Travis Wood Rocked, Cubs End First Half with a Loss to Atlanta – Braves 10, Cubs 7

Game Ninety-Four: Cubs 7, Braves 10

WP – Julio Teheran (9-6) LP – Travis Wood (7-8) Save – Craig Kimbrel (29)

Travis Wood picked up where Edwin Jackson left off Saturday. The Braves pounded Travis Wood early, tacked on late and the offense could not put enough runs on the board as the Cubs ended the unofficial first-half of the season with a loss to Atlanta.

Travis Wood wrapped up the first half of his season with an outing that has been all too familiar this year. Wood struggled with throwing strikes, walked too many batters and put his team in an early hole they simply could not dig out of.

Travis Wood gave up seven runs in two innings and walked the leadoff batter in three straight innings including the Braves’ pitcher, Julio Teheran. Wood’s command was off and when he was able to get ahead of hitters when the game was still in question, he could not put them away.

PrintTravis Wood allowed seven runs on seven hits, one home run, three walks and four strikeouts. Wood threw 104 pitches, 66 for strikes, in six innings. Wood followed a bad outing from Edwin Jackson with one of his own. Len Kasper pointed out that according to Elias, the last two games were the first time the Cubs allowed 10 or more runs in consecutive home games since 2000. The All-Star break will give Travis Wood a much needed breather as he tries to get back on track starting Saturday night in Arizona.

Zac Rosscup struggled in the seventh inning and gave up three runs in his first appearance back from the minors. Rosscup walked the leadoff hitter before giving up a one-out double to Justin Upton. After striking out Jason Heyward for the second out, Rosscup walked Chris Johnson intentionally to load the bases with two outs. Rosscup could not retire the third lefty of the inning. Tommy La Stella hit a bases clearing double. Rosscup was charged with three runs on two hits with two walks and two strikeouts in two thirds of an inning.

Justin Grimm, Wesley Wright and Neil Ramirez kept the Braves off the board over the last 2 1/3 innings.

The offense managed only two hits over the first six innings, before Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5 with a double, a home run and two RBI) broke up the shutout with his first big league homer. Alcantara hit a 0-2 breaking ball from Julio Teheran over the wall in right with Chris Coghlan (2-for-4 with a home run, a walk, two RBI and two runs scored) along for the ride.

Chris Coghlan made it a 10-4 game in the seventh with his fifth homer of the season with Junior Lake at first base after he reached on a two-out single.

The Cubs scored three runs in the eighth on a bases loaded walk by Ryan Sweeney (0-for-3 with a walk and a RBI) that forced in Anthony Rizzo (1-for-5 with a run scored) and a two-run double by John Baker (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) that allowed Luis Valbuena (1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) and Sweeney to score. The Cubs scored seven runs on nine hits with five walks.

The Cubs ended up with a 1-5 record in the season series against the Braves.

With Sunday’s loss (4-10 on Sunday in 2014), the Cubs dropped to 40-54 on the season.

After the Cubs could not cash in two walks and a double by Arismendy Alcantara in the first inning, Travis Wood began his second inning of work by walking Justin Upton (3-2 pitch). Upton’s nine-pitch at bat appeared to take Wood out of his game. Jason Heyward hit a broken-bat roller toward second. Alcantara fielded the ball cleanly and flipped to Castro, but the Cubs did not have a shot for a double play with Heyward hustling down the line. Chris Johnson lined a 2-0 pitch into left center for a single. With runners on first and second with one down, Tommy La Stella hit a liner off Wood. The ball rolled toward the first base bag. Rizzo tried to pick it up, but could not and the Braves had the bases loaded with one out. Gerald Laird pulled a 0-1 pitch down the left field line. Heyward and Johnson scored, 2-0 Braves. With runners on second and third with one out, Renteria brought his infield in with Julio Teheran due up. The Braves pitcher swung away and chopped a 0-2 pitch off the plate. The ball took a big bounce and by the time it came down for Valbuena, Simmons scored, 3-0 Braves. Valbuena threw out Teheran as Laird advanced to third. B.J. Upton bunted back to Wood for the third out. Wood threw 34 pitches, 23 for strikes, over the first two innings.

The Cubs went down in order in the second and after two innings the Cubs trailed 3-0.

