Sveum: Travis Wood is Cubs' All-Star
July, 4, 2013
By Joe Stiglich
Special to ESPNChicago.com
Special to ESPNChicago.com
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesTravis Wood pitched six shutout innings against the A's on Thursday to lower his ERA to 2.69.OAKLAND, Calif. -- Travis Wood’s great work on the mound often has gone unrewarded this season.
That was the case again Thursday, as the Chicago Cubs’ left-hander was denied a victory after the offense went scoreless against the Oakland Athletics.
If Cubs manager Dale Sveum gets his way, however, Wood will be rewarded with an All-Star berth. Sveum identified the unheralded lefty as his team’s clear-cut deserving choice to play in the Midsummer Classic.
All-Star pitchers and reserves will be announced Saturday. Players and coaches’ votes account for some of the selections, while the marquee contest’s National League manager, Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants, will make a handful of choices.
“He’s been our All-Star, no question about it,” Sveum said. “He’s had some very unfortunate incidents, or his earned run average could be quite a bit better than it is.
“Sometimes a guy like Travis Wood might get overlooked, but he’s definitely been our All-Star.”
Wood turned in another fine effort in the finale of a three-game series at O.co Coliseum. He threw six scoreless innings, with five strikeouts and one walk.
The game’s only run came off of the Cubs’ recently acquired reliever Matt Guerrier in the seventh. Oakland’s Derek Norris scored from third on a passed ball to give the A’s the only score they would need.
A’s right-hander Dan Straily (5-2) was just a bit better than Wood, blanking the Cubs over seven innings before turning it over to his bullpen.
Wood’s record of 5-6 hardly looks All-Star worthy, until you consider his ERA is a sparkling 2.69. He is winless over his past six outings, but has posted quality starts in every one. In his previous start against the Seattle Mariners, Wood left with a 4-1 lead only to watch his bullpen give it up in an eventual loss.
Every major league team must have at least one All-Star representative, and Wood has proved as worthy as anyone in a Cubs uniform.
“They’re going to make their decision on whoever it is,” Wood said. “Whoever it is, is going to be deserving of it. So I don’t think about it at all.”
Fellow starter Jeff Samardzija (3.34 ERA in 17 starts) could also merit consideration. But from where Sveum stands, Wood appears to be the most worthy Cubs candidate for the July 16 showcase at Citi Field in New York.
Sveum credits Wood for keeping an even keel, despite a lack of run support at times and bullpen letdowns on other occasions.
“He holds himself very accountable,” Sveum said. “The good thing about Travis, he’s the same guy every day he shows up.”