Travis Wood, Extra Basehits and Three W’s in a Row – Cubs 9, Rockies 1

Game Thirty-Eight – Cubs 9, Rockies 1

WP – Travis Wood (4-2) LP – Juan Nicasio (3-1) Save – None

wflag-pubThe Cubs equaled their season-long winning streak with an impressive victory over the Rockies on Monday night. Dale Sveum’s team won for the third day in a row behind seven innings of shutout ball from Travis Wood and eight extra basehits from the offense that included six more doubles.

Travis Wood was excellent once again on Monday night and became the first Cubs’ pitcher since Hippo Vaughn in 1919 to record eight straight quality starts to begin a season. Wood tossed seven innings of shutout ball while allowing only two singles and three walks. Wood kept the leadoff hitter off base over the first six innings and the Rockies did not put a runner in scoring position until the seventh inning. Wood struck out two and threw 98 pitches, 58 for strikes, in route to his fourth win of the season. Wood helped his own cause with a RBI double in the second inning and finished the game 2-for-3 at the plate with a double, a RBI and a run scored.

Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with a home run, a double and two RBI) launched his fourth homer of the year onto Waveland Avenue in the first inning. Soriano’s two-run homer gave Travis Wood all of the runs he would need. The Cubs added three runs in the second on three doubles, one each by Welington Castillo (2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored), Travis Wood (2-for-3 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) and Starlin Castro (2-for-3 with a double, a walk, HBP, two RBI and a run scored). The offense tacked on four more runs in the seventh and eighth innings on a two-run triple by Nate Schierholtz (2-for-4 with a triple and two RBI) and a two-run single by David DeJesus (2-for-4 with a double, two RBI, two runs scored and a walk).

The Cubs scored nine runs on 14 hits with two walks and a HBP. The offense went 6-for-18 with RISP and left six men on base. The Cubs hit six more doubles on Monday night and have hit 19 in three of the last four games … seven on Friday, six on Saturday and six on Monday.

Kyuji Fujikawa pitched a perfect eighth with two strikeouts. The Rockies only run of the night came in the ninth off Carlos Marmol. Josh Rutledge hit a solo homer with one down before Marmol struck out Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki swinging to end the game.

Alfonso Soriano moved into a tie with Carlton Fisk on the All-Time Home Run list. Soriano’s two-run homer in the first inning was the 376th of his career … next up for Soriano on the All-Time list are Norm Cash (377) and Jeff Kent (377) and Matt Williams (378).

With Monday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 11-9 over the last 20 games and 16-22 on the season.

Travis Wood struck out two of the first three batters he faced to begin his night. Wood needed only 16 pitches, 10 for strikes, to retire the side in order in the first.

David DeJesus worked a full count before pulling a double into right to lead off the game for the Cubs. Castro grounded out to short and Rizzo lined a 3-2 pitch into center that almost sailed over Eric Young Jr.’s head.

Alfonso Soriano stepped in and launched a 0-1 pitch onto Waveland. Soriano’s fourth homer of the season not only put the Cubs up 2-0 but it tied him with Carlton Fisk for 69th on the All-Time home run list. Nate Schierholtz followed with a bloop single to left. Schierholtz was thrown out trying to steal second to end the inning.

Travis Wood gave up a two-out single to Todd Helton in the second, but that was all. Wood threw 36 pitches, 23 for strikes, over the first two frames.

The Cubs jumped on Juan Nicasio in the second and scored three more runs thanks to three doubles. Ransom was caught looking to start the inning. Welington Castillo worked a 3-1 count then pulled a double into the left field corner. Barney grounded out to short, Castillo advanced to third and trotted home when Travis Wood pulled a 2-0 pitch into the gap in left center. The ball rolled all the way to the wall and Wood ended up a second. DeJesus walked.

Starlin Castro placed a 1-0 pitch down the right field line. Wood and DeJesus scored, 5-0 Cubs, on Castro’s ninth double of the year. Anthony Rizzo launched a 0-1 pitch to deep right that Charlie Blackmon hauled in with his back to the vines to end the inning.

At the end of two, the Cubs led 5-0 … and the game remained 5-0 Cubs through the top of the seventh inning.

The Rockies did not put a runner into scoring position until the seventh inning when Travis Wood began running out of gas. Wood issued a pair walks in the seventh before retiring Todd Helton on a flyout to center for the third out.

The Cubs tacked on to their lead in the seventh. Starlin Castro reached on a one-out infield single to the hole at second base. Anthony Rizzo followed with a single to left center (3-2 pitch). Castro advanced to third with one out. Adam Ottavino struck out Alfonso Soriano swinging for the second out.

