All-Star bid seems likely for Cubs lefty Travis Wood
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org July 4, 2013 10:30PM
Updated: August 6, 2013 6:36AM
OAKLAND — Left-hander Travis Wood pitched another six scoreless innings Thursday for his major-league-leading 16th quality start in 17 outings.
But the Cubs failed to take advantage again, losing for the 11th time in a game he has started, this time 1-0 to the Oakland Athletics.
“He’s been our All-Star, no question about it,” manager Dale Sveum said. “His earned-run average could be quite a bit better than it is without some unfortunate, strange occurrences on the mound.”
Wood (5-6), whose 2.69 ERA ranks in the top 10 in the National League, will find out Sunday whether he gets his first All-Star selection.
“They’re going to make the decision, and whoever it is, is going to be deserving of it,” Wood said. “I don’t think about it at all.”
Was the throw that good? Or did Starlin Castro assume something he shouldn’t and let up before he got thrown out at the plate?
“I don’t know what happened there,” Sveum said of the fourth-inning play on which Castro appeared to have a chance to score easily from second on Alfonso Soriano’s single to left — until strong-armed Yoenis Cespedes threw him out. “Seemed like a no-brainer right off the bat. I was shocked that anybody could get thrown out on that.”
Replays appeared to show Castro getting a good jump and running hard, as he said he did.
“I thought I’d score easy, and I never stopped,” he said. “It surprised me.”
The bigger issue for the Cubs was that Soriano’s single was the only hit in seven innings against A’s starter Dan Straily and one of only two in the game.
Carlos Villanueva, who hasn’t pitched more than 22/3 innings in a game since May 14, will join the rotation Sunday, Sveum said.
Villanueva, who will take the opening created by the trade of Scott Feldman, went 1-3 with a 3.93 ERA to open the season before getting bumped to the bullpen when Matt Garza returned from the disabled list in May.
After throwing 44 pitches in relief Tuesday, Villanueva will be on a pitch limit of 60-70 on Sunday, Sveum said.
The Cubs lost their third center fielder in less than three weeks when Brian Bogusvic left the game Thursday in the third inning because of a tight hamstring, which began bothering him Wednesday. He’s day-to-day.