RedEye

Travis Wood crashes Anthony Rizzo's beatification

This one is too easy: Anthony Rizzo finally got called up from the minors and will make his Cubs debut after going 0-for-his-last-9 in Iowa. So, yeah, he’s a perfect Cub.

See? Told you it was too easy.

But seriously, folks, Rizzo will start against the Mets in Tuesday night’s game, also known as Theo Epstein’s Opening Day.

I expect Rizzo to get a standing ovation before his first at-bat, but sorry, he’s not the big news.

While everybody seemed to be wishing the calendar forward a day, Travis Wood was making sharp Cubs fans stop and notice the present on Monday night.

There’s nothing wrong with anticipating the Next Big Thing. Just don’t miss the blossoming story of a potential top-of-the-rotation starter.

Rizzo has done nothing except inspire hope, which is usually the only thing most Cubs prospects accomplish. Isn’t that right, Corey Patterson, Hee-Seop Choi and Brooks Kieschnick?

Wood, meanwhile, has delivered. Just ask the Mets, who I believe are still flailing at his pitches from Monday night.

All of a sudden, Wood has won two in a row, most recently out-pitching fellow left-hander and no-hit ace Johan Santana.

Wood, remember, is no different than Rizzo if you look at their roads to the Cubs. Both were acquired for a pitcher after Epstein got here, moving out the Jim Hendry pieces and bringing in the Chosen One’s chosen ones.

Rizzo came from the Padres in exchange for power-armed Andrew Cashner last January. Wood came from the Reds as the key part of the Sean Marshall trade about two weeks earlier.

So, it’s not as if Rizzo was drafted, developed and delivered to the majors by the Cubs with stardom waiting. We’d notice if that were the case. We noticed Starlin Castro, and that’s about it.

If you’re smart, though, you’d notice what Wood is doing and recognize that he might be more important than Rizzo. I’ll take pitching over hitting any day. That’s my bias. Pitching wins. Pitching always gives you a chance. See Chris Volstad for details. That’s why I think Wood could turn out to be more important than Rizzo.

If nothing else, Wood has produced a lot of good in a season that is bad even by Cubs standards. Most notably, Wood has posted a 2.27 ERA in five starts this month, and really, he has had only one bad outing this season, allowing six earned runs in five innings against the Padres on a windy day. But other than that, Wood has not allowed more than three earned runs in any start since being recalled in May. His 1.20 WHIP matches St. Louis’ sure-fire All-Star Lance Lynn. He’s headed toward a strikeouts-to-walks ratio of 2-1 for the season. He already has done that this month.

And Wood appears to be headed to the top of the rotation for many of the years in which Rizzo is projected to star and wreak havoc and have his number retired.

Nothing against Rizzo. I hope he’s everything Cubs fans hope he is. But I think it’s important to acknowledge the development and contributions of one of the few current Cubs pitchers who figures to be here when the Cubs become good again.

Chicks might still dig the long ball, but smart teams value the well-located fastball.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  •  

     

  • Chicago sues red light camera firm for $300 million

    Chicago sues red light camera firm for $300 million

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration has sued Chicago's former red light camera operator, Redflex Traffic Systems, for more than $300 million on grounds the entire program was built on a $2 million bribery scheme at City Hall that has already led to federal corruption convictions.

  • Marrow's 'The Gold Standard' raises the Chicago rock bar

    Marrow's 'The Gold Standard' raises the Chicago rock bar

    The four musicians in Marrow know quite a bit about bringing diverse influences to the table. After all, three of them, singer-guitarist Liam Kazar, singer-keyboardist Macie Stewart and bassist Lane Beckstrom were in Kids These Days, a now-defunct septet that combined jazz, funk, rap and rock in...

  • The Kids These Days family tree

    The Kids These Days family tree

    From its 2009 beginnings to its 2013 demise, Chicago's Kids These Days seemed like one of the most promising acts the city had seen in years. While the band split up at the height of its hype, its members have since gone on to do bigger and better things—seriously impressive considering the hip-hop/rock/jazz...

  • Solid 'Gold': How ex-Kids These Days members came back stronger as Marrow

    Solid 'Gold': How ex-Kids These Days members came back stronger as Marrow

    After the dissolution of Kids These Days, the much-buzzed about Chicago fusion-jazz-rock-rap septet that split in spring 2013 just a few months after releasing its only album, “Traphouse Rock,” some of its members spent what seems like all of 20 minutes bandless. "We were driving back from the...

  • Mr Twin Sister's 'In the House of Yes' is one of last year's hidden treasures

    Mr Twin Sister's 'In the House of Yes' is one of last year's hidden treasures

    Welcome to RedEye's "Song of the Day," an ongoing feature where music reporter Josh Terry or another RedEye staff member highlights something they're listening to. Some days the track will be new, and some days it will be old. No matter what, each offering is something you should check out. Check...

  • GrubHub's weekend customer-support issues made people hangry

    GrubHub's weekend customer-support issues made people hangry

    Technical difficulties at GrubHub and Seamless over the weekend drove hordes of hangry would-be customers to air their grievances on social media. The food ordering and delivery sites, which merged in 2013 and use GrubHub’s back-end technology, errantly accepted payments on Saturday evening without...

  • One dead in Heart of Chicago after being shot by police

    One dead in Heart of Chicago after being shot by police

    A 29-year-old man died after being shot by police on the Lower West Side early Saturday, police said.

Comments
Loading
78°