As of three weeks ago Travis Wood was pitching really well for the Cubs, starting 10 games with a 3.05 ERA, but he’s been in a free fall since the All-Star break.
First he allowed eight runs against the Marlins on July 17, then he gave up seven runs against the Cardinals on July 22, and this afternoon he faced St. Louis again while tying a Cubs record by serving up five homers.
Lance Berkman, Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday, Matt Carpenter, and Allen Craig each took Wood deep as he joined Carlos Zambrano in 2011, Ismael Valdez in 2000, Steve Stone in 1974, and Warren Hacker in 1954 as the only Cubs pitchers to surrender five homers.
And in the span of three starts Wood’s ERA has ballooned from 3.05 to 4.98.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.