Results tagged ‘ Travis Wood ’
It’s not a good sign when the players with the most RBIs for the month are the pitchers. So far, Cubs pitchers have combined for 13 RBIs in May, and were batting .316 (12-for-38) with two home runs for the month. Outfielder Alfonso Soriano also has driven in 13 runs in May with three home runs.
Among the rest of the Cubs’ batters this month, Anthony Rizzo and Nate Schierholtz each have 10 RBIs in May, Starlin Castro has nine, David DeJesus has eight, catchers Welington Castillo and Dioner Navarro have three each, and the third base combo of Luis Valbuena and Cody Ransom three total.
In 2011, Cubs pitchers collected five RBIs for the season. Last year, they drove in 11. These pitchers take hitting seriously.
Here’s the pitcher-by-pitcher breakdown and their performance with runners in scoring position. The team is batting .218 with RISP; the pitchers are batting .286 (8-for-28):
Matt Garza 1-for-1 RISP, 2 RBIs
Scott Feldman 3-for-9 RISP, 4 RBIs
Edwin Jackson 1-for-2 RISP, 2 RBIs
Jeff Samardzija 1-for-5 RISP, 2 RBI, 1 HR
Travis Wood 2-for-4 RISP, 3 RBI, 1 HR
Carlos Villanueva 0-for-7 RISP, 0 RBI
– Carrie Muskat
Travis Wood and Hippo Vaughn now have something in common, even if they’re not very familiar with each other. Wood posted his eighth consecutive quality start and hit an RBI double, one of six by the team, while Alfonso Soriano belted a two-run homer, and Starlin Castro, Nate Schierholtz and David DeJesus all drove in a pair to lift the Cubs to a 9-1 victory Monday night against the Rockies.
Wood is the first Cubs left-hander to open the season with eight quality starts since Vaughn did so in 1919. Wood admitted he had never heard of Vaughn. That’s OK. This was the 23rd quality start by a Chicago pitcher this season, and while they have a combined 1.90 ERA in those games, the team has won only nine. Wood held the Rockies to two hits and walked three over seven innings.
“That was against a lineup that crushes left-handed pitching,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of the Rockies, who entered the game batting .277 against southpaw pitchers. “To throw like that against those guys, the way they hit against left-handed pitching, was very, very impressive.”
Wood struggled in spring 2012 and began last season at Triple-A Iowa. He’s a different pitcher now.
“What he’s done since Spring Training of last year is pretty impressive,” Sveum said.
On Monday, the lefty was able to pitch to both sides of the plate and had impressive command of his cutter.
“He’s doing a lot of this without secondary pitches,” Sveum said. “It’s not like he’s throwing a lot of curveballs or changeups. He’s mixing in those pitches and using them when he has to against people who are vulnerable and able to use both sides of the plate and be aggressive and not walk people and help out with his bat, too.”
Basically, Wood has learned how to pitch.
“When they sent me down after spring last year,” Wood said, “I just got some work in on what they thought I needed and what I thought I needed and I was fortunate enough to be able to get those things ironed out and so far so good. I’ve been rolling from last year.”
Wood has a scraggly beard that he isn’t going to trim any time soon.
“I’m not really sure what I’m doing with it right now,” he said of his facial hair. “It just started, and I didn’t intend to let it keep going but it’s kind of hard to cut it right now.”
“I think he’s going to keep it,” catcher Welington Castillo said.
The Cubs have talked about how Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro are part of the young core they want to build around, and have signed both to long-term deals. What about Wood?
“I would love to be here for a long time with the Cubs but that’s out of my hands,” Wood said. “I’m not really thinking about that right now at all. We’ve got to go out and win tomorrow, and I’ve got four more days to get ready for my next start and hopefully we can keep going on.”
– Carrie Muskat
Luis Valbuena is still sidelined with a sprained right pinky finger, so Cody Ransom gets the start on Monday in the Cubs’ series opener against the Rockies. Travis Wood takes the mound. He has posted a quality start in each of his seven games this year. Here’s the lineup:
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* Kevin Gregg notched his 150th career save, making him the 75th pitcher in Major League history to collect at least 150 career saves. He is 6-for-6 in save situations this season.
