Randy in Chattanooga writes for me over at MinorLeagueNotebook.com (big changes coming soon over there) where he covers the Southern League. The Chattanooga Lookouts have allowed him some perks and he took advantage of opportunity this weekend with the Mudcats in town. He had a chance to sit down with lefty Travis Wood this past weekend and contribute it to the site. Here is what Randy and Travis (there is a country music joke in there somewhere I am sure) had to say.
Game report 5/23/09
Travis Wood continued the Mudcat trend of dominance over the Lookout hitters by going seven very strong innings giving up no runs, five hits, two walks, a hit batsman and six strikeouts.
He also was working it on offense going 1 or 3 (although could have been 2 for 3 if not for a bang-bang play on an infield hit that could easily been called safe). He showed tremendous hustle and very good speed on the base paths hustling to first on the infield hit attempt and by taking an extra base on an error sliding into third base before the tag.
His seven shut out innings dropped his ERA to 1.38 placing him 1st in the league. His performance is now one of many piling up this season that is inching him towards Louisville closer and closer.
I had a chance to chat with Travis after the next evening’s game and ask him about his performance on the mound and at the plate. I also had a chance to ask him a few questions about his season and career. He was a very good guy and very accommodating. I appreciated the time he took for us here.
Q & A:
Q: The play at first in the second inning, were you safe?
TW: It was close, it was close, I thought I was there.
Q: You got up the line awfully fast, you’re a pretty fast runner?
TW: I don’t know, I just like being on base. I try to help out any way I can
Q: Another play that was scary, in that 2nd inning that comebacker, where did that get you?
TW: Right in the glove (it was coming straight for his face. He was saved only by his quick reactions).
Q: You got your single off Scott Elbert the #1 pre-season prospect by MinorLeagueNotebook.com.
TW: He’s a very, very good pitcher
Q: Since you got a hit off Elbert and you look like you know what you are doing at the plate (and a couple of hits by Stewart a couple of nights ago) is there kind of a contest going on between the pitchers with batting averages?
TW: Sort of, sort of there is, we like to make fun of people when they don’t get hits and talk the pitching staff up when they do get hits.
Q: If you do have a contest going on, I think you have a new ringer with Zach Stewart.
TW: Stewart 2 for 3!
Q: Who do you think is going to take the batting average (title) for the pitchers?
TW: I don’t know, it’s still early. Stewart had a good showing.
Q: Explain the difference this go around at the AA level compared to last season (17 starts, 4-9 record, 7.09 ERA in AA) it’s been a total turn-around, any explanation for that?
TW: I’ve figured out some things on the pitching side and stayed under control and have been able to do that really well. I’ve commanded all my stuff pretty good so far.
Q: You’re holding right-handed hitters to a .209 batting average. Is there something you’re trying to do with them up at the plate?
TW: Not really, more consistency and confidence this year.
Q: Doug wanted to know about the development of your three pitches. You throw a fastball and a change-up. What else have you been working on?
TW: Curveball, it’s been a work in progress. It’s finally getting to where I want it to be. It’s getting a little more consistent each outing.
Q: Did you not throw a curveball in high school?
TW: I did, but then I got told I needed a change-up to get drafted better. So I got a change-up and stopped throwing the curveball.
Q: Did you have a pretty good curveball in high school?
TW: I had a decent one, a lot better than it has been in the past years.
Q: What pitches do you throw altogether then, fastball, change-up and working on the curve?
TW: slider and cutter
Q: So you throw the two-seam and four-seam as well then?
Q: Other than pitcher, what other positions did you play in high school?
TW: all the outfield spots and first
Q: How close did you come to going to the Arkansas Razorbacks (college)?
TW: I already signed and committed to them (before the draft)
Q: What things did you work in the off-season to prepare for this season ahead?
TW: running, lifting weights, getting stronger, getting my arm in shape, really working on everything, extension, being more consistent.
Q: Did you work with a trainer in the off-season or a pitching coach?
TW: I worked out with Cliff Lee (Cy Young award winner from the Cleveland Indians). He’s from Benton, Arkansas.
Q: Do you go back to Arkansas? Is that your off-season home?
Q: Favorite team growing up as a kid and favorite player?
TW: I followed the Braves
Q: Were you like a (Tom) Glavine (being a lefty) and watch his stuff?
TW: yeah, but my over-all favorite guy was Nolan Ryan
Q: Do you have any goals the remainder of this season?
TW: Keep doing what I am doing and finish how I started.
You’ve started well and you have a lot of fans on the web-sites I write for.
Thank you very much and I appreciate your time.
I just wanted to thank Randy and Travis Wood for doing this. Hopefully Travis can keep things going in the right direction.