Travis Wood Will Debut Today and Other Bullets

Travis Wood will indeed start for Matt Garza today, who is still under the weather. Garza’s next start has been pushed back all the way to Friday, as he recovers from flu-like symptoms (baseball code for the pukes or the shits).

  • Calling up Wood will require a roster decision, which hopefully isn’t a permanent one (i.e., dumping a guy, or risking dumping a guy), because – by my math – when Garza starts on Friday, he won’t have pitched for 12 days. That means the Cubs could have put Garza on the DL today, and then let him start next Monday. It would be silly to lose a player just so Garza can start three days earlier. Going up and down the roster, it’s tough to figure out just what the move is going to be. Most of the pitchers cannot be freely optioned (except for Rafael Dolis and James Russell, neither of whom is going anywhere), so I wonder if it could be a position player move. Could be something whacky like dumping Blake DeWitt, and then calling up Adrian Cardenas when Wood is ready to go back down.
  • Wood will get his first chance to impress after being acquired in the Sean Marshall trade this Winter. He pitched abysmally in the Spring, and then adequately at AAA Iowa so far this year (the ERA isn’t great, and he’s given up a lot of hits, but his Ks and BBs are solid – also, fly ball pitchers in the PCL = more homers than usual).
  • Jeff Baker must’ve eaten the same sandwich as Garza, because he, too, is feeling the flu-like symptoms. Maybe he’ll go to the DL to make room for Wood?
  • Chris Volstad, who’s fallen victim to one bad inning in five of his six starts this year, concedes he may be having some problems out of the stretch. Dale Sveum agrees. Having watched him, that sounds about right. When guys get on base, something just seems off about his confidence/approach/control/etc. Just off. Let’s get that figured out, guys.
  • Randy Wells, who failed to do much to keep himself in the bigs in his two-start fill-in for Ryan Dempster, keeps on admitting that his own effort and performance is the problem. “I’m trying to do too much,” Wells said, according to the Des Moines Register. “Up there [in the Majors], you’re trying to pitch and not give up runs so you can stay, instead of pitching to your strengths. Down here … maybe I’ve been a little lackadaisical … maybe a little bitter, but baseball is baseball.” The honesty is great, Randy, but, like, how about doing the opposite of what you’re saying? Start not being lackadaisical. Start not being bitter. Stop feeling like you got screwed, and start pitching your way back to the bigs with a renewed vigor. I fully believe that Randy Wells is a big-league-caliber pitcher. He’s just got to remember how to do it.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

43 responses to “Travis Wood Will Debut Today and Other Bullets”

  1. dob2812

    To be fair to Randy, in his first start, he was hammering the bottom part of the zone and having balls called. There’s not much a guy can do when he’s painting the corners with his slider and the umpire is working a strike-zone that ends at the belt. You pitch there, you get hit.

    I don’t have too much interest in the replay-debate. I was watching the Rockies-Dodgers game the other day when that call at first was blown and, hey, I laughed, but it didn’t upset me. Maybe if I was a Dodgers fan, I suppose. Anyway, the point being that the biggest issue I have with human umpires is poor calling of the strike zone. It’s not noticeable that often, but I do think it cost Wells in that first start.

    I didn’t see his second start. But I like him. He’ll be back. Great depth to have.

  2. tim815

    The Cubs ought to play DL roulette for awhile. Wood, Bowden, and Castillo can certainly be shuffled in and out. Wood makes sense, as he seems off, still.

  3. ColoCubFan

    I’ve never understood this business of each umpire having his own personal strike zone. I thought it was anything over the plate between the letters to the knees. That’s how I called little league games when I used to umpire.

    1. tim815

      At least some pitchers (ahem, Tom Glavine) never get five or six extra inches off at least one corner on a routine basis.

      1. ColoCubFan

        Exactly my point. Established pitchers get a much bigger strike zone than the Randy Wells’ of the world.

  4. Justin Jabs

    Now the question is, which of the following jersey combos?

    A) Wood #30, Wood #34
    B) T. Wood #30, Wood #34
    C) T. Wood #30, K. Wood #34
    D) Wood #30, K. Wood #34

  5. Dave

    I’ve ways assumed flu-like symptoms was code for ‘nasty hangover’.

    1. Katie

      It is my house!

    2. tim815

      I thought they used that because children might be scarred by the term “Puking all over everything”.

      1. Hansman1982

        Thatd be preferable to “garza to the 15-day dl since e can’t stop crapping/peeing out of his butt”

  6. Jeff

    Brett, any chance Maholm gets DL’d after the ball he took off his knee? If it’s bothering him, that might make some sense.

