- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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The resurgent pitching of Travis Wood has been a nice surprise for the Chicago Cubs and their front office. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer stuck their necks out by trading top-of-the-line setup man Sean Marshall for him and were second-guessed by the baseball world when Wood failed to make the team out of spring training.
Since returning to the rotation in early May Wood has not given up more than three runs in any star, except for one clunker when he allowed six runs against the Padres on May 29.
“The 25-year-old left-hander has established his fastball on both sides of the plate while raising the velocity of his pitches as well.
“I got sent down in spring training and put more work in at Triple-A and got some things right,” Wood said. “When I got my chance to come up I didn’t want to waste it, so I got after it.”
Wood was not looked at as a stop-gap pitcher when the Cubs traded for him. Epstein and company believed that the talent he showed when he broke in with the Cincinnati Reds in 2010 could be rediscovered and refined.
“That’s the reason we traded for him,” manager Dale Sveum said after Wood threw 7 2/3 innings of shutout baseball against Houston on Sunday. “We gave up one of the best relievers in baseball for him. I knew that [talent] was somewhere in there, but since spring training he has made the adjustments. The confidence level he has now is off the charts.”
The proof of Wood’s quality pitching is reflected in his recent outings. He has won three straight appearances and has now run his scoreless streak to 18 2/3 innings dating back to June 19 against the Chicago White Sox.