Like is so often the case in baseball, sometimes it just comes down to one pitch.
That’s what seemed to be on Travis Wood’s mind following the Cubs’ latest loss: one pitch.
The Cubs were ahead during much of Saturday’s game against the visiting Houston Astros at Wrigley Field, and they led 3-0 when Wood went out for the sixth inning. Wood was again pitching well, as he has for most of the season. But after two fly outs, Wood allowed a single to Jose Altuve, then another single to Chris Carter, then a three-run, game-tying home run to J.D. Martinez that landed on Waveland Avenue.
The lead was gone, and the Cubs would never get it back, losing, 4-3.
“I didn’t feel tired or anything. I was cruising, but I’ve got to bear down right there knowing the tying run’s at the plate,” Wood said. “I missed bad with the pitch. It was supposed to be backdoor, and it ended up coming all the way across the plate. That just can’t happen.”
With each new variation on the questioning during his postgame press conference, Wood kept blaming himself for the loss -- even though he ended up with a no decision. And each time, he came back to that one pitch.
“We battled. We were in there all the way. We had the lead,” Wood said. “And I missed with the pitch, and he hit it out. And then the relievers came in and did their job. Really, it falls back on me not being able to execute the pitch at that point.”
The truth was that Wood was cruising, and even after surrendering that long ball, Wood had still allowed just three runs. Throw in his six innings of work, and it was another quality start for the lefty, his 14th in 15 starts this season. He leads the majors in the category.
It’s been that kind of June for Wood, as a mixture of untimely hits and a lack of run support has resulted in a 0-3 record in four starts. On the season, he’s 5-6 despite allowing more than three earned runs just once.
But when those numbers and the accompanying lack of results were brought up to Wood, it was the same line.
“That falls back on not being able to execute the pitch there,” Wood said. “That was the big spot in the lineup. They got the tying run to the plate, coming out hacking, and he did what I was supposed to do and I didn’t do what I was supposed to do.”
One pitch. Sometimes it’s all about that one pitch.