Originally written May 07, 2013 on World Series Dreaming:
So yay, the Cubs won!  Woohoo!  And just as in every other sport, performances in one game, whether it’s in a 16-game, 82-game or 162-game season, is enough to make broad sweeping statements about players.  Take this, for example:   Sveum called Wood the best pitcher in baseball which stunned Wood to hear — Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) May 8, 2013   Wow!  That is some epic praise there, Dale Sveum.  Now we’re more than happy with the Travis Wood acquisition, as he’s eating innings and has been impressive.  Oh, did we mention that he’s not even arbitration-eligible yet?  At age 26, Wood won’t be a free agent until 2017 so the Cubs can control him through his prime, which is awesome.  And thus far, Wood has been awesome.  Is he best pitcher in baseball awesome?  Both Fangraphs and Baseball Reference say “Nope.”  It seems Dale is just heaping tons of praise on his pitcher, which one expects the manager to do, but praise has its limits too.  And while Wood’s performance tonight, where the only blemish was an Allen Craig homer, was awesome, he’s been helped a ton by some mighty good “luck” stats.  I don’t expect Travis Wood to remain a sub-3 ERA pitcher for much longer, but stranger things have happened. For his part, Travis Wood was down-to-earth about his own performance so far this season. Wood: “My confidence is sky high but have to stay humble.” — Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) May 8, 2013 For a guy who has had nothing but quality starts to this point, Travis Wood knows he has to keep a level head. This brings us to his teammates, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg.  We know Marmol’s issues with, well, being Marmol.  And Kevin Gregg was booed out of town before Marmol became the closer.  With Marmol, we don’t know what’s going to happen, so it’s understandable that fans will freak when he’s in the game.  Of course, even the most jaded of fans should recognize that Marmol was integral to this game getting to the ninth inning for Gregg to save it.  Marmol straddled two innings and preserved the lead with a pickoff of Yadier Molina to end the eighth.  Gregg was then able to get Pete Kozma, who was left at the batter’s box when Molina TOOTBLANed, to start the ninth, and that helped a bunch since Marmol took care of the high-leverage stuff and Gregg had the bottom of the lineup, a pinch-hitter (Matt Adams, who had a ridiculously unsustainable batting average but is probably good at baseball anyway since he’s a Cardinal) and Matt Carpenter.  One could argue that Gregg had the easier inning between himself and Marmol. It’s best to not draw too many sweeping conclusions from one game against the best team in the division when luck was on the Cubs’ side and the Cardinals’ bats were cold all night.  That’s not going to happen every day, and honestly, you can’t predict baseball.  Recognize that everyone had a good night, enjoy it, but the next game might be wildly different, and we’ll find out that maybe Wood isn’t the best pitcher in baseball (he’s still pretty good though), Marmol isn’t as good or bad as most fans believe, and Kevin Gregg might not be the closer you’re looking for.
PLAYERS: Travis Wood
TEAMS: Chicago Cubs
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