Results tagged ‘ Travis Wood ’
I’m not going to say that Scott Feldman making the Cubs rotation is surprise, I just expected to be writing about it at the end of a very competitive camp, not before it even starts. Patrick Mooney reported today that Dale Sveum has penciled Scott Feldman into the rotation behind “the big three” of Garza, Samardzija, and Edwin Jackson. Yes, barring a step back from Samardzija, a blown apart Garza elbow, and an Edwin Jackson disaster, the Cubs can actually be considered as a team that has a big three at the top of the rotation. At this point, if you look at the top three for the other teams in the Central Division, I like the Cubs. They have three power arms at the top, and now, according to Sveum they have Scott Feldman following them. “Feldman’s going to be one of the starters,” Sveum said Thursday. “There’s an above-average chance Baker’s going to probably start a little bit late, just because you don’t want to really rush him. There’s no need for anything like that.” The words from Sveum today caught me a little off guard because the one word that I think describes this Cubs camp the best is competition, not saying there still won’t be plenty of it, I just expected more of it before naming Feldman to the rotation. As Mooney says in his article, both Feldman and Baker were promised a chance to redeem themselves this year as starters, so one would think that gives them the inside track. Not so fast, if we have learned anything from this Cubs organization since Theo took over is that they are calculated, everything they do has a reason or four behind it. Sveum continued with the comment of “there are no guarantees” in the rotation behind Garza, Samardzija, and Jackson, so what Sveum is saying in my opinion is that Feldman, and Baker for that matter, will be slotted in the rotation but if they give the coaching staff any reason to doubt that they belong there they will be bumped for someone who deserves it. So my final thought on this is expect there to be plenty of competition all Spring long, and don’t be surprised if Feldman doesn’t start the season as a starter, for my money, I think he will, but don’t count out Carlos Villanueva, or Travis Wood quite yet.
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Seems like just yesterday we here at Born on Third were getting ready to cover Opening Day, and just like that it’s over. Crazy how time flies, and I didn’t expect it to go so fast given how bad the Cubs were this year. I was expecting just the opposite, for it to drag on and on, and I guess it did towards the end there but the reality of no Cubs baseball for four months is starting to sink in. Let’s take a look back at some of the surprises and disappointments that we all barely lived through, this season.
Let’s start with the disappointments, there were plenty of them, I mean the team lost 101 games, you know how hard it was to write about 101 losses!? Sure the record was disappointing, but one could argue that it was expected, maybe 101 losses wasn’t expected, but the Cubs were going to be one of the worst teams in the league, we knew that. Let’s dig a little deeper into that futility, we should probably put on a Haz-Mat suit before doing so. The one thing we heard all offseason was this new “Cubs Way” – well that was thrown out there to mean a lot of things, one being patience, no not by the fans (we do need that though), but by the Cubs as a whole at the plate. So how did that go, you ask? Not very good, the Cubs drew 447 walks this season, that comes out to less than three a game, and was good for the fourth fewest in all of baseball. You could probably guess that the Cubs OBP was terrible as well, it was, the Cubs as a team had a .302 OBP this year, 2nd worst in baseball. This is something that has to change, and it will on Theo’s watch, I believe that it will. It’s hard to see that vision come to fruition however when the team on the field in “year one” was so terribly bad at it, or just refused to do it.
Let’s take a look at some poor individual performances…
Volstad, acquired in the Carlos Zambrano trade was a disaster, I can’t even say that he showed flashes of brilliance, maybe a flash, but not flashes. Volstad finished the season 3-12 with a 6.31 ERA, I can’t even spin that into anything positive. Volstad had a huge opportunity this year and took a step back, but all is not lost on the gigantic right hander. He will have every opportunity to pitch for this team next year, that is squarely on his shoulders, his huge shoulders, seriously, look at a picture of the guy pitching, it’s cartoonish.
For the first month or so of the season it looked as if Dolis’ name was going to end up on the surprise portion of the year-end recap, then things went bad. Dolis lost the strike zone, in doing so his confidence disappeared and his ERA sky rocketed. Dolis went from being the closer of the Cubs after taking over for Carlos Marmol to pitching and struggling at Triple-A. Dolis was called back up to finish off the season but the numbers were not good. He finished the year 2-4 with a 6.39 ERA and four saves. He does have one thing the Cubs need in the pen, a power arm, so he will have a shot to pitch for this team next year at 25 years old. If he wants to do so he has to clean up the walks, as he issued 23 in just 38 innings at the big league level this year.
