Due to inclement weather in Philadelphia, the Cubs announced that Dan Haren‘s start has been pushed back to Sunday and will start Travis Wood on Saturday night against the Phillies. In the event that Saturday’s game was interrupted for a lengthy period of time by rain, the Cubs didn’t want to deal with potentially wasting Haren’s start.
Haren, 35 next Thursday, has compiled a 4.78 ERA with a 29/9 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings in seven starts since joining the Cubs. The Cubs picked him up from the Marlins in a trade at the deadline.
Wood, 28, has a 4.34 ERA with a 100/36 K/BB ratio in 87 innings across seven starts and 38 relief appearances. Manager Joe Maddon has chosen to bat him eighth in Saturday’s lineup.
Braves outfielder Nick Swisher swatted a home run from both sides of the plate on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley field against the Cubs. Batting left-handed against starter Dan Haren in the second inning, he clubbed a home run to the opposite field to give the Braves a 2-1 lead. Then, in the fifth inning, he capped off a five-run frame when he drilled another two-run shot to left field against lefty reliever Travis Wood.
The Braves went on to lose 9-7 to the Cubs.
Swisher, 34, was traded by the Indians to the Braves along with outfielder Michael Bourn and cash in exchange for third baseman Chris Johnson. He entered play Saturday batting only .160 with one home run and four RBI in 28 plate appearances with his new team.
Watch Swisher’s two homers:
Giants starter Madison Bumgarner has firmly established himself as one of the best-hitting pitchers in baseball. He came into Saturday’s start against the Athletics with eight career home runs, hitting two of them in 2012, four last season, and two this season.
He tacked on and helped his own cause on Saturday, drilling a solo home run to left field off of Chris Bassitt, giving the Giants an early 1-0 lead. Strangely enough, pitchers hitting at least three homers in consecutive seasons has happened before recently, thanks to Cubs pitcher Travis Wood, who accomplished the feat in 2013-14. Carlos Zambrano also did it for the Cubs in 2008-09. Johnny Antonelli was the last Giant, and he did it in three consecutive seasons between 1955-57.
Watch the blast:
Bumgarner also did a terrific job on the mound, as per usual. He held the A’s to one run over seven innings, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out seven. He now has a 3.16 ERA with a 131/26 K/BB ratio over 131 innings.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is reporting that both the Dodgers and Cubs have interest in Mets left-hander Jon Niese. It’s been no secret that the Mets would like to move Niese and/or Dillon Gee in the right circumstances as that would relieve the logjam in the starting rotation.
Niese, 28, has the prorated portion of his $7 million salary for the 2015 season remaining, plus $9 million in 2016 and a $500,000 buyout for either the ’17 or ’18 season. He has a 4.12 ERA this year along with a 58/27 K/BB ratio in 83 innings.
Though Jake Arrieta and Jason Hammel have both been excellent in the Cubs’ starting rotation this year, Jon Lester — the club’s big off-season signing — has struggled, as have Kyle Hendricks and Travis Wood. The Dodgers have had dominating starting pitching at the top end with Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, but lack depth and Niese would certainly help in that regard.
Travis Wood earned his first career save on Saturday, closing out the Cubs’ 4-1 win against the Pirates. Bruce Miles of the Chicago Daily Herald reports that the Cubs intend to keep Wood, who has struggled as a starter, in the bullpen. The Cubs will discuss their plans for the rotation on Sunday. Miles suggests Tsuyoshi Wada will most likely take Wood’s rotation spot.
Wada has been pitching at Triple-A Iowa, where he has compiled a 2.86 ERA with a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 34 2/3 innings. He made 13 starts at the big league level last year, finishing with a 3.25 ERA and a 57/19 K/BB ratio in 69 1/3 innings.