Was that Mike Leake on the mound today?
The poise was there, the confidence was there, as was the 6'0 frame, curly hair, and slight goatee, but it was not the straight to the "bigs" phenom.
Travis Wood came up today to make his Major League debut at Wrigley Field, and while no one can be 100 percent prepared for "The Show," he was about as ready as ready can be. This wasn't a babe in the woods. This was the Minor League pitcher of the year last year, and someone who had a very good chance to make the starting rotation out of Spring Training.
Ironically, it was Leake that beat him out, but it was only a matter of time before Wood got his chance. The young lefty showed no outward signs of being a high strung wreck today, pitching seven innings of two run ball.
While he didn't get the win, his encouraging performance demonstrates just how deep the Reds are in terms of young arms: Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, the aforementioned Leake, Homer Bailey, and now Wood.
Another encouraging thing about this is that the bar continues to rise. This is a competitive industry. Guys see one another doing well, and they want to go out and match that. Wood noticed how well Leake had transitioned, and then went out and took matters into his own hands.
During the course of this, perhaps season-shifting 11-game road trip, Wood is slated to get two more starts. Knowing that was going to be the case, I'm not gonna lie; I was feeling a bit nervous. Wood, like every other young pitcher, will take his lumps, but I will feel a bit more comfortable now when he takes his turns in New York and Philadelphia.