Nate Schierholtz lined a 0-1 pitch down the left field line. Carlos Gonzalez slipped near the sidewall, the ball bounced away and both Castro and Rizzo scored on Schierholtz’s first triple of the season. Cody Ransom flied out to right for the third out.

At the end of seven, the Cubs led 7-0.

Kyuji Fujikawa struck out two of the three batters he faced in the eighth.

Welington Castillo led off the Cubs’ eighth with the team’s sixth double of the game. Darwin Barney reached on an infield single to third. Nolan Arenado fielded the ball behind the bag, bluffed his throw to first to try to get Castillo to break. Barney reached first without a throw. Wilton Lopez retired Julio Borbon on a grounder to second. Castillo and Barney moved to second and third then scored on a single to right by David DeJesus … 9-0 Cubs. Starlin Castro walked but Rizzo grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.

Carlos Marmol took over in the ninth with a 9-0 lead.

Josh Rutledge broke-up the shutout with a one-out homer to left center. Marmol retired three of the four batters he faced … including striking out both Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki swinging to end the game.

Carlos Villanueva faces lefty Jeff Francis in game two on Tuesday night.

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Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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  • Thomas Doughty

    Where would we be now if we didn’t have all those blown saves at the beginning of the year?

    • triple

      They easily would be a .500 team.

      Since Kevin Gregg was brought up, the bullpen has completely stabilized themselves. And now with Fujikawa back, it should improve even more. Once Garza returns, I think the BP may start to look very respectable, dare I say, become a strength?

      9th inning – Gregg
      8th inning – Fujikawa
      6th/7th – Villanueva (if he is in fact the odd man out when Garza returns), Marmol, Russell*, Camp, Rondon. *Obviously Russell will be inserted anywhere he’s needed most before the 9th inning.

      I’m very impressed with the starting rotation, and really gotta give a hand to Chris Bosio for this.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        Absolutely. This team is getting ready to surprise people. We’re really building a head of steam and yes we could easily be over .500 right now.

      • Brp921

        I agree about Bosio. I was never that impressed or sold on him untill Travis Wood went public crediting him in helping him turn things around.

      • paulcatanese

        Gregg is getting it done. But think it’s with smoke and mirrors. Hope it doesn’t catch up to him, but probably will.

        • triple

          Paul, you definitely are more educated than me on matters like this. Can you elaborate on why you say “smoke and mirrors?”

          I haven’t seen him pitch much (only WGN and nat’l televised games), but from looking at his stats, his walk rate is about the same as his career, he’s never given up a lot of HR’s (except the previous year he was with the Cubs), and has never given up an extraordinary amount of extra-base hits. As far as his WHIP being much lower, I think it’s due to him striking out much more batters than he has in the past, so effectively, those hits have turned into K’s (or outs). Have people hit him hard, but just fielders being in the right positions? From what I’ve seen, he hasn’t been in any Carlos Marmol implosion situations and just barely escaped them has he? Like I said about the starting rotation, maybe Chris Bosio has something to do with Gregg’s success? It seams like their pitchers that get kudos from the staff for “following the game plan” have been very good this year!

  • Tony_Hall

    Can all the people who called the Sean Marshall trade such a bad deal, now finally admit that it was a steal?

    Trade – LH set-up guy with 1 year of control

    Receive – LH Starting pitcher who has started the year with 8 straight quality starts (most of them have been way better than quality start standards) and he can hit! Plus we received a 4th/5th OF option who has been to the majors (failed miserably) and a 2B who is up to AA and can just hit.

    T Wood 26 years old

    3 more years of control

    4-2 W-L

    2.03 ERA – 0.90 WHIP

    53 Innings so far this year

    I liked Marhsall, but he has only pitched 66 innings since being traded over the 2 seasons. (Now for the disclaimer that I don’t believe that Wood will keep his WHIP and ERA at this insanely great level all season, as even the stud ace pitchers numbers increase as the season goes on when they start out as great as Travis)

    • 07GreyDigger

      I think a trade is a win anytime you can get that kind of value for a set-up guy with 1 year of control. Even if you flip Sappelt and Torres down the line for more value it’ll get even better. If they had kept Marshall last season, they may have avoided 100 losses, but not by much.

    • Ray Ray

      I like Wood but again the question with him is his second half when the weather heats up and the ball carries. Just like Bruce Miles just tweeted….Wood has a 45.2 FB % and only a .186 BABIP. I understand your disclaimer but he needs to be much better than last years 2nd half. The FO needs to decide if Wood has turned the corner or he pitching above his head due to the elements. I would still throw his name out there and see if a team blows you away at the deadline.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        It was a great trade for us. It was one of those immediately in the aftermath of Ryno not being hired, Theo could have traded Marlon Byrd for Mike Trout and many would have boo’ed it.

