With the first night of the 2014 MLB Draft adding new hope for the future and the trading deadline drawing closer and closer, the main focus for the Chicago Cubs organization and its fans shift even further forward to the potential stars of the near and distant future.
In the meantime, the Cubs of the present seem to get lost in the shuffle somewhere in there. That’s too bad, especially for Cubs starting pitcher Travis Wood, whose performance this season, especially in Chicago’s 7-4 win tonight over the New York Mets, makes it pretty clear that he will be around when the fires of rebuilding die down and a successful Cubs team rises from the ashes.
Though he did not factor into the eventual decision of the game, Wood went five innings and gave up two runs on four hits, lowering his ERA to 5.04 and to more closely resemble his 5-5 record in 2014. He also boosted his batting average on the season to .273, one point below that of first baseman Anthony Rizzo, going 1-for-2 with a home run and three RBIs at the plate. It was a typical situation that Chicago has seen this season, when the starting pitcher pitches well enough to earn a win and then doesn’t get it because of bullpen or offensive failures.
But this wasn’t that kind of game. Rizzo took over where Wood left off on offense in the seventh inning, hitting the go-ahead home run that spurred on another spurt of come-from-behind mojo that catapulted the Cubs to their only series sweep of the season so far and their first since last July.
In a Cubs season that’s been littered with an expected amount of disappointment as the Lovable Losers settle into the NL Central cellar, Wood’s pitching and the life the offense showed shined a different light, a spark that reflects off the hopeful spirit instilled by the new crop of players drafted.
There’s a whirlwind of talk about what the Cubs will or won’t do come Jul. 31 and the trading deadline. Though it seems like a fair portion of the starting rotation will be on the block, Wood shouldn’t be one of them.