Cubs’ Travis Wood wants wins more than innings
BY TONI GINNETTI Staff Reporter September 2, 2013 10:22PM
Cubs starter Travis Wood would like to reach the 200-inning mark, but staying competitive and keeping his team in games is more important.
‘‘It would be nice, but for me, it’s just about taking the ball every fifth day and giving the team a chance to win,’’ Wood said.
The left-hander increased his total to 179 innings with seven Monday, but it came in a 4-3 loss to the Miami Marlins. Wood (8-11) was victimized by the left-handed bat of Christian Yelich and by pitcher Henderson Alvarez. Alvarez tagged Wood for a three-run homer in the second, his first career home run. He went 2-for-2 and is hitting .368.
‘‘It’s funny how he couldn’t get the lefty out and couldn’t get the pitcher out,’’ manager Dale Sveum said. ‘‘Other than that, he dominated.’’
The Cubs gave Wood a 3-1 lead in the first with four singles and a sacrifice fly against Alvarez (3-3). But they had only four more hits the rest of the way. Alvarez left the game after six innings with tightness in his right hamstring.
The Marlins didn’t score after the second.
‘‘I tried to keep it there, go hitter to hitter and get deeper in the game and not let it get out of hand,’’ said Wood, who should get five more starts to reach 200 innings.
Left-handed reliever James Russell should exceed his career-high 77 appearances from 2012, and he’ll rank among the league leaders. But his workload this season has been different as a situational pitcher.
‘‘The appearances are there, but not the innings,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘You’re not going to abuse him if you’re losing. You’ll use him when you’re winning games.’’
Russell pitched 69 innings last season. He has pitched 50 innings in 70 appearances this season.
Scott Baker closed out Class A Kane County’s season Monday, giving up two runs (one homer) and six hits with four strikeouts and no walks in 52/3 innings. The Cubs have yet to decide the next step for Baker, who has been rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
‘‘If we do activate him here, it would be a long [relief] guy,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘Right now, it’s all wait-and-see.’’
Three of the organization’s minor-league teams are in the post-season, a bonus in player development.
‘‘You try to produce players, but also winning players,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘Being in championships, even if they don’t get to the playoffs, you learn the value of playing in games where every play matters.’’
Class AA Tennessee will be in the Southern League playoffs. Class A Daytona opens Tuesday in the Florida State League playoffs. Short-season Class A Boise also opens Tuesday in the Northwest League playoffs.