Results tagged ‘ Travis Wood ’

3/2 Big spring for Wood, Jackson

No one has to say anything to Travis Wood or Edwin Jackson. Both pitchers know how important this spring is.

Manager Joe Maddon said Monday that Kyle Hendricks had secured the No. 4 spot in the Cubs rotation behind Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta and Jason Hammel. That leaves Wood and Jackson vying for one opening along with Felix Doubront, Jacob Turner and Tsuyoshi Wada.

“Everybody understands what’s going on here,” Maddon said Monday. “There are no dummies.”

Maddon also is quick to point out that things change. A lot can happen between the start of Cactus League games Thursday and the end of camp.

“They’re very competitive and the fact we have a lot of folks for some really narrow choices, it’s going to be an interesting spring,” Maddon said. “I know that competition normally brings out the best in everyone.”

Wood, who will start Thursday against the Athletics in the Cactus League opener, compiled a 5.03 ERA in 31 starts last season after a 3.11 ERA in 32 starts in 2013. Jackson, who has a 5.58 ERA and 14-33 record in two seasons with the Cubs, will make his first spring start Monday against the Padres.

Maddon has been honest with the players about where they stand.

“The line I like is that, I’m not going to lie to you,” Maddon said. “If I tell you the truth, you might be upset with me for about a week or two but then you’re going to be OK. But if I lie to you, you’re going to hate me forever. If you shoot somebody between the eyes honestly, they might leave the room upset, they might slam the door, they might drive out of the parking lot quick, they might go home and hopefully not hit their dog. Eventually, they come back because you told them the truth. Every professional person I’ve ever been around really appreciates that.”

— Carrie Muskat

2/22 Travis Wood: “Let’s go”

The 2014 season was humbling for Cubs pitcher Travis Wood. An All-Star in 2013 when he compiled 24 quality starts and a 3.11 ERA in 32 games, the left-hander posted a 5.03 ERA in 31 starts last year.

“Last year was a big learning year,” Wood said Sunday. “I always say you learn a lot more when you fail than when you succeed. You see your flaws better.

“I kind of went into ’14 like, ‘All right, I’ve got it, I know how to do it,’ and it was a humbling experience last year [finding out] that you’ve never got it in this game,” he said. “You’ve always got something to work on and get better at.”

What is Wood focused on this spring? He says he’s getting back to basics. Wood doesn’t blame a change in mechanics or anything else.

“I just chalk it up to the bad year and time to move on,” he said. “Let’s go.”

— Carrie Muskat

1/16 Arbitration update

The Cubs avoided arbitration Friday with Jake Arrieta, Welington Castillo, Travis Wood, Chris Coghlan and Luis Valbuena, and exchanged salary figures with reliever Pedro Strop.

Wood: one-year, $5.685 million contract
Arrieta: one-year, $3.63 million contract
Castillo: one-year, $2.1 million contract
Valbuena: one-year, $4.2 million contract
Coghlan: one-year, $2.505 million contract

Friday was the deadline for teams to exchange figures with arb eligible players. Hearings will be Feb. 1-21 if no settlement is reached before then.

— Carrie Muskat

12/2 Arbitration deadline

The Cubs were expected to tender contracts to all of their arbitration eligible players Tuesday, including Travis Wood, who is coming off a tough 2014 season. Wood is one of 10 arbitration eligible players on the Cubs roster. The list also includes Jake Arrieta, John Baker, Welington Castillo, Chris Coghlan, Felix Doubront, Justin Ruggiano, Pedro Strop, Luis Valbuena and Wesley Wright.

Wood, 27, had an All-Star season in 2013, compiling a 3.11 ERA in 32 starts and reaching 200 innings for the first time in his career. But this past season, he went 8-13 with a 5.03 ERA in 31 starts, and gave up career highs in hits (190) and walks (76). In 2013, opponents batted .222 off Wood and the batting average of balls in play was .251; last season, teams batted .277 off the lefty and the BAPIP was .324.

