For the fourth time this season, Travis Wood took the mound for the Chicago Cubs looking for a win. He has pitched well enough to already have a couple of victories, but against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Wood decided to ensure himself a win with his arm and bat. On the North side of Chicago, the name Wood is being reincarnated as the ace of the staff both pitching and at the plate.
When it is the 2013 All-Star’s turn in the rotation, a solid outing out on the mound has become a frequent occurrence every fifth day. For the third time in four starts, Wood struck out at least eight batters and qualified for a quality start. However, during this outing Wood also provided the offense with a home run, double and four RBIs. This time he would not be denied a victory.
Wood has actually developed into a decent hitting pitcher the last few seasons. He now has four home runs since the start of last season. Perhaps seeing the Cubs at the start of play tied for the fewest extra base hits in the league with 37 motivated Wood to bring his hitting stick to the game. On the night, the pitcher Wood accounted for two of the three Chicago extra base hits.
In the current rotation, four of the five starters now have a win on the season. For as good as Wood’s numbers look, Jeff Samardzija‘s stat line is a tad better than the lefty’s. In three more innings pitched, Samardzija has surrendered fewer hits and has a lower ERA by more than a run. Unfortunately for the Cubs, Samardzija is the lone starter now without a win. That is a gut-wrenching reality for the club and fanbase.
With the uncertainty of Samardzija’s future in Chicago, it appears evident each day that a new Wood will be the guy going forward as the ace of the Cubs’ staff. He has proven very capable of the task out on the mound, and on some nights Wood will also take matters into his own hands with his bat at the plate. He is a dual-threat pitcher who is finally in the 2014 win column with the help of his own offense.
Nick Schaeflein is a Chicago Cubs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.