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Dale Sveum: Travis Wood a 'No. 1 pitcher'

9/10/2013

CINCINNATI -- Chicago Cubs pitcher Travis Wood smiled for a second when he heard that his manager, Dale Sveum, had called him a “No. 1 pitcher.” But then he quickly put his game face back on.

“Every pitcher tries to pitch like that even if they don’t have ace stuff,” Wood said after shutting down the Cincinnati Reds 2-0 on Monday. “They always try to go out there and give everything they got.

“I appreciate it, but we have to keep rolling.”

Rolling is exactly what Wood has been doing all year. Yes, there have been a few blips. But, as Sveum pointed out, Wood’s blips aren’t exactly blow-ups. He has been as consistent a starter as you’ll find in the league. Seven more shutout innings lowered his ERA to 3.05.

“Tonight was one of his better ones against one of the better lineups,” Sveum said.

The Reds' lineup helped sweep the pitching-heavy Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend, and their manager, Dusty Baker, said he was hoping there would be no “letup” against the Cubs. But then came Wood.

“It was a good one tonight,” Wood said. “I had command of all my pitches.”

And he threw most of them for strikes, 70 to be exact. Out of 100 total pitches. He walked none against the team that walks the most in the National League.

“It’s just nice when you don’t give free passes,” Wood said.

No one could have predicted Wood would become the Cubs’ best starter this season. Not after a roller-coaster ride in 2012. But that’s long in the past.

And in beating the team that sent him to the Cubs in 2011 for lefty pitcher Sean Marshall, he has come full circle.

“It’s the first time since being traded,” Wood said. “I’ve played some good games against them and they’ve gotten me a few times, too. This one was nice.”