— Carrie Muskat

11/21 Numbers game

It was tough to watch Edwin Jackson’s outings this past season. There’s a reason. Baseball statistician Bill Chuck pointed out that both Jackson and Travis Wood ranked among the leaders in what he calls a “lack of quality start.” A LQ start is when a pitcher throws no more than 5 2/3 innings and gives up three or more earned runs, according to Chuck. Fifteen pitchers made at least 10 LQ Starts in 2014. Jackson was tied for the lead with 13, going 2-8 in those games. He gave up 68 earned runs over 55 1/3 innings, serving up 88 hits, walking 30 and striking out 42. Wood had 10 LQ Starts. He was 0-9 in those games, giving up 50 earned runs over 43 1/3 innings. He served up 73 hits, walked 29 and struck out 39 in those games.

Chuck breaks down the stats even further. When a pitcher throws no more than 5 2/3 innings and gives up four or more earned runs, it’s what Chuck has dubbed a “bad start.” Jackson was second in MLB with 10 such starts, going 1-8 in those games. Justin Masterson was first with 12 “bad starts,” and was 0-7.

— Carrie Muskat

9/22 Cardinals 8, Cubs 0

The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw became the Major League’s first 20-game winner Friday with a victory over the Cubs. On Monday, it was Adam Wainwright’s turn.
Wainwright struck out eight over seven scoreless innings and Jon Jay drove in three runs to lead the Cardinals to an 8-0 victory over the Cubs, and move another step closer to claiming the National League Central title for the second year in a row.

The Cardinals spoiled Travis Wood’s final start of the year. The lefty served up seven runs — six earned — over five innings, and finished the season with a 5.03 ERA in his 31 starts. Wood totaled 200 innings last year, and came up short this year with 173 2/3. He posted 24 quality starts in 2013, but just 13 this season.

“I did feel better about it than the numbers [show],” Wood said of his outing. “I made some good pitches tonight and pitches were sharp but they got the hits when they needed them and dropped a couple in, perfectly placed, and that’s how it’s been going. We have to take it into the offseason and figure out how to keep that from happening, and not let the big innings happen.”

Wood looked like the 2013 version over the first three innings when he held the Cardinals to one hit and struck out five. But St. Louis sent eight batters to the plate in the fourth, and tallied on an RBI double by Jhonny Peralta, RBI single by Yadier Molina and two-run single by Jon Jay. A telling stat is that hitters are batting .247 against Wood the first time through the lineup and .274 the second time.

While Wainwright can prep for the postseason — St. Louis has secured a playoff berth — Wood will have a long winter to try to figure out what did go wrong.

“It wasn’t a good year for me overall,” Wood said. “With that being said, it showed me a lot of the stuff I need to take into the offseason to work on. You learn a lot more about yourself as a pitcher when things aren’t going good as opposed to when things are. That’s what we’ll take into the offseason and work at it.”

Before the game, Renteria said Wood’s fastball command had been a problem this season. Wood, who matched his career high with his 13th loss, agreed.

“For the most part of the year, it was [a problem],” said the lefty, who lost eight of his last nine decisions. “It’s not like we were missing bad, just off.”

Wainwright now has won 20 games for the second time in his career, and first time since 2010, when he did so at Wrigley Field on Sept. 24. The right-hander is on a roll, and has given up two earned runs over 33 innings in his last four starts while striking out 26.

“It’s just a place I’ve had success and a place I love to come to,” Wainwright said of Wrigley Field. “I love to pitch here. I love the feel of the ballpark. I love the vibe of being out there at Wrigley and stepping on the field of some place I watched growing up as a kid. It’s pretty special. Both times I’ve got 20 wins, I’ve done it here at Wrigley. It’s just a cool place to do it.”

With the loss, the Cubs dropped to 39-40 at Wrigley Field with two home games remaining. Chicago has not had a winning record at home since 2009.

