Travis "Gookie" Wood will make his Major League debut, and it is a well-deserved debut to say the least. After struggling a bit in his first 7 starts this year, Wood has been lights out over his last 8 trips to the mound. He's riding a string of 8 straight quality starts in which he has thrown 55.2 innings, struck out 56 batters, walked 11, and allowed just 36 hits, posting a 1.62 ERA. This coming after being named the Reds minor league pitcher of the year in 2009 when he went 13-5 with a 1.77 ERA in 27 combined starts between AA and AAA. He almost made the big league squad out of Spring Training this year, but was beat out by Mike Leake in the end. Given how the two pitchers performed to start the season, it looks like the Reds made the right choice, but now Wood looks like he should be ready for the show.
He'll be taking on a struggling Cubs team that is just 11-19 over their last 30 games. Their offense has been meager over their last 9 games, averaging just 2 runs a game. During the month of June, they averaged 3.5 runs per game. On the season they average exactly 4 runs a game, which is good for 14th in the National League.
They have had some quality starting pitching this year, including the resurrection of Carlos Silva back to a respectable pitcher. Silva has quality starts in all but 3 of his 14 games this year, though the Reds did limit him to just 5 innings and scored 4 runs against him on May 7th - a game the Cubs and Silva won. After winning 10 straight of Silva's starts, the Cubs have lost three in a row with the 31-year old righty on the mound. Hopefully the Reds can make it 4-in-a-row.
Afternoon baseball for the next 4 days, so be sure to set your alarms to wake up in time. Go Reds!