It's too early, both in season and career, to say "ace." But Travis Wood has pitched like one, relative to his rotation mates, since the second half of last season. This spring he struck out nearly a batter an inning and walking only 3 over 19.1 IP. Wood kept up those appearances in his first start of the regular season, K-ing seven Brewers and walking none in 7 strong. Wood's winning ways notwithstanding, the story so far in 2011 has been the offense, which has average 7.5 runs per game over the first six.
West Coast swings are infamous in recent Reds history. This one, thankfully, does not have Los Angeles or San Francisco in the itinerary. The Diamondbacks are looking pretty vince-able again this season. Ian Kennedy, formerly a highly-touted arm in the Yankees org, realized some of that potential last season over his first full season of starts. Though Travis Wood is three years younger, these two make an even enough pairing.
It will be interesting to see how the offensive juggernaut responds to being in enemy territory. Arizona didn't really agree with Reds pitching - nor the team's health and well-being - during spring training. I'm guessing they're not thrilled to be back, though it could hardly be under better circumstances, especially given how they left the state. We may get some sense of how much those spring pitching performances were just "spring trainin'" versus a function of how breaking balls don't like to break there. Fortunately, Travis Wood likes to pitch everywhere.
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