I debated singling him out here, only because he was clearly hurt since last year in Colorado so I’m not sure how much we can really take from his season. But a lot more was expected from Ian Stewart, on the plus side he did play above average defense at third base. His season was shortened by much-needed wrist surgery, he finished the year hitting 5 home runs and 17 RBI’s. He did show the ability to work the count and take a walk, but at third base he was and will be expected to be a source of production. It remains to be seen if the Cubs will keep Stewart in their plans moving forward, I would like to see what a healthy Ian Stewart could do.
Other guys that I would say had disappointing years would be Darwin Barney’s bat, a sub .300 OBP from him is not acceptable. Lendy Castillo had a 7+ ERA, but Castillo is so young and could be a huge part of this teams bullpen when they are contending. Steve Clevenger took a nose dive after a very strong start, Starlin Castro’s mental lapses and subsequent errors. I think Castro improved greatly defensively, I think the errors were a result of focus or lack thereof. Should I mention the 12 game losing streak? I just did.
Now onto the positives, sure there were some.
He lived up to the hype, and there was plenty of it heading into the season and that hype only grew as he tore the cover off the ball in Iowa. He finally was called up to the Cubs on 6/26/2012, he had two hits in that game and never really looked back. Rizzo finished the campaign hitting .285 with 15 home runs, and 48 RBI’s in 87 games, so just over half a Major League season. The biggest thing here is that Rizzo showed the ability to adjust to major league pitchers. I’m not just talking about rebounding from last years dud with the Padres, this year he had a few skids but came out of those before they became too overwhelming. He is the Cubs 2013 starting first baseman, and will be for many years to come.
Wow. There really is no other word to describe his 2012 season, I guess shocked would apply to me. I was just that, shocked at what Soriano was able to accomplish not only with the bat, but with the glove. Soriano made one error all season, think about that for a second. This is the same guy that made 11 in 2009, 7 in 2010, and 7 in 2011, he worked his butt off and showed real improvement. Offensively he set a career high in RBI’s with 108, folks the Cubs only scored 613 runs as a team this season. Soriano also found the long ball again hitting 32 home runs, the most in one season since he hit 33 in 2007. There’s no telling he has earned the right to be back here next year, and that is somewhat up to him, but we will see how the Cubs deal with him in the coming months.
I really don’t care what other people think of him, but Starlin Castro had a fantastic year, and a couple of mental lapses got in the way of making it something really special. Castro became the first Cubs shortstop to play in all 162 games, ever. That shows me that he wants to be out there, mental errors can come with that kind of workload, he probably needed a day off here or there to avoid some of that but he just kept going out there. Castro hit .283 with 14 home runs (a career high), and 78 RBI’s (a career high), he also had 29 doubles and 12 triples for good measure. Castro inked a 7 year extension during the season, he will be a Cub for a long time, and that is a good thing.
There are a number of other guys that deserve to be mentioned as bright spots this year. Darwin Barney’s glove, Barney tied a major league record for consecutive error-less games at 141, and got to everything on the infield it seemed. Carlos Marmol’s second half, after a terrible first half Marmol finished the season strong and looked to be back to his un-hittable self late in the year. Travis Wood stepped into the rotation and did an adequate job for this team, if he can replicate those numbers or even improve upon them he can be a serviceable back of the rotation guy for the Cubs. Bryan LaHair’s first half was fun while it lasted, and earned him a trip to the all-star game, no reason to ignore that. Welington Castillo played his way into the 2013 starting lineup behind the plate as
It was a trying year for many, Dale Sveum included, and as I said around the all-star break I think Dale Sveum gets an incomplete for this season. There was not enough talent on this team to win baseball games, not matter how he managed them. What I did like seeing was the compete level of this team on most nights, sure over the course of a 162 game season there are going to be lackluster efforts. For the most part this team really never gave up, I will be interested to see how Sveum does when he starts getting pieces he can use to compete in games on a consistent basis, that’s when he can accurately be judged as a manager. I could have written about so much more but I think that sums up enough of what happened this season without going on forever, I’m really excited about the direction of this team, most of that excitement stems from the minor league system which we will continue to profile all offseason. Patience is still something fans will have to have as the Cubs are not going to have a team ready to be a contender next year. Sure, they should improve, and that’s what we need to look for, and it’s important we see that, one step at a time, thankfully for all of us I think the worst part just ended.
