The Evolving Man-Crush on Travis Wood and Other Bullets

travis wood beardIt sure would be neat to have Matt Harvey or Shelby Miller on the Cubs. They are doing quite well.

  • Then again, Travis Wood has been so very good. It seems every time he starts, the next day’s Bullets focus on just how good he’s been, but question how sustainable his goodness can be. (For the record, I’m still at “he can definitely be a quality 3/4 long term, but I don’t think he’ll keep pitching like an ace.”) Dale Sveum knocked a quote out of the park when asked about all of the success going to Wood’s head, per Cubs.com: “You can guarantee one thing besides the sun coming up is that Travis Wood will be the same guy the next day.” Sveum has an uber man-crush on Travis Wood.
  • Per a variety of folks citing the stat, Wood’s streak of eight consecutive quality starts to begin a season has tied Hippo Vaughn’s team record, set in 1919. Wood’s 2.03 ERA is 11th best in baseball, and his 0.90 WHIP is 5th best in baseball. And the beard. Oh, the lumberjack beard.
  • Dale Sveum is insisting on getting 37-year-old outfielder Alfonso Soriano extra days of rest, particularly in day games following night games. It’s understandable, but you could also understand Soriano not loving the plan. “It’s a little difficult,” Soriano said, per the Tribune. “They think night game and then a day game, and because of my age I need a day off. They say there are too many day games.” I know players want to play, and you don’t want to rest Soriano too much, but it sure seems like he does well after he gets an extra rest day. I don’t have any data to back that up. Just a feeling. After his homer and double last night, Soriano’s season line is up to .279/.308/.436, which is a 101 OPS+. Better than average!
  • Luis Valbuena’s hurt pinkie still isn’t considered a serious problem, but he’ll likely not start again today, with lefty Jeff Francis going for the Rockies. Hopefully he’ll be back in the lineup tomorrow.
  • I noted in the EBS last night that the Cubs love doubles, and I meant it: they lead the league with 87 of them. Unfortunately, too few of them have led to runs at this point in the season.
  • Matt Garza starts again for Iowa on Thursday, where he’ll hopefully throw 80 to 90 pitches. The Cubs will decide at that point whether he’s ready to make his next start with the big team. Although I’m sure the Cubs aren’t looking forward to bumping an effective pitcher from the rotation, they’re not going to wait on the Garza decision for that reason. When Garza is ready, he’s coming back, regardless of the rotation. The Cubs have too much to gain by letting Garza get as many big league starts in as possible before July 31.
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    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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