        I think we’ve got to be approaching a point where we start giving the front office the benefit of the doubt and having some faith in their decisions. They’re hitting much more than they’re missing.

        • Ray Ray

          that’s a little extreme. As I said, I like Wood. I like how he competes and athleticism. Is he pitching above his head by a lot or a little. That is the key question. He is a fly ball pitcher and can control the HR ball in the second half? To me Sappelt is nothing and Torreyes is still a ?. His average is down to .274 in AA. He only hit .260 something last year. But again……If they can flip Wood for a top prospect or If they keep him and he becomes a steady starter then it is still a Win as far as the trade goes. The fact that Wood has been as good as he has is enough to be a great trade for the Cubs.

          • John_CC

            Obviously he pitching over his head. He is putting up top-of-the rotation stats right now, aside from the Ks. He’s been luck with the low BABIP.

            BUT that doesn’t mean the trade was not a complete steal. I don’t think anyone ever thought that Wood would be better than #4 pitcher. Even after the “regression” he will still be a very good #4 SP.

            Dare I say that he reminds me of Maddux? Not with his stuff of course, but he is a very smart pitcher, a great athlete and I love that he is a hitter and smart base-runner.

            Quite a return for a LH set-up guy.

          • Ray Ray

            I did say that it was a great trade based on Wood alone. I was pointing out that they might want to put his name out there to trade. As noted..he is a fly ball pitcher and he gives up a lot of HR’s. Maybe a team with a ballpark more suited to fit his style will give up a couple of really good prospects for him.

        • DWalker

          Never! That bunch of rank amatuers can’t possibly have gotten lucky more than once. Its inconcevable that they might have made good trades based on statistics, scouting and baseball knowledge! Its just not possible!

          • 07GreyDigger

            Haha.

        • Brp921

          You should really reconsider you opinion about the Ryne Sandberg theory.I was as mad as anyoneand still am but I give Theo credit when I feel it’s due and a lot of other peoplewho were upset do to

          • Brp921

            Sorry about the punctuation I’m using my phone right now.

      • paulcatanese

        I would say the Cubs should hold on to
        him. He is a lefty number one and so far a good one.
        If they keep trading these guys away for prospects it’s just going in reverse direction. Wood has a lot more upside than down. Any trade for him would have to be as you have said one that would blow the Cubs away.
        He actually has more to offer (at this point) than Garza who has yet to pitch this year.
        I understand that Garza would probably not bring much in return vs Wood.
        But the Cubs seem to be building a pretty good staff and I would hate to see them break it up at this point.

        • Ray Ray

          I know what you are saying Paul but remember his second half last year? Maybe they can sell high on this guy now and get a future #3 and a future starting 3B(example). Otherwise you hold onto him.

          • triple

            I think he’s worth the risk to hold on to. Like Paul mentioned, being a left-hander really adds some value in keeping him. As far as last year, he really just had a terrible July. He recovered in August (but was still a little below average), and actually pitched really well in September. I think if he can get through this season with an ERA in the 3’s, and above .500 winning %, he would be a keeper. Lefties don’t grow on trees, and the good ones are hard to find. And as far as what they can get for him in a trade, I don’t think teams will be willing to just give away good prospects who are close to being ready (or top prospects who are still years away). If Wood has a good season this year, and continues to produce next year, then that may be the case at the trade deadline in ’14, or ’15 if he sticks around and keeps doing his job.

      • Tony_Hall

        The FO gauges value of all players at different times of the year. T Wood has too many years of control left to trade him without getting a very good return.

        • Ray Ray

          Someone brought up Travis Wood on MLBTR chat today and asked about Wood’s future and locking him up. I hope other teams think more of Wood than that guy but he basically said he is a 4.00 ERA guy and back end starter and expressed there was no need to lock up a guy like that. If you can sell high on the guy now, I think you have to consider that.

  • J Daniel

    Will Wood be a trade candidate at the deadline or is a a guy that they will keep knowing that he is probably a #4 at best and realistically a #5/Lefty in rotation?

    At some point they need to hold pieces that are part of the solution but I know they are still a long way away.

    • Ray Ray

      Agreed as I have said the same thing over the last week. You don’t have to deal Wood now but see what his value is to another team. I like him and you can always use a young controllable lefty in your rotation who can give you quality starts. But……if you can fill 2 holes on your major league roster with near ready prospects by trading him then you have to consider that.

      • 07GreyDigger

        That’s a good point. I think Wood is kind of in the middle right now and it’s a good bet to think no one is safe.