There was no better day to become a hero than on Memorial Day. Travis Wood was the hero for the Chicago Cubs in their 2-0 victory over the LA Dodgers.
After Cubs starter Jason Hammel left the game after a couple of innings due to cramping, Wood stepped in.
“I looked in the dugout and I saw [Wood] and I pointed at him, and he said, ‘Me?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, let’s go,'” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “That’s how his day began.”
Travis Wood was literally sitting on a couch when he got the call.
“It was early [in the game],” Wood said. “I always come in for the first couple innings, watch the game. Luckily, we have the live [TV] feed. I was out there [in the dugout] before I was needed. I figured they needed somebody so I ran out. I heard ‘Cahill’ so I started to run back in to get [Trevor] Cahill, and then I thought they might change their mind, so I came back out and they ended up changing their mind.”
One of the greatest things happened yesterday that contributed to the victory, and that was Kyle Hendricks complete game the other day. I’ve been a big advocate in pitchers going deep into games. it gives bullpens the much needed rest and when pitchers get their rest, well good things happen. Yesterday was one of those good things.
“I believe what he did set it up for the rest of the bullpen,” Maddon said. “The rest of the guys were very efficient. They saw Travis go out there and do it, so here comes ‘Grimmer’ and here comes ‘Stroopy’ and here comes ‘Ronnie.’ Good pitches, good location, good stuff, but Travis set the tone for the whole thing.”
That’s where the craftiness of Maddon comes in. A well managed game can get those guys in the games and executing the pitches wile using the bullpen to their full capacity.
“Nothing prepares you for it, at least they give you as much time as you want to make sure you’re loose,” Wood said. “But we played a great game through and through and our bullpen nailed it today.”
Tonight’s going to be a big game when Jake Arrieta takes to the mound looking for his tenth straight victory of the season and going for an MLB record 24th straight win dating back to last season. Arrieta tied the record set by Kris Medlin in 2012.