Posted on 04 April 2012 by Lou
The Cubs finished up spring ball with a nice little 5-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday. Travis Wood made his best spring start, going 6 innings and allowing just 1 ER on 6 hits. He walked only one batter all day and the lone run came on Andy Gonzalez’ solo home run in the 2nd inning. This bodes well for Wood who is going to need to fine-tune his pitching this season at Triple-A Iowa.
The Cubs got off to a fast start with a 2-run HR in the 1st inning from Starlin Castro. The Cubs added 2 more runs in the 2nd inning on a Joe Mather double and a Darwin Barney single.
The real action begins at Wrigley Field on Thursday when the Cubs take on Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals. Ryan Dempster makes his 2nd straight opening day start for the Cubs.
Posted on 19 March 2012 by Lou
Travis Wood has had 2 bad starts this spring, so he got just what he needed in his 3rd start today. The Cubs scored 7 runs in the 1st inning to stake Wood to a nice 7-0 lead. All he had to do was come out and throw strikes and get outs. Well it didn’t work out that way, and his poor spring performance has all but assured Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad of the final 2 spots in the Cubs starting rotation heading into 2012. Sure Randy Wells has pitched well too, but he has been given the opportunity as a starter already and he really hasn’t taken advantage of it. It’s time for Samardzija to be given the chance to go out there and prove that he is a legitimate MLB starter. And with how dominant Volstad has been so far this spring, there’s almost no way to justify not making him your 4th or 5th starter.
But back to Wood – he gave back 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st on a Ichiro HR. In the 2nd, after giving up a run-scoring single to Chone Figgins, Wood threw a wild pitch that allowed Figgins to score to cut the lead to 7-4. In the bottom of the 3rd, he gave up a 2-run jack to Jesus Montero and then a game-tying solo HR to Kyle Seager. All 3 homers served up by Wood were the 1st homers for each player this spring. Not good. That was all Manager Dale Sveum needed to see in the 3rd as he yanked Wood after just 2+ innings – 7 runs, all earned on 7 hits and 2 walks. WOW! That Travis Wood for Sean Marshall deal is sure looking like a big mistake now. Let’s hope a year at Triple-A will help get Wood back on track.
Gotta love the Cubs bats today. They didn’t hit one HR in that 7-run 1st inning and all 7 runs were ER. A Starlin Castro double, an Alfonso Soriano sac fly, a Jeff Baker single, a 2-run single by Joe Mather, a David DeJesus single and then a Darwin Barney double. Can’t complain about solid hitting like that.
Posted on 01 March 2012 by Lou
Travis Wood will square off against Randy Wells in intrasquad action on Friday at HoHoKam Stadium. The two will be battling all spring for a spot in the starting rotation.
Andy Sonnanstine and Casey Coleman will serve as relievers on Friday.
Can’t wait for some live action to spic things up as we enter March…
Posted on 10 January 2012 by Lou
The Cubs continue to tinker with their starting rotation – inking lefty Paul Maholm to a 1-year, $4.5 million deal. The Cubs have a $6.5 club option for the 2013 MLB season or the Cubs can buy him out for $500,000. Maholm has pitched 6+ seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates after being selected in the 1st round by the NL Central foe back in 2003. He has a career 53-73 record with a 4.36 ERA. Despite having a “down year” in 2011 – he went 6-14 – it was also the 1st time in his career where he completed a full season with a sub-par 4.00 ERA (3.66). He is a sinkerball pitcher which could aid him in the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field – he has allowed less than 1 HR per 9 innings for his entire career and he has also averaged just 13 HR’s allowed person during his career.
GM Jed Hoyer had this to say about Maholm – “Maholm is a ground ball pitcher and Volstad is a ground ball pitcher so that’s important. It’s important to have a mixture on your staff. You don’t want a staff of all ground ball guys or all fly ball guys. You want to have pretty good diversity.” Maholm and newly acquired Travis Wood will serve as the 2 two lefty starters on the Cubs 2012 rotation. Hoyer went on to say – “I think we are very comfortable with the names we have. You never know what is going to happen over the course of the winter and what is going to be available to us. But what we said was that a huge priority was building depth. We feel like we’ve really done that.”
These guys are going to turn the Cubs into World Series contenders, but they are nice innings-eaters and should keep the Cubs in ball games during the 2012 MLB season. It won’t always be pretty, but it is what it is…
Posted on 21 December 2011 by Lou
Let the questions start rolling. Theo & Co. have traded their most reliable reliever, 29-year old Sean Marshall, to the Reds for lefty starter Travis Wood. Not sure how this makes the Cubs better, but is clear that Theo & Co. value starting pitching above relief pitching and that the Cubs intend to try to acquire younger talent to continue building from the ground up.
Wood is 25 years old. In 2011, Wood made 18 major league starts, going 6-6 with a 4.84 ERA (he also made 10 starts at Triple-A Louisville). His rookie season was much better – in 2010, Wood made 17 starts, going 5-4 with a 3.51 ERA. But the 200+ innings in 2010 may have taken a toll on his body thereby limiting his effectiveness in his sophomore season.
Marshall was one of the best left-handed relievers in all of baseball in 2011. He had a nasty 2.20 ERA and his 34 holds was 2nd best in all of baseball among lefties. The 34 holds was a Cubs record. Marshall was set to make $3 million in 2012 and he was eligible to test the free agent market following season, so the Cubs struck first while the iron was hot.
The bullpen is going to be a wreck next year with this move. Maybe with an improved starting pitching staff, there will be less pressure on the bullpen, but taking Marshall out of the mix leaves a huge void for that lefty set-up man. You can’t tell me that James Russell, Scott Maine or John Gaub are going to be the guys to step right in and become reliable or dependable all of a sudden. I just don’t see it.
But I guess this is the time where we just have to trust the observations, research and decision-making of Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything new.