Results tagged ‘ Travis Wood ’

1/24 Cubs, Wood reach agreement

The Cubs have avoided an arbitration hearing with left-hander Travis Wood, agreeing on Friday to a one-year deal worth $3.9 million.

Last Friday, Wood and the Cubs had exchanged figures, and the lefty had filed for $4.25 million, while the Cubs countered at $3.5 million.

Wood, 26, is coming off his best season in the big leagues, going 9-12 with a career-best 3.11 ERA en route to his first All-Star selection. Wood also pitched 200 innings, reaching the mark for the first time in his big league career.

A second-round pick by the Reds in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Wood spent his first two seasons with Cincinnati before being traded to the Cubs in the deal that included reliever Sean Marshall. In four Major League seasons, Wood is 26-35 with a 3.83 ERA over 97 appearances (93 starts).

After settling with Wood, the Cubs have three remaining arbitration-eligible players — Darwin Barney, Justin Ruggiano and Jeff Samardzija — with whom they have yet to reach agreements.

– Carrie Muskat

1/17 Cubs and Valbuena

The Cubs have reportedly reached a contract agreement with infielder Luis Valbuena and avoided arbitration. According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, Valbuena has signed a $1.71 million contract with the Cubs. The third baseman is one of eight Cubs who filed for salary arbitration on Tuesday. Figures were to be exchanged today. Arbitration hearings are scheduled for Feb. 1-21.

Valbuena made $930,000 last year, and was projected by to receive $1.5 million this year. He appeared in the most games at third base for the Cubs in 2013, batting .218 with 12 home runs and 14 doubles.

Other Cubs who filed for salary arbitration include Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Darwin Barney, Nate Schierholtz, James Russell, Pedro Strop, and Justin Ruggiano. Wood could get the biggest increase. The lefty, who was 9-12 last season, posting career-highs in starts and innings pitched, earned $527,500 in 2013 and was projected to receive $3.6 million this year.

A quick refresher on salary arbitration: Eligible players are those with at least three years of Major League service but less than six years needed to qualify for free agency. If a case goes to a hearing, the player and the team each present their case to a three-member panel.

– Carrie Muskat

9/27 Cardinals 7, Cubs 0

Travis Wood reached a milestone in his final start but couldn’t stop the Cardinals from celebrating. For the third time in five games, the Cubs watched another team spray champagne. Yadier Molina drove in three runs and David Freese and Matt Holliday each hit solo home runs to power the Cardinals to a 7-0 victory on Friday night at Busch Stadium and their first National League Central title since 2009. Last Sunday, the Braves partied at Wrigley Field after their win over the Cubs secured the NL East, and the next day, the Pirates earned a playoff berth with a victory in Chicago.

“You can get something out of it, the guys who have never seen a celebration,” Dale Sveum said. “I’ve already seen it and I don’t like watching celebrations if I’m not involved.”

Lance Lynn struck out eight of the first 11 batters he faced, and finished with nine strikeouts over six innings for the win, which was the Cardinals’ 95th of the season and their most since 100 victories in 2005.

Wood entered the game with 199 innings, and Sveum said the plan was to have the left-hander pitch one inning and that would be enough. The team felt Wood had thrown enough pitches this season, and totaled enough innings. What they didn’t predict was the Cardinals batting around in the first. Wood retired the first two batters, helping himself by catching Carlos Beltran’s popup near the Cardinals dugout for the second out. He then gave up three straight hits, including a line drive to left that Brian Bogusevic just missed. Molina smacked a two-run double, then Freese walked, and Jon Jay followed with a RBI single. Wood intentionally walked Pete Kozma and then struck out Lynn.

“Plays are going to happen, plays aren’t going to happen,” Wood said. “I had plenty of opportunities after that play to get out of it. I had two lefties to get out and several other batters. When you get two outs of the first two hitters, and then face the nine, that’s on me.”

Wood has been the most consistent pitcher on the Cubs, leading the team with 24 quality starts.

“That was a shame,” Sveum said of the first inning. “It kind of makes you want to throw up. Two outs, nobody on and all that happens. It’s too bad. I thought he had one [heck] of a year and was as good as the top 10 guys in the league if not better than that. For what he’s done for our team, it’s a shame how that all turned out.”

The Cubs told Wood they were going to limit him a few days ago.

“They could’ve shut me down,” Wood said. “For them to give me the opportunity to at least start the game and get that 200th inning was huge, and I thank them for it.”

Despite the loss, Wood still finished with career highs in wins, starts, innings pitched and strikeouts.

