It didn’t take long for Travis Wood to get comfortable at the plate. The left-hander slotted in for Game 2 starter Kyle Hendricks, who was forced to leave in the fourth inning after taking a line drive off of his right forearm.
Wood closed the fourth inning with a six-pitch strikeout to Conor Gillaspie, then did some damage of his own against Giants’ right-handed reliever George Kontos:
In case you were wondering, that was a first-pitch cutter that left the yard at approximately 101 m.p.h., according to Statcast. It was also Wood’s first postseason home run, and the tenth he’s hit in the majors so far.
Per Twitter reports from MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat, among others, Wood was listed with Kerry Wood and Rick Sutcliffe as the only Cubs’ hurlers to homer in the playoffs, and the first to do so since 2003. Even more impressive: Travis Wood is just the second relief pitcher to hit one out in the postseason, preceded by 1924 New York Giants’ right-hander Rosy Ryan (per ESPN’s Jayson Stark).
Wood wasn’t the only Cubs pitcher to knock in a few runs, as Hendricks beat him to it with a 2-RBI base hit in the second inning.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.
Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.
Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.
The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.