SAN DIEGO -- Travis Wood can finally breathe.Making his Padres debut Friday night, the left-handed Wood pitched six innings against the Pirates, holding them to two hits and runs each in a 3-2 victory. Before Monday's trade that sent him to San Diego, Wood had a 6.91 ERA with Kansas
SAN DIEGO -- Travis Wood can finally breathe.
Making his Padres debut Friday night, the left-handed Wood pitched six innings against the Pirates, holding them to two hits and runs each in a 3-2 victory. Before Monday's trade that sent him to San Diego, Wood had a 6.91 ERA with Kansas City, with only three of his 28 outings being starts.
"I'm just taking this opportunity as a fresh start, to come here and don't think about anything that's happened this season," Wood said. "Just come in and put in work and do anything I can to help this young ballclub out that seems to have a lot of passion and loves to play and loves to win."
Wood experienced success he hadn't had as a starting pitcher since April 28, 2015, an outing also against the Pirates that represented his last win as a starter before Friday. His six innings and seven strikeouts were his most since he struck out nine across seven innings in that early 2015 outing while with the Cubs.
In coming to San Diego, Wood was afforded the comfort of playing alongside other former Cubs in Clayton Richard and Matthew Szczur. Having arrived Tuesday, he had most of the week to acclimate himself to his new clubhouse.
"I think he's one of those guys that was in the midst of a year that just wasn't going right," Padres manager Andy Green said. "Hoping to make the rotation over there, doesn't make it. Pitches out of the 'pen, starts off really rocky in April, has a really rough month, and the rest of that is just trying to get out from underneath all the water that's on top of your head. He finally gets a fresh start over here and you see who he is."
Wood succeeded Friday by mixing his pitches, successfully backdooring his cutter against a fully right-handed lineup.
His only mistakes came in the third. After Wood hit Josh Harrison with two outs, Andrew McCutchen sent a two-run home run to left, his third against Wood in his career.
Wood retired the next 10 Pirates he faced to finish off the outing.
"This guy has been a good Major League pitcher throughout his career," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "The numbers this year, they are what they are. We've seen him good. We knew what to anticipate and expect. We weren't able to punch back."
Back in the National League, Wood contributed offensively, as well. After popping up in his first at-bat, he came up again with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth. Wood grounded an RBI single into left, driving in his first run in a regular season game since May 18, 2016.
"I love hitting, so it was really nice for me," Wood said. "Being able to get a hit there was clutch."
This fresh start could easily prove to be clutch, as well.
"Any time you have failures, it always makes you grow because you have to see what you did wrong and you have to correct it," Wood said. "So any time you have a bad season, if you can step back and look at it, you'll learn and grow and be a better player."
Friday night, Wood was just that.
Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego.