I don't know about you guys, but I look at Travis Wood as a pivitol figure in the 2011 story of the NL Central. When you talk about left handed starters in this division, you are talking about Jaime Garcia, Wandy Rodriguez, Randy Wolfe... and... drum roll please... the wildcard, Travis Wood. Maybe a kid named Chapman, but that is for a later date than the Christmas Holidays...
Whenever this team that is so dear to our hearts has been great, they have had a tremendous left handed pitcher in the mix. I am talking about Don Gullet, Tom Browning, Johnny Vander Meer, Fred Norman, Jim O'Toole and/or Danny Jackson. I am talking about the type of magic only an exceptional lefty can bring to a championship season... the proverbial "wild" card that has won so many critical card games over the course of history.
As a fan, I am so impressed with Travis Wood. He looks like a roadie for Lynard Skynard and pitches like Lefty Grove. The near perfect game he pitched in Philly mid-season was the stuff of legend, and not just because it was nearly a perfect game. It was legendary because he allowed a lead off double in the bottom of the ninth to spoil his place in future documentaries, yet had the composure to pitch out of that jam and send the game to extra innings without letting that winning run score. Despite the fact we ultimately lost that game and got swept in the series, I thought that was a turning point in the 2010 season, just knowing that we had kids with this type of meddle in the Reds' bloodstream.
Last spring, I thought Mike Leake was light years ahead of Travis Wood, because of the hype and the draft standing, that there was literally nothing that Wood could do to make me excited. The one televised spring training game Wood pitched, I think he walked 10 hitters. But, sitting here today, I am more excited about what Travis can do to help this team repeat as NL Central Champs than any other player on the roster. I truly believe he can be THAT good. Cuteo, Arroyo and Bailey are exceptional right handed pitchers in the scope of things, but Travis Wood could easily be this team's Cliff Lee in 2011. I believe he can be that good. Agree or disagree?