— Carrie Muskat

9/22 Cubs lineup

Jorge Soler is back in the lineup as the Cubs face the Cardinals at Wrigley Field for the final home series of the regular season. Travis Wood will make his last start. Here’s the lineup against 19-game winner Adam Wainwright:

Coghlan LF
Baez SS
Rizzo 1B
Soler RF
Valbuena 3B
Castillo C
Alcantara 2B
Kalish CF
T. Wood P

9/15 Cubs lineup: Rizzo is back

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, sidelined since Aug. 27 because of a low back strain, returned to the lineup Monday, and was slotted ahead of rookie Jorge Soler, who was promoted that day. Monday marks the first time the two will be in the same lineup in the big leagues.

Rizzo hit his 30th home run on Aug. 26 against the Reds in a game interrupted by rain. The first baseman did not return after the delay because his back tightened up.

Soler belted a home run in his first Major League at-bat on Aug. 27 in Cincinnati, and also returned to the lineup Monday after missing three games to be in Miami for the birth of his first child. The rookie outfielder was 16-for-45 (.356) in 12 games since his call-up with four home runs and 13 RBIs.

Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro remained sidelined with a high left ankle sprain suffered Sept. 2.

Here’s Monday’s lineup:

Coghlan LF
Baez SS
Rizzo 1B
Soler RF
Valbuena 3B
Castillo C
Alcantara CF
Watkins 2B
T. Wood P

9/7 Pirates 10, Cubs 4

* Travis Wood took the loss, his 12. He gave up seven runs on nine hits while issuing one walk and striking out one over 1 2/3 innings. He served up a season-high three home runs. The outing was his shortest since Sept. 27 last year at St. Louis (1 IP), but that was a planned short start. In 12 starts against the NL Central this season, Wood is 5-5 with a 5.66 ERA (43 ER/68 1/3 IP) and 13 home runs allowed.

“If I missed a pitch, they hit it out of the park, and if I executed one, they hit it in the hole,” said Wood, who served up three home runs, including back to back blasts by Jordy Mercer and Andrew McCutchen in the second. “It just wasn’t my day. They have a good team over there.”

* Mike Olt set a career high with three hits, including an RBI single. He drove in his first run since July 19 at Arizona.

* Chris Coghlan had two hits, his 23rd multi-hit game.

* Luis Valbuena extended his hitting streak to seven games (.333/10-for-30) with a fourth-inning single to right.

* Matt Szczur registered his first-career RBI with a two-run single to right in the seventh inning.

* Welington Castillo extended his hitting streak to five games (.389/7-for-18) with a double in the sixth inning.

* The bright spot for the Cubs was Eric Jokisch, who made his Major League debut, and gave up one run on six hits while striking out four over 4 1/3 innings of relief.

* Cubs pitchers gave up 19 hits, which matched the season high, previously done, July 5 at Washington.

9/7 Cubs lineup

Jorge Soler gets Sunday off in the Cubs series finale against the Pirates at Wrigley Field. Travis Wood makes the start. Here’s the lineup:

Alcantara CF
Baez SS
Coghlan LF
Valbuena 3B
Castillo C
Olt 1B
Kalish RF
Watkins 2B
Wood P

* Manager Rick Renteria doesn’t think Javier Baez should get a breather. Baez struck out three times on Saturday, marking the ninth time in 32 games that the rookie infielder has whiffed three times or more. Baez is batting .174.

“I don’t see him pressing,” Renteria said of the highly regarded prospect. “I think he’s getting away from his middle-away approach. That’s one of the things he was working on down in the Minor Leagues. When he finally settled in and was swinging the bat well, one of the things he was doing was hitting the ball more to the middle to right center field, which allowed him to see the ball and track the ball a little better.

“I just think he’s away from the approach that gives him a chance to have some success,” Renteria said.

Baez has played every game since his call-up on Aug. 5, and now is pressed into every day duty with Starlin Castro sidelined with a high ankle sprain. Could Baez use a day off?

“I think it’s the opposite,” Renteria said. “You need to keep him in there and see if we can get him to trust what he was doing before he got here. The reality is, his approach to the other side of the field is one of the things that will help him.”

— Carrie Muskat

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