    1. Jeff

      Oh great, Not another one. Hey, you need to put a 2 or 3 behind the Jeff…..lol

      :)

      1. PastorJeff

        How’s that? Yes, I really am a pastor…LOL!

  7. czechxican

    Randy’s too damn honest. He’s always been that way. He’s like a Salesman who doesn’t know that your not supposed to tell the customer certain things

    1. Jay Anderson Jr

      That’s the way everybody should be. Reminds me of myself. I say what’s on my mind.

  8. Jay Anderson Jr

    Volstad’s troubles bring us back to the debate of whether there is a such thing as the clutch gene. When you have a pitcher like Holliday or Cliff Lee, with runners on 1st and 3rd, no outs, you still feel like he can get out of it. They’ll give you a strike out and a ground ball and the innings over. Volstad struggles in these situations. He seems unsure of his stuff. He looks good for 2 or 3 innings, then he walks a man and gives up a single, then its all over. This is why I think he’s better for the pen.

    It’s seems funny to me how Wells struggles or Marmol, and Sveum says it unacceptable, but when Volstad struggles he says we’ll have to work through it. This why I understand how Wells feel, though I guess it doesn’t justify his stats. Hopefully he shakes it off and comes back strong.

  9. Blitzenjohn

    Castillo is catching Wood today, per Doug Padilla… :)

  10. Robert

    Brett, I saw last night there was a pretty big discussion in the EBS about a possible Matt Garza trade? some source saying there in “serious” talks with the Yankees and Tigers? Whats your take on this?
    EDIT- Apparently another “Robert” found the source. i need to change my name. ( where Two different Robert’s)

  11. Mrp

    Looks like DeWitt drew the short straw and is getting DFA’d.

  12. Cheryl

    He was lucky he stayed with them this long.

  13. Cheryl

    So after Wood is sent back down, what’s next? or,are there more moves planned – maybe with Garza?

    1. Mrp

      Most likely it is what Brett said in the article, Adrian Cardenas probably comes up and gets a look.

    2. Blitzenjohn

      Cardenas seems logical, but…

  14. dick

    Len and Bob are going to talk about win probabilities in various situations on today’s game. They are hitting on one of the most important “advance” statistics out there, the WPA. I used to calculate this myself, but baseball_reference now has them updated daily. It shows the difference in win probability after a batter has his at bat, or a pitcher faces a batter. One of the great values of this statistic is that you can compare pitchers vs hitters and it really is useful in comparing relief pitchers who come in with the game on the line vs other players. It has its flaws, like any statistic, but it shows some important things that you don’t get from other stats.

    The average player would get a zero in WPA. A positive number is above average performance and a negative number is below average.

    The top 5 Cubs this year are: LaHair +2.1, Mather +1.0, Dempster +0.9, Samardzjia +0.7, and Garza +0.5.

    The bottom 6 Cubs this year are: Marmol -2.0, Volstad -1.4, DeJesus -0.9, Byrd -0.6, Baker -0.5, and Soriano -0.5.

    Last year’s top 6 Cubs were: Ramirez +4.1, Pena +3.2, Marshall +1.7, Soriano +1.5, LaHair +0.8, and Barney +0.7.

    If you look at the bottom 5 for this year, and compare them with last year…Volstad was -1.4, DeJesus was -2.1, Marmol was -1.1, Byrd was -1.7, and Baker was -0.3. Soriano was +1.5 last year.

    From this stat, you can see the lack of logic in playing DeJesus over Mather, keeping Volstad in the starting rotation, etc.

  15. ichabod

    at this point isnt wells a better option than volstad?

  16. Travis Wood Will Debut Today and Other Bullets | Bleacher Nation … | Baseball News Report

    [...] from flu-like symptoms (baseball code for the pukes or the shits). … Follow this link: Travis Wood Will Debut Today and Other Bullets | Bleacher Nation … ← Cubs' Minor League Daily: Errors Are Costly | Bleacher Nation [...]

  17. Matt Murton

    Randy Wells is NOT a big league caliber pitcher. His stuff has never been great, and when that’s the case, you need to CONSTANTLY be working on the mental and mechanical aspects of the game. Clearly, he’s lost in both spots. He’s too arrogant to turn things around, and I can’t wait for the day that Jed and Theo see that

    1. Norm

      Disagree with “never”.
      I believe it’s this:
      http://www.fangraphs.com/pitchfxo.aspx?playerid=4535&position=P&pitch=FA