Travis Wood’s day went from bad to worse in the third inning, and the Braves removed any doubt in the outcome of Sunday’s game. Wood issued a four-pitch walk to Simmons to start the inning. Freddie Freeman struck out swinging. Justin Upton singled to left and put two on for Heyward. Wood could not put Heyward away and he singled to right on a 2-2 pitch. Simmons scored, 4-0 Braves. Chris Johnson launched another homer off Cubs’ pitching and his three-run shot into the bushes in centerfield made it 7-0 Braves. Wood struck out La Stella and Laird flied out to center to finally end the inning. Wood threw 64 pitches, 42 for strikes, over three innings.

The Cubs went down quickly and quietly in the third … 43 pitches, 23 for strikes, for Julio Teheran in three innings.

After three innings, the Cubs had one hit and were being thumped 7-0.

The Braves took the 7-0 lead into the sixth inning. Travis Wood settled down after the third and kept the Braves off the board while the Cubs offense managed only a John Baker single after Arismendy Alcantara’s double in the first inning.

Chris Coghlan led off the sixth with a single to right, the Cubs’ third hit of the game. Arismendy Alcantara followed and launched a 0-2 breaking ball from Julio Teheran over the wall in right. Alcantara’s first big league homer, was rather impressive, and put the Cubs on the board. Rizzo grounded out to first, Castro grounded out to third and Luis Valbuena singled to left. But Justin Ruggiano popped out to Tommy La Stella in foul ground to end the inning.

After six innings, the Braves had a very comfortable 7-2 lead.

Zac Rosscup replaced Wood for the seventh inning and for the fourth time in seven innings a Cubs’ pitcher walked the leadoff hitter. Rosscup issued a free pass to Andrelton Simmons. Rosscup struck out Freeman swinging but Ryan Sweeney made a very poor decision and tried to make a diving catch on a blooper to right off the bat of Justin Upton. Sweeney was not close to catching the ball, it skipped past him and the Braves had runners on second and third with one out. Rosscup struck out Heyward swinging. Chris Johnson was intentionally walked and Rosscup fell behind the lefty Tommy La Stella. The Braves’ second baseman pulled a 3-2 pitch into the gap in right center … and cleared the bases. Simmons, Upton and Johnson scored, 10-2 Braves. Renteria decided that was enough for Rosscup and went to his pen for Justin Grimm. Laird flied out to right to finally end the inning.

After Teheran retired Sweeney (grounder to first) and Baker (strikeout) quickly to start the seventh inning, Junior Lake reached on a single to right. Lake smoked a 2-2 pitch toward second that La Stella could not handle. Chris Coghlan followed with a homer to right and made it a 10-4 score. Alcantara grounded out to second to end the inning.

The Cubs were well behind after seven innings, 10-4.

Justin Grimm tossed a scoreless eighth and Anthony Rizzo led off the home-half with a single to left. Castro and Valbuena worked walks and loaded the bases with no outs. Mike Olt was sent up to hit for Grimm and Fredi Gonzalez went to his pen and replaced Luis Avilan with Shae Simmons. Olt struck out swinging. Ryan Sweeney worked a walk. Rizzo scored and made it a 10-5 game. Gonzalez went back to his pen for Jordan Walden. Starlin Castro made a bad decision and tried to score on a wild pitch with Baker at the plate. Laird gathered the ball and tossed to Walden just ahead of a headfirst-sliding Castro. Castro was called out, the Cubs challenged but the call was upheld. John Baker doubled to right, Valbuena and Sweeney scored and made it a 10-7 Braves lead. Lake flied out to center to end the inning.

The game went to the ninth with the Cubs down 10-7.

Wesley Wright and Neil Ramirez combined on a scoreless ninth, but the Cubs did nothing against Craig Kimbrel in the ninth. Justin Upton took away an extra basehit from Alcantara for the second out in the inning as he went into the ivy and collided with the bricks to catch the ball.

The Cubs are off for the All-Star break until Friday night (8:40pm CDT). Edwin Jackson is scheduled to start the first of three games in Arizona against the Diamondbacks.

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Travis Wood, with today’s performance, has now equalled Edwin Jackson’s road ERA. Both sport a 6.05 ERA. What’s disturbing is Wood’s BB stats:
    55 IP, 25 BB, only 35K. His WHIP is 1.75.

    Jackson: 55 IP, 25 BB, 47 K. 1.58 WHIP.

    • Zonk

      That’s why I can’t figure out why fans are all over E-Jax but Wood seems to get a pass. He’s been worse this year than E-Jax in advanced metrics.

