Box Score / Highlights

Star of the Game – Travis Wood – .278 (WPA)


Travis Wood
My last recap wasn’t terribly complimentary of Jeff Samardzija. Conversely, I have nothing but great things to say about Travis Wood. If you had to pick today, he’s the Cubs’ All-Star and it’s not really close. Even if Castro or Rizzo (or anyone else for that matter) winds up being selected for the team, Wood is making a strong case that he belongs. Eight starts in 2013, eight quality starts. He has surrendered 3 earned runs one time; it’s been 0, 1, or 2 in each of the other seven starts. He’s thrown more than 100 pitches just twice, even though he’s AVERAGING 6.2 IP. He’s been phenomenal; perhaps his best performance was Monday night against Colorado.

Not only did he pitch 7 innings, no runs, and only two hits; he was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. The Rockies haven’t had difficulty hitting LHP in 2013, either. Sporting a .277 team average against lefties, it didn’t matter; they couldn’t get to Travis Wood.

Offense
Timely hitting has returned to the Cubs in recent days. They were 6-for-18 on Monday with RISP, including some unlikely hits from the aforementioned Wood and Darwin Barney. Six different Cubs had 2 hits apiece and DeJesus and Castro each reached base on 3 occasions. It all led to nine runs, which was more than enough with Wood on the mound.

Relief
You may see that Marmol gave up a run in the ninth that cost the Cubs the shutout. I say he had a good outing though – it was a solo HR, and in part it was because he was throwing strikes. Of his 16 pitches, 11 were strikes – and with a 9-run lead, I can forgive a solo homer. It was the first run he’s given up since May 4th, and that means he’s only given up 4 runs total since being demoted from the ‘closer’ role.

Kyuji Fujikawa also pitched. He also threw strikes. And he has also looked good lately – returning to the Cubs on the 10th.

Improvement
The Cubs are 12-13 since staring 4-9 and currently on pace for 68 wins. The Rockies were their fifth different opponent in 8 days, with a weekend trip to Washington coming awkwardly in the middle of a homestand. With the next 5 at Wrigley and then a trip to Pittsburgh, the Cubs are again set up nicely to rack up a few wins. When you get a good start like the Cubs did on Monday night from Travis Wood, it makes you a bit more optimistic…

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