Travis Wood takes the mound on Tuesday to open the Cubs’ brief two-game series against the Cardinals. This will be Wood’s seventh start of the season. He took the loss in his last outing against the Padres despite posting his sixth straight quality start.
Wood is the first Cubs left-hander in 65 years to begin the season with six-straight quality starts since lefty Johnny Schmitz recorded quality starts in his first seven outings to commence the 1948 campaign. Mark Prior is the last Cubs right-hander to begin a season with seven-straight quality starts, a feat he accomplished in 2003.
Wood’s six quality starts are tied for the Major League lead with nine others, including three other NL hurlers: Arizona’s Patrick Corbin, Cincinnati’s Mat Latos and St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright.
Here’s the Cubs lineup against St. Louis right-hander Lance Lynn (5-0, 2.75 ERA):
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* Travis Wood now has opened the season with six quality starts. In 17 quality starts this year, Cubs pitchers have a 2.08 ERA and only six wins. Only four NL teams have more quality starts than the Cubs.
* Scott Hairston hit a two-run home run. Three of his four hits this season have been home runs, and all three have come off left-handed pitchers.
* Carlos Marmol has made 10 straight scoreless appearances dating to April 8 against Milwaukee. However, in his last five appearances, Marmol has either given up a hit, a walk, or hit a batter.
* With Thursday’s 4-2 loss, 23 of the Cubs’ 28 games have been decided by three runs or less, and the team is 9-14 in those games. More than half of the 17 losses (10) have been by two runs or less.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs’ defense was stellar Thursday through seven innings but a brain cramp by catcher Welington Castillo and misplayed fly ball hurt Travis Wood. The Padres scored four runs in the eighth, including the tying run on a passed ball by Castillo, to rally for a 4-2 victory against the Cubs and Wood, who deserved better.
Jesus Guzman singled to lead off the Padres eighth, Kyle Blanks walked, and two outs later, pinch-hitter Yonder Alonso delivered a bloop RBI single that fell between Julio Borbon and Darwin Barney in shallow right field. The wind made it a tough play for Borbon, relatively new to Wrigley Field’s quirkiness.
“When I realized I could’ve caught it, I started calling [Barney] off and I don’t think he — I talked to him about it and he said he didn’t see it until the last minute and that’s why he didn’t get out of the way,” Borbon said. “I was running in hard saw him out of the corner of my eye.”
Borbon said it was a ball he should’ve caught.
“That extra second of maybe Barney recognizing it and calling me off, or me getting out of the way — I felt the speed I was going in at, I would’ve been able to catch it if I hadn’t seen him at the last second,” Borbon said. “He said if he had picked up the ball a tenth of a second earlier, he would’ve been able to call me off and I’m veering off to the side. I looked at the replay, and as I’m approaching him, he had to literally dive away to get out of the way.”
The two did avoid a collision but nobody caught the ball. Wood then exited, and Shawn Camp’s offering got away from Castillo during Chris Denorfia’s at-bat. The catcher didn’t seem aware Blanks was headed home from third as he collected the ball behind home plate. Blanks scored the tying run.
“I think [Castillo] thought [Blanks] was running and was just going to walk home and he took it for granted,” Dale Sveum said. “[Blanks] didn’t take off and ‘Welly’ took it for granted he was going to walk home and was going automatically, and obviously didn’t go after the ball.”
Blanks hesitated because he thought the ball had kicked back to Castillo off the brick wall.
“As soon as he kind of tailed after it, I just took off,” Blanks said. “I figured he’s taking his time, it’s as good a time as any to at least make an attempt. But the kick, I thought it was coming back to him, then as soon as it got away, I just took off.”
Camp walked Denorfia, and James Russell entered. Everth Cabrera greeted him with a go-ahead RBI single to take a 3-2 lead. Chase Headley followed with another RBI single that rolled just past Barney at second base.
Castillo shouldered the blame for the mental mistake.
“I want to apologize to my teammates,” Castillo said. “I feel like I lost the game. I’m the one who has to keep everybody on the game, and I just got out of the game.”
