Hat tip to Travis Wood (1-3) for hanging with Jake Peavy Tuesday night.
It wasn’t the 25-year-old’s best outing of the season, but good enough to earn his first win, not to mention, back-to-back big victories against the South Siders.
Wood’s settled in nicely since his initial call-up from Triple-A Iowa on May 5 to spot-start in place of Matt Garza, and then recalled two weeks later to eventually replace a woeful Chris Volstad (0-6, 7.46 ERA).
In Wood’s seven starts with Chicago four have been quality efforts, including Tuesday evening. He’s allowed three or fewer runs six times and has pitched no fewer than five innings.
The weakness to Wood’s game has been his propensity to walk batters (he’s averaging nearly three per outing) and the home run ball (seven HR allowed in seven starts).
But his greatest asset has been pitching out of trouble, as he did again last night, wiggling out of a one-out, bases loaded jam in the second inning. Opponents are hitting just .188 with runners in scoring position against him.
AH, WHICH BRINGS US TO CHRIS VOLSTAD
Volstad’s inability to pitch out of trouble and avoid the big inning is what landed him in Iowa and Wood on the North Side.
The results at Triple-A have been only marginally better for Volstad. He’s won two of his six starts (2-1), but has an ERA creeping towards 5.00 while allowing 10 more hits than innings pitched (47/37.2).
In fact, minor league batters are hitting a touch higher against him (.313) than major league lineups in his eight starts with the Cubs (.303).
I wouldn’t say all is lost on Volstad, whom the Cubs acquired for Carlos Zambrano, but it’s safe to say he won’t be replacing Travis Wood in the Cubs rotation anytime soon.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we won’t see Volstad pitching again for the Cubs this season. The anticipated trades of either Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza or both could land Volstad back in the Cubs rotation–perhaps, sooner than he ought to be.