It was such a nice Thursday afternoon for Chicago Cubs pitcher Travis Wood, at least until the eighth inning rolled around. Through seven innings he had kept the weak San Diego Padres offense off the scoreboard, but two singles and a walk later, Wood quickly went from a win to a loss. It wasn’t as if the Padres were hitting rockets off of Wood, and in fact a Cubs’ communication problem on a pop up led to the Padres’ biggest hit of the day.
You can probably hang this loss on manager Dale Sveum. Instead of turning to the bullpen, I would have left Wood in to get out of the mess he and his fielders made. When Wood left he still had a 2-1 lead with runners on first and third. In my mind you would help build confidence in him by leaving him out there to battle. He was only at 96 pitches, for those of you obsessed with pitch counts, so he could have made if through the eighth and then handed the ball over to closer Kevin Gregg.
Even with Thursday’s less than satisfying outcome, Wood has quietly put together a solid season. Through six starts he is 2-2 with an earned run average of 2.50. He hasn’t given up more than three runs in any of his starts. One thing Wood needs to work on is going deeper into games, or maybe just be given the chance to. The Cubs seem to be babying the 26 year old because he has gone over 100 pitches just once so far this season. At what point do you take the kid gloves off and let your pitchers work through jams? In my opinion 26 years old is definitely that point.