'Best starter in baseball,' Sveum sings Wood's praises
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Travis Wood is the goods.
In fact, Wood has been better than good for the Cubs this season.
"He's the best starter in baseball, pretty much," manager Dale Sveum said Tuesday night after Wood and his team beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 at Wrigley Field. "Yeah, he's got it. He's figured it out."
That might be a bit of a stretch to say Wood is the best, but there's no denying he has been impressive. He turned in his seventh quality start in 7 outings, working 6 innings and giving up 5 hits and 1 run, a second-inning homer to Allen Craig.
Wood's teammate, Nate Schierholtz, finished the scoring and made a winner of Wood with a 2-run homer in the fourth. Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg (fifth save in 5 chances) preserved a "W" for Wood, who is 3-2 with a 2.33 ERA.
"Right now, it's feeling awesome," Wood said. "Going out every game, if you don't have one pitch, you're able to overcome it with another pitch and having good command of those pitches. I'm hoping I can stay with it for as long as possible."
Wood, a lefty, has worked 46 innings this season, giving up only 29 hits while walking 14 and striking out 34. He impressed his manager with this latest effort.
"That was probably the best because that's the best right-handed hitting lineup you're going to face," Sveum said. "The numbers those guys have against left-handed pitching is about as good as it's going to get. That was very, very impressive again."
The only real stressful inning Wood had was the fourth, when shortstop Starlin Castro's sixth error of the season forced Wood to throw 10 extra pitches, giving him 24 that inning.
Wood exited with two outs in the seventh inning, having thrown a total of 114 pitches. Marmol, the beleaguered former closer, gave up a single to Carlos Beltran but got Matt Holliday to fly out.
Marmol worked around a soft flyball single to Yadier Molina and a two-out walk to John Jay in the eighth. Molina already had stolen second base, and with Pete Kozman batting, he broke for third. But Marmol stepped off and threw to third base to catch Molina.
"The first couple pitches, he was trying to take more of a lead," Marmol said. "But (Welington) Castillo gave me the sign, and we got him."
But it all started with the starter: Wood.
"That's a really good lineup," he said. "I was fortunate enough to locate pitches and have good command and keep them off-balance and end up having a good game.
"Being able to throw the four-seamer inside and to cut it off that, that way they couldn't sit there and try to dive on anything away. It was just a back-and-forth game tonight, but I felt like it went pretty well for us."
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