Anthony Rizzo made an amazing catch, grabbing Headley’s popup in foul territory as he dove over the rolled-up tarp. Rizzo ended up between the tarp and the brick wall, and held onto the ball. Borbon tumbled over the bullpen mound after catching Nick Hundley’s fly ball against the wall in the eighth. Shortstop Starlin Castro added to his highlight reel of great plays.
“It was a shame — we had two defensive plays that were the difference in the ballgame,” Sveum said. “It’s unfortunate. It was a really well-played game other than a pop-up that caused it. We had a chance to make a pitch and get out of all that, and couldn’t do it again. When we make a mistake, we don’t seem to be able to make a pitch to get the next guy out.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs close their four-game series against the Padres at Wrigley Field on Thursday. Travis Wood gets the start against San Diego lefty Eric Stults. Starlin Castro remains in the No. 5 spot in the lineup for the second day.
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Every loss is tough to take, but Monday hurt a little more for the Cubs because they did nearly everything right. Cesar Izturis hit a walkoff RBI single with two outs in the 13th to spark the Reds to a 5-4 come from behind victory over the Cubs, who had taken a two-run lead in the top of the inning on Luis Valbuena’s two-run home run.
“We battled all game,” Travis Wood said. “They’re a good ballclub over there and their guys did what they needed to do to pull out a win.”
Valbuena connected off Alfredo Simon in the 13th, scoring Welington Castillo, who had reached second on an error by third baseman Todd Frazier. For once, it looked as if the Cubs’ could capitalize on another team’s mistakes.
But Xavier Paul singled to lead off the Reds’ 13th against Michael Bowden, and advanced to third on a double by Brandon Phillips that right fielder Dave Sappelt missed.
“In my mind, I knew I had to make a web gem to win the game,” Sappelt said. “I came up short.”
Paul and Phillips both scored on Jay Bruce’s double into the gap in right center. Did Cubs manager Dale Sveum consider walking Bruce?
“I did,” Sveum said. “I didn’t want to put the winning run on the base and he hadn’t been swinging that good anyway.”
One out later, Izturis lined a single over shortstop Starlin Castro for the game-winner.
“I’m proud of the way they played today,” Sveum said. “They had good at-bats all night long, played good defense, pitched, and came up short. [The Reds] hit the ball hard the last inning. Besides the one blooper that fell in and changed things, other than that, they swung the bats there. No walks — they swung the bats to beat us.”
The Cubs had opportunities, stranding 12 runners in the game.
“It’s hard to be down,” Wood said about the loss. “It’s easy to be down, but also hard to be down. It’s not like we’re getting blown out every game. We’re right there. We just have to come together as a team and figure out how to pull them out.”
Fifteen of the Cubs’ 18 games now have been decided by three runs or less, and the Cubs are 4-11 in those close games.
“They are tough just because you know you’re doing everything you can and for some reason the ball isn’t going our way,” Wood said. “You just have to hang in there and ride it out. Tides will turn.”
– Carrie Muskat
Here’s the lineup for Monday’s Cubs vs. Reds game:
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* On Monday, the Cubs open a three-game series against the Reds, and it will be the first head to head match up between reigning Gold Glove second baseman Darwin Barney and Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips. Barney leads the Majors in nearly every defensive category at second base since the start of the 2012 season. He tops all ML second basemen with a .997 fielding percentage, an .852 ultimate zone rating, a 5.20 range factor per nine innings, 5.21 total chances per nine innings and 321 putouts in that span. Last season, Barney tied a ML record with 141-consecutive games at second base without making an error.
* Barney’s teammates haven’t been as successful. The Cubs rank second in the Majors with 17 errors this season, trailing only the Nationals (18). Those miscues have led to 14 unearned runs, tied with the Astros for the most in the Majors. All of the unearned runs have occurred behind the starting pitchers.
* The Cubs went 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position in three games vs. the Brewers, and now are batting .140 (17-for-127) with RISP, lowest in the Majors.
* Looking ahead, here are the pitching matchups:
Monday: LHP Travis (1-1, 1.83) vs. RHP Mike Leake (1-0, 4.26)
Tuesday: RHP Carlos Villanueva (1-0, 1.29) vs. LHP Tony Cingrani (1-0, 1.80)
Wednesday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (1-3, 3.38) vs. RHP Mat Latos (0-0, 2.73)
– Carrie Muskat