In his previous start against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park, Chicago Cubs starter Travis Wood was uncharacteristically erratic while failing to go six innings in an eventual Cubs loss. However, Wood predictably rebounded on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Facing the St. Louis Cardinals, Wood provided the type of performance Cub fans have quickly become familiar with, tossing seven strong innings in a 6-5 Cubs win.
Wood allowed six hits and three runs, with only two of them earned, while striking out six Cardinals. In contrast to his previous outing in Milwaukee, his control was impeccable, as he did not walk a single batter, the third time in six starts this has occurred.
Wood is frequently overlooked when discussing the Cubs, which is a byproduct of his quiet efficiency. While he is not flashy, Wood provides the type of consistency that is essential for any successful rotation, but he does tend to fly under the radar. However, the lefty has already become a staple in the Cubs’ rotation, and should remain one for quite a while, health permitting.
The 27-year-old was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds before the 2012 season as part of the Sean Marshall trade. This deal was questioned by some at the time, but it seems the Cubs may have stumbled upon a long-term fixture in the rotation. Wood seems like the type of pitcher that could enjoy a lengthy career, and while he will never be an ace, the former second-round pick could potentially post above-average numbers for years to come.
There are many questions surrounding the future makeup of the Cubs’ rotation. The status of Jeff Samardzija will certainly dictate the organizational approach, but the Cubs will eventually need to acquire a top-of-the-rotation starter. However, whatever takes place in free agency or within the organization in regard to starting pitching, Wood should continue to provide a rotation lynchpin while hopefully playing an important role for an eventual contender in Chicago.