CHICAGO – The Cubs’ offseason trade that sent Sean Marshall to Cincinnati in exchange for Travis Wood and prospects is looking better every week.
The latest evidence came in the form of the Cubs' 6-1 win against the New York Mets.
Wood, 25, pitched seven scoreless innings to help the Cubs snap a four-game losing streak Monday in front of 34,092 fans at Wrigley Field. He scattered five hits, walked one and struck out six to earn his second consecutive victory.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Wood’s eighth start was his best yet.
“That was impressive,” Sveum said. “That was about as good as you can get.
“The life on his fastball was about as good as we’ve all seen, I think. Guys that are good fastball hitters, he was beating them all night.”
The Cubs supported Wood (2-3) with a half-dozen runs, four of which came during a wild seventh inning that included three fielding errors by the Mets. Cubs outfielder Joe Mather opened the scoring with a two-run home run into the left-field bleachers in the fourth inning against Mets starter Johan Santana (5-4).
Mather’s line-drive home run sneaked beneath a 15 mph wind blowing in toward home plate. It marked his fourth home run and his first since May 19.
“He got the perfect trajectory,” Sveum said. “He crushed that ball. Put a little more height on it, and the wind knocks it down. That was a huge hit.”
Meanwhile, Wood’s trajectory is pointed up.
In the past month, Wood has registered quality starts against four Cy Young Award winners: Santana, Jake Peavy, Justin Verlander and Barry Zito. He has posted a 2.27 ERA in June after being tagged for a 5.94 ERA in May.
Wood credited a stint at Triple-A Iowa for his recent success.
“I felt like my time down there was actually useful,” Wood said. “I tried to get better and worked on everything I thought I needed to, and I was able to iron some things out. It seems to be working out pretty well.”
Sveum said the Cubs liked Wood’s potential even as he struggled in spring training, where he posted a 10.67 ERA in five appearances and caused some to wonder why the team traded a versatile reliever such as Marshall.
“One thing we all fight over the years in this game is judging anything on spring training,” Sveum said. “I think that’s our biggest obstacle a lot of times. … You don’t jump the gun too quick.”
Quick hits: Injured Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster (hamstring) reported no problems after throwing on a flat surface Monday, Sveum said. Dempster likely will miss two more starts before returning in early July. … Mather switched his uniform number from No. 16 to No. 21. … Cubs pitcher Paul Maholm turned 30 years old Monday.