Why is it that Homer Bailey and Edinson Volquez appear to be battling for the fourth and final spot in the Reds’ postseason rotation while a rookie who has won just one of his past six starts is widely considered a lock? (Besides the fact that he is left-handed, which obviously is a plus.)
Here’s why: In the 15 starts Travis Wood has made, he’s allowed more than three runs a grand total of two times. Granted, there have been a few starts where he’s only lasted five innings, so those wouldn’t officially be defined as “quality starts.” But even three runs in five innings is giving your team a decent opportunity to win, and he’s done that or better 13 out of 15 times. His strikeout-to-walk ratio this month has been an outstanding 22/4, and he’s allowed just one homer in four September starts.
And you know what’s often overlooked (aside from the fact that he should really have more than five wins based on how well he’s performed)? If this guy makes his next start in San Diego this weekend as expected, it will be his 13th road start in 16 starts. This poor guy hasn’t won a game at GABP yet because he’s only made three starts there! 23 years old and Wood on the road is 5-2 with a 3.31 ERA with opposing batters hitting .201 against him.
Of the teams currently projected to make the playoffs, Wood has faced the Phillies once (the best outing of his young career, the near-perfect game against Halladay that the Reds lost in 11 innings) and has faced the Giants once (the worst outing of his young career, where he allowed seven earned in four innings in San Francisco on Aug. 24). The Braves would see Wood for the first time if the Reds were to meet Atlanta in the postseason.