Loss doesn't define Wood's season

CHICAGO -- Finishing strong is undoubtedly the goal for any Chicago Cubs player, but in pitcher Travis Wood's case he’s already done enough to consider it a successful season.

Even in losses -- like Monday 4-3 affair with the Miami Marlins -- there are positives. Wood threw a brutal pitch to the opposing pitcher, Henderson Alvarez, resulting in a three-run home run in the second inning. But that’s the last of the scoring the Marlins would see.

“You just can’t let it (affect you),” Wood said afterwards. “It’s early in the ball game. There’s a lot of game left. I just wanted to keep it close and give us a chance.”

You’ll excuse Wood if he lost focus for a moment. Every fifth day he’s battled for a mostly last-place team, establishing himself in the major leagues for the first time. It’s not lost on him that’s he been here the whole season which means he could reach the coveted 200 innings-pitched mark. That’s progress.

“It would be a big goal being in the big leagues from start to finish,” he said. “I think that’s every pitcher’s goal.”

Wood has thrown 179 innings this season, and barring some meltdown he should reach 200. Every statistic except for his win total (8) is impressive. His .219 batting average-against leads all Cubs starters (and is sixth best in the league) as does his 1.12 WHIP (hits plus walks to innings pitched). His 3.17 ERA only trails Chris Rusin, who’s started 19 less games.

Make no mistake, Wood has been the Cubs’ best and most consistent pitcher this season. Maybe by a longshot.

“It’s a number that any starting pitcher, if you get to 200 innings, you had a pretty good year,” Sveum said. “He’s had a pretty quality year all the way around.”

And don’t forget his prowess at the plate which makes Monday’s loss somewhat ironic. The opposing pitcher beat him, but that can’t take away from his breakout year.

“I saw his (batting) average and I knew he would be swinging,” Wood said. “I missed with a pitch and he did what he needed to do with it.

“So far so good. Hopefully we can keep it rolling to the end and carry it on to the offseason and into next year.”