," Prior said. "There's nobody else we want out there."
Before Tuesday's game, Cubs manager Dusty Baker said Wood would likely start Game 1 of the World Series if the team clinched the NL pennant that night. Instead, Wood has one more test. He declined to talk Tuesday night after the Cubs' loss. He'll do his talking on the mound.
"We have Kerry Wood going and it's going to be tough to beat those guys," Baker said of the Marlins. "I still like our chances very much. We're at home tomorrow, Game 7. I think they beat us two out of three here and we beat them two out of three there so we're back to even. We've just got to go out and play and play better ball tomorrow."
The Major League strikeout leader with 266 K's, Wood was 14-11 with a 3.20 ERA in the regular season.
"My old high-school coach told me to be the best you have to beat the best," Florida's Mike Mordecai said. "And a lot of people are saying those two pitchers [Wood and Prior] are two of the best pitchers in baseball. And I thought, if you want to be the best, you've got to beat the best."
Wood will need his teammates behind him for 27 outs.
"It was 3-0 in the eighth [Tuesday] and Mark Prior was pitching and pitching well and I think everybody in the stadium thought it was over," Cubs reliever Mike Remlinger said. "For us, it's a perfect example of you have to keep going and get every out and get the last out and then be excited."
The Cubs have been tested all season. They've survived corked bats, collisions, suspensions, injuries. It seems only fitting the NLCS will go seven games.
"Everybody said coming in we knew we were going to play seven," Remlinger said. "This has been up, down, inside out for a week now. I think it's great for baseball. I think tomorrow it'll be nothing that you've ever seen before.
"When we end up looking back, you can't assume when you have a 3-1 advantage that you're going to walk over and win," Remlinger said. "[Wednesday] will be a nail-biter down to the wire and I think we'll make sure we can get the last out."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com