“You can always do more,” the lefty said. “The record wasn’t what I wanted it to be and the team’s record wasn’t what I wanted it to be. There’s always stuff to improve on.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/27 Wood to get 200 and that’s it

Travis Wood started Friday night against the Cardinals but was done after one inning. The lefty was one inning shy of 200, and will be allowed to reach that mark.

“[Being shut down] is just to protect him and get his milestone, the 200 innings,” Dale Sveum said. “We made that decision and he was OK with it. It’s trying to protect him. There’s no need to push him any further.”

There have been no red flags regarding Wood’s health.

“No, it’s just a lot of innings, pitches,” Sveum said. “He’s thrown about 100 pitches every start. He can get that milestone out of the way and he doesn’t have to prove anything else.”

Did Wood fight Sveum and the Cubs management on this?

“No,” Sveum said.

The Cardinals batted around against Wood in the first, and tallied on a two-run double by Yadier Molina and a RBI single by Jon Jay.

– Carrie Muskat

9/27 Cubs lineup

The Cubs open their final series of the season on Friday at Busch Stadium against the Cardinals, who have everything to gain from a win. The Cardinals can clinch the NL Central if they beat the Cubs, or the Reds beat the Pirates. In addition, the Cardinals can clinch home field in the NLDS if they beat the Cubs or the Rockies beat the Dodgers.

The Cubs, on the other hand, are wrapping things up. Travis Wood gets the start. He’s 3-4 in his career against the Cardinals, and 1-2 with a 4.01 ERA in four starts this year. Here’s the lineup:

Castro SS
Murphy 3B
Rizzo 1B
Navarro C
Schierholtz RF
Sweeney CF
Bogusevic LF
Barney 2B
T. Wood P

9/27 Extra bases

* With one inning tonight, Cubs starting pitcher Travis Wood will reach 200 for the first time in his big league career. The lefty will join teammate Jeff Samardzija (207 2/3 innings) in reaching the milestone. Entering the game, only two other pairs of National League teammates have reached 200 innings this season: Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels and Cincinnati’s Mat Latos and Homer Bailey. With 4 1/3 innings tonight, the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn would join teammate Adam Wainwright in the 200 club. Wood and Samardzija would become the first pair of Cubs teammates to reach 200 innings since Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly did so in 2008.

In the last 40 years, only two Cubs left-handed pitchers have reached 200 innings: Lilly (twice in 2007 and 2008) and Jamie Moyer (twice in 1987 and 1988)

* Wood begins tonight with a 2.98 ERA. In the last 50 years, only one Cubs left-handed pitcher has turned in a sub-3.00 ERA with at least 200 innings pitched, and that was in 1963 when Dick Ellsworth had a 2.11 ERA. No Cubs lefty in the 50 seasons since Ellsworth has compiled an ERA of 3.10 or less with at least 200 innings.

Going back further to 1920, only four Cubs left-handed pitchers have tossed at least 200 innings with an ERA of less than 3.00 covering those 94 seasons: Ellsworth, Johnny Schmitz (twice in 1946 and 1948), Larry French (1935) and Hippo Vaughn (1920).

* The Cubs have 90 quality starts this season, tied for fifth-most in the NL and 17 more than the 73 quality efforts Cubs starting pitchers recorded last season. In their 90 quality starts this year, Cubs pitchers have gone 42-20 with 28 no-decisions and a 1.93 ERA (131 ER/610.2 IP). The team is 14 games above .500 in those 90 games, posting a 52-38 record.

* The Cubs are 18-38 (.321) in their last 56 games starting July 29, the lowest winning percentage in the NL since that date. However, the Cubs turned in a 30-25 record in 55 games from May 26-July 28, a .545 winning percentage that was fourth-best in the NL in that span

9/25 Cubs vs. Cardinals

The Cubs close the season with a three-game series in St. Louis against the Cardinals, who are trying to wrap up the NL Central. The Cubs have three pitchers to reach 30 starts apiece (Jeff Samardzija, 32; Travis Wood, 31; Edwin Jackson, 30) for the first time since 2008, when Ted Lilly (34), Ryan Dempster (33) and Carlos Zambrano (30) did so. Despite setting a franchise mark with 56 players used, the Cubs have utilized just nine starting pitchers, its fewest since nine started in 2010.