Thanks for reading all season long, we don’t take breaks so we will have great Cubs coverage all offseason for you. Go Cubs!
After falling behind by two runs early the Cubs were able to tie things up at two in the fifth inning. But, the Cubs couldn’t get a shutdown inning in the bottom half as the Diamondbacks pushed across three runs to take a 5-2 lead and they never looked back on their way to a 8-3 victory. Travis Wood got the start for the Cubs and didn’t have his best stuff as he could only last five innings giving up five runs on five hits while walking three and striking out two. The Cubs wasted a really good opportunity as well as Ian Kennedy clearly had less than his best as he walked six guys and couldn’t make it through the sixth. Dave Sappelt was the majority of the Cubs offense in this one as he finished the night 1-for-5 with his second home run of the season, he is now hitting .288 since his September call up. Starlin Castro continued his strong finish to the season as well as he had three hits in the loss, including his 27th double of the season. I guess the big news of the night was the error-less streak of Darwin Barney coming to an end. Barney’s streak ends at 141 games which ties the Major League record (Placido Polanco), and falls one inning short of holding it by himself. If that doesn’t sum up this season I don’t know what does, nice streak Darwin.
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After getting swept by the Rockies, the Cubs will now travel to Arizona to finish up the road part of their schedule. The Cubs went into the Colorado series looking to put themselves in a good position to lose less than 100 games, unfortunately after the sweep it is starting to look very bleak. The Cubs will attempt to not only win their first road series against a western division team, but unbelievably their first road win against the division. They are currently 0-16 and according to Stats Inc no team has ever gone winless against one division on the road in a single season. It will be tough for the Cubs as we have seen there is basically no pitching left and the offense has been rather quiet, even after going to Colorado. Hope we see the Cubs play hard these last six games and maybe, just maybe win the last two series of the season.
Record: 78-78 (Home 38-37); 3rd in West
Runs Scored: 705 (5th NL)
Team ERA: 3.98 (10th NL)
Last 10: 6-4
Last Series: Lost two of three to the Giants
Record: 59-97 (Road 22-56); 5th in Central
Runs Scored: 596 (14th NL)
Team ERA: 4.92 (14th NL)
Last 10: 1-9
Last Series: Swept by the Rockies
Friday, September 28 – 8:40 PM CST - CSN
Saturday, September 29 – 7:10 PM CST – WGN
Sunday, September 30 – 3:10 PM CST – WGN
Pitching Matchups for the weekend.
Friday, September 28
Cubs: Travis Wood (6-12, 4.23 ERA)
Diamondbacks: Ian Kennedy (14-11, 4.14 ERA)
Saturday, September 29
Cubs: Justin Germano (2-9, 5.65 ERA)
Diamondbacks: Trevor Cahill (12-12, 3.86 ERA)
Sunday, September 30
Cubs: Chris Rusin (1-3, 7.30 ERA)
Diamondbacks: Josh Collmenter (5-3, 3.80 ERA)
Prediction: Cubs lose series 2-1
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One day after the Cubs rallied in the ninth inning to tie the game and win in extra innings the Cardinals did the same thing. After trailing for the majority of the game today the Cubs broke through in the 6th inning, scoring three times to take a 4-3 lead. The Cubs pen held strong into the ninth, that’s when Carlos Marmol blew his first save in his last 20 chances by giving up a one out solo homer to Carlos Beltran to tie the game at four. Jaye Chapman took over in the 10th for the Cubs and after retiring the first two hitters he walked the next two guys which is all the Cardinals needed to take advantage. Jon Jay, who was 0-for-the series ripped a two out double down the right field line to put the Cardinals up for good. For the second straight day a Cubs starter struggled with pitch count, today it was Travis Wood. Wood went five innings giving up three runs on six hits while walking two and striking out seven, he settled for a no decision. Offensively the Cubs couldn’t get much strung together against Adam Wainwright. David DeJesus blasted his 8th home run of the season as he continues to haunt the Cardinals. Dave Sappelt had the biggest hit of the afternoon, an RBI single in the sixth inning to put the Cubs up 4-3, he finished 1-for-3 with a walk. The rubber game of the series will be tomorrow afternoon, which is also Kerry Wood appreciation day.
