Wood's wild coaster ride takes another dip

August, 17, 2012
8/17/12
9:49
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CINCINNATI -- Chicago Cubs starter Travis Wood wasn’t completely unarmed in his latest standoff with his former team, it only seemed that way.

After Wood held down the Cincinnati Reds last weekend, the team that traded him away over the winter had all the answers Friday with three home runs in a 7-3 victory.

“I think he just probably spent everything he had last outing against his old team and tonight he came out and he didn’t really have a whole lot on the ball,” manager Dale Sveum said. “Everything was flat. He didn’t have the velocity or anything. He was out there basically in a gun fight with a knife I think tonight.”

[+] EnlargeTravis Wood
Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesCubs starter Travis Wood went just five innings against his former team on Friday.
Wood topped out at 94 mph in his last outing and didn't seem to have nearly the same velocity Friday.

It’s been a roller-coaster season for Wood as he tries to show the Cubs he is a valuable piece as the team moves forward in its rebuilding process. Wood struggled mightily this spring, put it together after he was recalled in late May, slipped up again in late June and had three solid starts before the Reds got to him Friday.

Clearly the Cubs still think highly of Wood, who was moved to the Cubs in the deal that sent lefty reliever Sean Marshall to the Reds. While three of the Cubs pitchers were being talked about at the non-waiver trade deadline, the Cubs weren’t interested in taking offers for Wood.

His mixed results, though, show that when he is good he can be really nasty and when he’s bad he’s usually awful. The left-hander has made 17 starts this season with the Cubs. In 12 of them he has given up three runs or less and in nine of those he has given up two runs or less. But in the five starts when he has been out of sync he has given up at least six runs in all of them.

To his credit, though, Wood continues to avoid making excuses, particularly staying away from the concept that he was spent going into Friday’s start.

“As far as I know I was pretty fired up for this one,” Wood said. “We took a gameplan out there that was working for a little bit and then it didn’t. I just didn’t make the adjustments soon enough.”

Sveum wasn’t going to fault Wood for investing so much in his last outing that he didn’t seem able to rebound in his next one.

“It’s a lesson learned that just nature itself takes over when you’re in games like that against your old team,” Sveum said. “You’re always going to spend more energy and do more than probably what’s in there just to get the job done. He had a heck of a game last time doing it.”

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jason Hammel
WINS ERA SO IP
8 2.98 104 108
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Rizzo .285
HRA. Rizzo 25
RBIA. Rizzo 55
RA. Rizzo 71
OPSA. Rizzo .925
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOJ. Hammel 104