Here are the pitching matchups vs. the Cardinals:

Friday: LHP Travis Wood (9-11, 2.98) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (14-10, 4.09)
Satuday: RHP Edwin Jackson (8-17, 4.74) vs. RHP Joe Kelly (9-5, 2.81)
Sunday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.33) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (18-9, 3.01)

9/21 Cubs 3, Braves 1

The Cubs scored three runs in the eighth to post a 3-1 victory Saturday over the Braves, and force Atlanta to wait a little longer before clinching the NL East division. The Braves’ magic number is one. Anthony Rizzo hit a RBI double, Dioner Navarro smacked a RBI single and Nate Schierholtz hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth for the win. Pedro Strop pitched the ninth for his first save of the season. Carlos Villanueva got the win in relief of starter Travis Wood, who gave up one run over seven-plus innings. It was Wood’s 24th quality start. Wood is one inning shy of 200, and will get that in his next start Friday against the Cardinals.

Rizzo’s double was his 62nd extra base hit, the most by a left-handed Cubs batter since Corey Patterson’s 63 in 2004. Villanueva is now 5-0 with a 0.93 ERA in his last eight relief appearances.

The Braves may stay at Wrigley Saturday night to celebrate. They clinch the division if the Nationals lose to the Marlins

“One day, hopefully that will be us and we’ll move forward from there,” Wood said of the Braves.

– Carrie Muskat

9/21 Cubs lineup

Travis Wood goes for his 10th win on Saturday when the Cubs play host to the NL East leading Braves, whose magic number is now one. Here’s the lineup:

Castro SS
Valbuena 3B
Rizzo 1B
Navarro C
Schierholtz RF
Sweeney CF
Bogusevic LF
Barney 2B
T. Wood P

9/15 Pirates 3, Cubs 2

Francisco Liriano held the Cubs without a hit through six innings and Justin Morneau delivered a game-winning pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth to lift the Pirates to a 3-2 victory Sunday in front of 36,559 at PNC Park.

Pittsburgh remained tied for first with St. Louis in the NL Central heading into the final two weeks of regular season play. All four games between the Cubs and Pirates were decided by two runs or less, and the last three games were one-run decisions. Chicago now is 20-31 in one-run games.

Welington Castillo made it close Sunday when he smacked a two-run home run in the seventh off Liriano to tie the game at 2. But with one out in the Pirates eighth, Pedro Strop plunked Andrew McCutchen with a pitch, and he moved up on Marlon Byrd’s bloop single to center. McCutchen then tallied on Morneau’s single to left.

Liriano was tough. He threw 99 pitches through six innings, and Junior Lake connected on No. 100, recording an infield single to lead off the seventh for the first hit off the lefty. Castillo then launched pitch No. 102 into the left field seats for his seventh home run to tie the game. Darnell McDonald singled, and Liriano was lifted. It’s the first time in 24 starts that he did not get a decision.

“He’s not easy to hit,” Castillo said of Liriano. “He’s got good offspeed, and he throws it for strikes. He’s a guy you have to be aggressive against all the time because he can throw 96 and 88 [mph] and has a slider at 85, 87 [mph]. What makes him good is [all the pitches] look the same. His changeup looks like his fastball, his slider looks like his fastball. He’s been good his whole career. The approach we had to take was be aggressive and try to get him early.”

Wood took an aggressive approach, too, against the Pirates, who rank among the NL leaders in batting average against left-handed pitchers.

“They came out hacking,” Wood said. “They had a game plan and fortunately I was able to get out of [the first] giving up just one.”

Sticking to the Cubs’ coaches plan has been key for Wood this season, his first in which he’s been on a big league roster from Opening Day until the finish.

“For me, it goes back to last year when they wanted me to work both sides of the plate, arm side and glove side, and I really focused on arm side because I was predominantly glove side,” Wood said. “For me to take that into this year and make sure I can command both sides of the plate and prepare as best as I can, side sessions and everything, it’s been outstanding.”

It wasn’t hard for the Cubs staff to convince Wood to make the changes because he threw predominantly to one side of the plate.

“I knew at some point it was going to catch up to me,” Wood said.

Said Castillo: “That lineup is not easy to get through. They were jumping on him early. We had to make adjustments, and he did it.”

The Cubs head to Milwaukee with a 15-31 record since July 29. While the Pirates are prepping for the postseason, playing “We Are Family” at PNC Park, it’s wait until next year for Chicago.

“We’ve definitely made strides,” Wood said, complimenting Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer for getting players who want to be on the team. “I’m excited to finish out the season and see how we battle back next year being together for a full year.”

It may be tough for Cubs fans to accept that. Wood sees positives.

“We’ve strung together some good games,” Wood said. “I think we’ve had a season where we’ve made strides and we can hold our heads high.”

– Carrie Muskat


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