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Still on a high from yesterday’s comeback/walk-off victory the Cubs will try to win a second straight game over their rival, and continue to play the role of a playoff roadblock. Travis Wood takes the ball for the Cubs today on a cool, and wet day at Wrigley Field, it’s dry now but they are expecting rain at some point today. Here is how the Cubs will line up at 12:05 PM CST on WGN.
1. DeJesus CF
2. Barney 2B
3. Rizzo 1B
4. Soriano LF
5. Castro SS
6. Castillo C
7. Sappelt RF
8. Vitters 3B
9. Wood P
Another series, and another contender heads into Wrigley Field as the Cubs look to finish their 2012 season strong and play spoiler. The Cardinals are hitting their stride once again as they have won four straight and currently hold a 2.5 game lead over Milwaukee for the final wild card spot in the National League. It also sounds like they will be getting a boost to their rotation as Chris Carpenter is slated to make his 2012 debut against the Cubs in game one of the series. Up until the last series against the Reds the Cubs were playing pretty solid baseball, but the bats have gone cold, and the pitching has followed. It should be a good atmosphere at Wrigley all weekend as these games are usually close regardless of the record, and these games mean everything to the Cardinals. I’m expecting an awful lot of Cardinals fans at Wrigley, hopefully the Cubs can keep Wrigley quiet, wait, that doesn’t sound right at all.
Here are the pitching matchups for the series.
Friday September 21, 2012
St. Louis: Chris Carpenter (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Cubs: Chris Volstad (3-10, 6.26)
Saturday September 22, 2012
St. Louis: Adam Wainwright (13-13, 3.97 ERA)
Cubs: Travis Wood (6-12, 4.25 ERA)
Sunday September 23, 2012
St. Louis: Kyle Lohse (15-3, 2.71 ERA)
Cubs: Justin Germano (2-8, 6.17 ERA)
Season Series: Cardinals lead series 8-6
Prediction: Cubs win series 2-1
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I should caution that this is weather permitting as widespread rain is supposed to cover the area by game time, I hope that’s not the case because I want to watch Anthony Rizzo hit baseballs, hard. Travis Wood gets the ball tonight as the Cubs try to win three out of four from the Pirates. I’m sure the Pirates will be very happy to be done with the Cubs this year as they are a big reason why the Pirates are fading down the stretch. Here is how the Cubs will line up tonight behind Travis Wood.
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The Pirates comes to town looking very much like the 2011 version of the club that collapsed down the stretch and finished with a below five hundred record yet again, and nothing like the surging contender earlier in the year. The Pirates sit just two games over five hundred now and are losers of six straight games, three of those against the Cubs in Pittsburgh last week. The Cubs on the other hand are playing solid baseball, winning five out of their last six games, all on the road which is really saying something given how bad they have been away from Wrigley this year. Solid starting pitching and the long ball have paced the Cubs in September as they have ten home runs, 5th most in the National League this month. No one has contributed more to that total than Alfonso Soriano as he has five home runs in just 12 games this month. After being pulled in the third inning two nights ago, and missing yesterday’s game it sounds like Anthony Rizzo will be back in the Cubs lineup tomorrow, that collision could have been much worse.
Here are the pitching matchups for the four game series.
Season Series: Series Tied 6-6
Prediction: Cubs win series 3-1
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There is no slowing down for Alfonso Soriano, sure he would like to see his average a little higher but the aging slugger is putting up some eye-popping numbers this year. With his huge performance last night, which led the Cubs to a 5-1 victory, he is now hitting .260 on the year with 29 home runs and 96 RBI’s, he’s actually within striking distance on the National League lead in RBI’s (102 – Headley). Travis Wood also turned in an outstanding performance to register his 6th win of the season against eleven losses. Wood tossed 7.2 strong innings giving up one run on four hits while walking one and striking out six. Soriano wasn’t the only Cub with a great day at the plate, Dave Sappelt continued his hot play of late. Sappelt was 3-for-3 with a walk, a double, and a run scored, he is now hitting .350 in limited duty since his call up. Last night was the 20th straight day with a game for the Cubs, they have today off before welcoming the Pirates to town this weekend. It was also the last time the Cubs will visit Houston while they are in the National League as they move over to the American League next year. Hitters are probably not too thrilled with the move, but I’m sure some of the pitchers are just fine with it.
Scary Moment for Storey
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