CHICAGO – Given another chance, Travis Wood figured out how to win one of these duels with a Cy Young Award winner.
Last week he went toe-to-toe with the Tigers’ Justin Verlander, but ended up falling to the Detroit ace. This time it was comeback-player-of-the-year candidate Jake Peavy who got Wood’s best stuff and the Cubs topped the White Sox 2-1 on Tuesday.
“It makes you feel good but just as important is giving your team a chance to win,” Wood said. “We kept it close. I was able to battle and keep them off balance and we ended up winning the ballgame.”
Wood gave up just one run on four hits over six innings and the bullpen made it stand up with three scoreless innings. Peavy went the distance and it wasn't enough. It was Wood’s first victory with the Cubs and first since Aug. 19 of last season when he was with the Cincinnati Reds.
“Getting the first one, getting that monkey off the back and hopefully we start rolling from here,” Wood said.
Despite not getting a victory until Tuesday, it actually had been rolling already. Wood has a 2.92 ERA over his last four starts. Numbers like that seemed unlikely when he was scuffling at spring training but he keeps getting better as the season has progressed.
He had a 4.57 ERA in seven starts at Triple-A Iowa and now has a 4.14 ERA in seven big-league starts.
“I know when he was in spring training, I know the pressure of getting traded,” manager Dale Sveum said. “I’ve had to do that twice. You always understand the pressures of coming to a new team especially when you were traded for one of the best relievers in baseball (Sean Marshall). It sure seems like he’s relaxed and making his pitches when he has to.”