Since coming into the league with the Reds in 2010, Travis Wood has established himself as one of the most dangerous pitchers at the plate in all of baseball. He has hit one home run in each of the five seasons he’s played in the Majors, including five singers in his last 91 at-bats over the last two years. While he didn’t hit a home run in yesterday’s ball game against the Phillies, Wood was able to show just how dangerous he is on the rubber.
After a solid two seasons pitching in Cincinnati, Wood was traded to the Cubs before the 2012 season and quickly demonstrated his value to his new team, starting 26 games that season and another 32 last year. Though he’s on pace to start another 30-plus games this season, Wood hasn’t looked like the same pitcher he was in 2013. Hopefully, after completing his best start of the year yesterday, Wood is on track to turn his season around.
Travis Wood threw a season-high eight innings against the Philadelphia Phillies in the Cubs 3-0 win on Sunday, allowing no runs, three hits, and three walks while striking out six. The 112 pitches that Wood threw matched a season high and the start marked the first time all year that Wood didn’t allowed a single run in a game. Neil Ramirez was able to help Wood earn his seventh victory of the season, the most on the Cubs, by throwing a flawless 9th inning.
After throwing a career-high 200 innings for the Cubs last year at age 26 (which led to a career-best 3.11 ERA), Wood has been largely ineffective in his starts this season. After not having thrown more than 156 innings in any other season, it’s possible that Wood was just suffering from fatigue after getting off to a hot start. Wood had a 3.52 ERA at the end of April, but compiled a 6.62 ERA during the month of May. Wood has looked much better in June, amassing a 3.86 ERA in the month. In yesterday’s start alone, he was able to lower his season ERA from 4.95 to 4.48.
With several teams already talking to the Cubs about the possibility of trading for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, Travis Wood could throw his name into that ring with a few more good performances. The trade deadline is just a month and a half away, and Wood will have to hope that yesterday was the start of a turnaround in his game. Whether he’s traded or not, Travis Wood clearly has the ability to be a dependable starter for any team in the Major Leagues. He proved his worth with his best outing of the season in yesterday’s victory over the Phillies.