When Travis Wood took the mound at Wrigley Field last month, he
threw seven-plus solid innings in his major league debut.
The left-hander looks for another strong performance against the
Cubs on Sunday when the NL Central-leading Reds go for their first
series sweep in Chicago in five seasons.
Wood (2-1, 2.42 ERA), the Reds’ minor league pitcher of the year
in 2009, allowed two runs, two hits and struck out four in a 3-2,
10-inning win over Chicago on July 1.
“What was impressive was his location,” Cubs first baseman
Derrek Lee told the Reds’ official website. “Being his first major
league start, he had composure and looked good.”
Wood is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his last two starts. He threw
seven innings of two-hit ball and did not allow a runner past
second base in Monday’s 4-0 win at Pittsburgh.
“All my pitches were working well,” he said. “I was able to get
some quick outs and things went my way.”
Things have gone Cincinnati’s way versus the Cubs this season,
winning nine of 12. The bullpen yielded two ninth-inning runs
Saturday, but the Reds (63-48) held on for a 4-3 victory, their
eighth in 10 games, to move a season-best 15 games above .500.
“These games are taking some hours out of my life,” said
manager Dusty Baker. “Every time you think you have this game
figured out, something happens to let you know you don’t.”
Cincinnati, which won three of four in Chicago from July 1-4,
will look for its first sweep at Wrigley Field since Aug. 8-10,
2005. Baker was managing the Cubs in that series.
Current skipper Lou Piniella has seen his team drop nine of 10
to fall a season-worst 16 games below .500. He will give fellow
rookie Thomas Diamond (0-1, 4.50) the ball as Chicago (47-63) tries
to salvage the finale before beginning a seven-game trip Monday
against NL wildcard-leading San Francisco and archrival St.
Making his major league debut Tuesday, Diamond struck out 10 and
gave up three runs and seven hits over six innings of a 4-3 loss to
Milwaukee. He joined Mark Prior as the only Cubs since 1920 to
debut with double digits in strikeouts.
“The goal this year was to get noticed and to try to get up
here,” Diamond said following his 122-pitch outing. “Now it’s to
try to stay here.”
The right-hander may get his first look at center fielder Drew
Stubbs, who went 3 for 4 with a homer and two RBIs Saturday after
being stuck in a 1-for-37 slide. Stubbs is batting .421 with four
home runs and eight RBIs in four games at Wrigley Field this
Tyler Colvin has been far less successful on the Cubs’
homestand, going 2 for 17 with six strikeouts. Piniella said
following Saturday’s loss that Colvin, who leads all rookies with
17 homers, will not be in the lineup for a second straight day.
Kosuke Fukudome, who started in right field, was 1 for 2 with
Lee continues to struggle versus the Reds this season, batting
.182 after going 0 for 3 and striking out with the bases loaded in
the ninth inning Saturday. Lee was 0 for 3 against Wood on July