Cubs Notes: Wood Finishes Season With Familiar Results

Monday night was a microcosm of Travis Wood’s 2014 season. The left-handed starter gave up eight hits and seven runs (six earned) in the 8-0 drubbing the Cardinals put on the Cubs.

Wood finishes the year with a 5.03 ERA (4.48 FIP) and 1.53 WHIP, a sharp contrast to last season’s 3.11 ERA (3.89 FIP) and 1.14 WHIP.

Despite the rotten results Monday night, Wood didn’t pitch awfully. He gave up a lot of bloop hits and seeing-eye singles. Chris Coghlan made a weak attempt on a sinking liner that turned into a Jhonny Peralta double, and Jorge Soler made an error that was reminiscent of one of my softball games when we just start throwing the ball around the diamond.

All of this added up to more than enough run support for Adam Wainwright, who was outstanding. He mowed through the Cubs lineup with ease, striking out eight in seven innings and giving up only three hits.

It was a disappointing loss after the fight the Cubs showed against the Dodgers over the weekend. Kyle Hendricks will try to turn things around on Tuesday.

Pace of game changes?

MLB has created a committee to help speed up the pace of games. Length of games has become a hot topic this year, probably because of the addition of instant replay.

My take on the issue is I don’t want to see any drastic changes, but some small things may help.

Not allowing batters to step out of the box once an at-bat begins might be a good start. I’ve heard calls for “pitch clocks” before, but I’m not sure that would be necessary.

Length of baseball games doesn’t really bother me right now. Many people are worried that the younger technology-obsessed generation will not have the attention span to deal with 3.5-hour baseball games. I’m not sure that can be proven at this point.

But if a few small changes are implemented to help speed things along, I would be all for it as long as they don’t alter the feel of the game.

Other notes

* Addison Russell, the main piece of the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel trade, visited Wrigley Field before Monday’s game. He talked to Patrick Mooney about playing with some of the other up-and-coming Cubs: “The talent that we have here is just unreal and I’m looking forward to playing with all these guys.” The shortstop hit well for Double-A Tennessee after the trade, batting .294/.332/.536 with 12 homers in 50 games.

* The Cubs’ Instructional League got underway on Monday. Carrie Muskat reports the Cubs will focus more on drills and instruction this year, as opposed to games. Players heading to the Instructional League include 2014 top draft pick (fourth overall) Kyle Schwarber, Billy McKinney (acquired in the Samardzija/Hammel trade), and Victor Caratini (came over in the James Russell/Emilo Bonifcacio deal).

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