      Our pitching staff right now is Arrieta, and 4 questions marks

      • Swish23

        The bigger question is these are Theo’s picks. Everyone just assumes we’ll find pitching; since all the elite prospects are hitters; yet this FO has added these 2, Scott Baker, injured Fujikawa, wasted 6M on Gereardo Concepcion, and Jake Arrieta has 11 good starts; in the name of Rich Hill who cares; major issues for further pitching.

        • Tony_H

          Yet again this year they put together a solid rotation until they traded away 40% of the rotation for the 3rd year in a row.

          • Patrick_Schaefer

            You mean besides Edwin Jackson and Villanueva as a fill in. Wood has really fallen off the last month badly.

          • Tony_H

            I am basing it on the SP stats when they traded Samardzija and Hammel. They were Top 5.

          • Ripsnorter1

            You are over-crediting Team Theo. Each year they traded a Jim Hendry hold over, plus one pitcher that was hoping for a come back.

            2014–Samardzija and Hammels.
            2013, Garza and Feldman.
            2012–Dempster and Maholm.

            Next year, there will be no JHendry holdovers to trade away, are there?

            What’s so solid about the 2014 Travis Wood, 2014 Ed Jackson (for that matter, 2013 either), and Arrieta? Arrieta has been very solid thus far, but its a short run–not even half a year just yet.

          • Tony_H

            I wish they would have just traded away every player they inherited so we didn’t have to hear this old, lame argument again and again. All GM’s inherit players, they can’t trade them all away, but it is what they do with them that is their stamp on that player.

            Samardzija was a bullpen arm for JH, you have to give credit to Team Theo as you call them, for not leaving him in the bullpen.

            Garza was injured far too much to not give more credit to the rest of the guys getting starts. The return that Theo and Jed got for Garza after not dumping him when his value was low is incredible.

            And look at the return for Dempster when he had veto power on trades, thanks to JH. Hendricks and Villanueva is pretty good when you have no leverage.

          • Tony_H

            Top 5 rotation before the 4th of July trade. Even though so many were saying that this rotation would be awful. Yes Wood has had a down year and EJAX is bad, but we all knew they would trade away Samardzija and Hammell and create rotation spots for guys like Hendricks, Beeler or Wada.

            I believe they will once again put together a rotation for 2015 that will be more than competitive.

        • RynoTiger

          I’d be interested in your critique of what they have added through the draft and trades in regards to pitching since we know that the list you mentioned are not the only pitchers they’ve added.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Last year gives him a pass. Fans haven’t forgotten just yet.
        Ed Jackson hasn’t done anything for us, so he’s easily blasted.

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      Wood pitched decent for awhile this year he has been horrible the last month maybe month and a half

  • cubtex

    40-54 at the break. Travis Wood and EJax being 2/5 of rotation in 2nd half with a combination of Hendricks,Wada and Beeler to go along with Arrieta. 61 wins in 2012. 66 last year. They need to go 31-37 in second half to continue that steady 5 game improvement per year.

    • Ripsnorter1

      That’s way too much to ask–31-37 in the second half. You know that only Arrieta is decent, and you also know that he cannot keep it up. He’ll come back down to earth.

      So you’ve got a pitcher with a 4.00 ERA (Arrieta) as your ace.
      Ed jackson.
      Travis Wood.
      Wada–4.50 ERA probably
      Beeler–5.00 ERA
      Hendricks–6.23 ERA

      They might not win 25 games in the second half.

      • Craig York

        4 ERA for Arrieta?

        • Ripsnorter1

          From here on out, I think an ERA of 4.00 is reasonable.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Cubtex once said that this 2014 team is the worst team that Team Theo has fielded. There is only one player that could threaten that assessment, in my mind: Arismendy Alcantara.

      • cubtex

        Alcantara should play everyday the rest of the year. No reason whatsoever to send him down.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Fully agree with that.

    • Tony_H

      Let’s hope they don’t do that and can make a run at #1 pick.

      • cubtex

        don’t think they can do that. Team will suck in the 2nd half. As long as they draft the “best” player with the #1 pick…I am right there with you.

  • DWalker

    What factors really changed for wood this year over last year?

    • Ripsnorter1

      Control. He is not hitting his spots. His stuff isn’t good enough to win without hitting his spots. He’s walking too many, and has been prone to the gopher ball. These are the same problems he has faced his entire career. Last year he had pin-point control, but not this year.