Kerry Wood loses his cool in loss to Braves


Kerry Wood loses his cool in loss to Braves

Kerry Wood walked off the mound and squeezed his glove before throwing it into the stands. He tossed his hat to the fans before disappearing into the dugout.

It was like a scene out of Little League. One pressbox wag wondered what the reaction would have been if Carlos Zambrano had done something like that.

The boos were muted, barely audible, during Tuesday nights meltdown, because its Wood. Cubs fans have a soft spot for the kid they watched grow up at Wrigley Field.

But it all unraveled for the 34-year-old reliever during the eighth inning of a 3-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves. His postgame media session lasted 45 seconds. He cut it off after a reporter mentioned the glove.

Irrelevant, dude, and why the (bleep) would you even bring that up? Wood said. You guys have a good night.

With that, Wood stormed away from his locker. He hadnt really spoken publicly since leaving the team in the middle of April, flying from Miami to Chicago for a cortisone shot the team hoped would strengthen his right shoulder.

There were more questions about Woods health after he faced six Braves and walked two and gave up two hits. By the time Dan Ugglas two-run single landed in left-center field, parts of the announced crowd of 38,523 began heading toward the exits.

Thats the frustrating thing, Wood said. I bounced back from the injection and the shoulder feels great. It still feels fine. I actually threw some good curveballs tonight for the first time in a month. But its all about results.

Manager Dale Sveum: He said he feels fine.

The Cubs (12-18) wasted another strong start from Ryan Dempster, who limited a powerful Braves lineup to one run across seven innings, but hasnt had his luck change.

Dempster still doesnt have a win yet, even with a 1.02 ERA through five quality starts. He probably knows Wood as well as anyone in the Cubs clubhouse.

I know hes feeling good, Dempster said. Coming off the DL, hes had a couple rough outings. But hes a professional, as professional as anybody Ive ever played with and things will turn around real soon.

Before the game, Cubs president Theo Epstein told reporters how the upcoming draft is probably the most important thing that were doing right now, to be honest.

Its a year-long process, Epstein said. Right now, were right in the sweet spot of finishing up evaluations, going back, getting final looks and then well get together and dissect all the information.

Thats where the Cubs are at as an organization, looking at around 10 players for the sixth overall pick.

While it would be nice to win this year, its not the No. 1 priority. Its all building toward the future, which seems to make a 3 million setup guy something of a luxury item.

Wood can do a lot for that clubhouse, and may still strengthen this bullpen, but right now he has a 14.54 ERA. Something is clearly gnawing at him.

Its frustrating. It doesnt matter if youre young or a veteran guy, Sveum said. When you give up a couple runs and you walk a couple guys, its frustrating. It doesnt matter who you are, how many years you have in the big leagues. Its frustrating to do that in a tie ballgame.

Morning Update: Cubs tie up World Series with Game 2 win; Bulls begin season against Celtics

Morning Update: Cubs tie up World Series with Game 2 win; Bulls begin season against Celtics

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Cubs offense settling into World Series groove

Cubs offense settling into World Series groove

CLEVELAND - It doesn't take long for the 2016 Cubs to rebound.

Their American League-style lineup is just simply too talented to keep down for an extended period of time, especially with Kyle Schwarber now added back into the fold.

They Cubs hitters are so confident, they even left Progressive Field feeling good about themselves despite being shut out in Game 1 of the World Series.

The Cubs got on the board early Wednesday night, plating a run on the third batter of the game as Anthony Rizzo doubled home Kris Bryant.

"Take the momentum away. Take the crowd out of it," Bryant said. "It's nice to score first. Especially when you're the visiting team, to get out there and score within the first three batters is huge."

The early lead helped the lineup settle in and keep their foot on the gas for a 5-1 victory to take the series back to Wrigley Field tied one game apiece.

"Especially with a young lineup, I think when you see a few guys go up there and take some good quality at-bats, one happens after the other and the other guys seem to do the same thing," Ben Zobrist said. "It takes a lot of pressure off. When you see other guys having good, quality at-bats, you don't feel like you have to take pitches and you can be aggressive early on. 

"Oftentimes when you're aggressive in the zone is when you take the tough ones. We did a good job tonight laying off some good pitches. When they made mistakes in the zone, we really hit the ball hard. Even though we scored five runs, obviously we had a lot of baserunners on and we could've scored a lot more."

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

Zobrist has a point.

The night after leaving nine runners on base and going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, the Cubs left 13 runners on base and tallied just three hits in 12 tries with runners in scoring position.

Between nine hits and eight walks, there were Cubs on base all game. Indians pitchers didn't retire Cubs hitters in order in an inning until the seventh.

The Cubs also forced the Indians to throw 196 pitches in nine innings and worked starter Trevor Bauer to 51 pitches through the first two frames.

"That was good for us," Bryant said. "We saw a lot of their bullpen, so we have a lot of information to learn from and hopefully use in the next game."

Anthony Rizzo summed up the lineup's mentality simply:

"Grind out at-bats, work the pitcher's pitch count up and get the next guy up," he said.

That "pass the baton" mentality is what drives this offense and after a brief lull in that regard in Los Angeles when they were shut out in back-to-back games in the NLCS, the Cubs leave Cleveland feeling pretty good.

"When we're able to [get pitch counts up], you can kinda feel it - our offense really feeds off of that," Zobrist said. "We believe that we're going to break through eventually."