Wood could spell Volquez in possible Game 4
Experience with Philly, now postseason, has Baker's attention
PHILADELPHIA -- There wasn't a lot of good news that emerged from the Reds' 4-0 loss in Game 1 of their National League Division Series with the Phillies on Wednesday night. One of the bright spots, however, was the performance out of the bullpen of Travis Wood.
Wood tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings while allowing only one hit in relief of ineffective and wild starter Edinson Volquez. After replacing Volquez in the second inning of Game 1, Wood may be replacing him in the Cincinnati rotation as the starter for a possible Game 4.
"He's a candidate, big time," Baker said of starting Wood in Game 4. "That's the situation that depends on what happens the next couple days and where we are."
Baker admitted that starting Wood in a Game 4 would be much easier than sending the rookie out for a series opener.
"I'd rather have Wood come in like he did [Wednesday] than start Game 1 with a very young career," Baker said. "Now, next time you're not as apprehensive about him being overwhelmed and nervous, because he's done it, he's had success."
Wood has been particularly effective against the potent Philadelphia lineup this season, allowing just two hits in 12 1/3 scoreless innings against the Phillies. In his lone start against them at Citizens Bank Park in July, he took a perfect game into the ninth inning.
"Hopefully we get there, I'll get the ball and go out there and do the best I can," Wood said matter-of-factly. "It's just like any other team. I'm going to attack them, and it's going to be my night or theirs. Hopefully my pitches are working, I can get ahead quick and get some early outs."
The Phillies' Jayson Werth, though, thinks it's only a matter of time before they start figuring the rookie left-hander out. Werth compared seeing Wood once during the season and again in the playoffs to his team's experience with the Dodgers' Vicente Padilla last season. Padilla pitched a gem in Game 2 of the NLCS against Philadelphia before getting knocked around his next time out in Game 5.
"We have that type of lineup and those type of players that the more you see them, the more apt you are to hit them," Werth said.
As for now, Baker said he wouldn't use Wood out of the bullpen in Game 2 -- the left-hander threw 47 pitches on Wednesday -- and would see if he needs him in Sunday's Game 3. Wood himself said he's ready to pitch "whenever."
The manager did add, however, that he might use Wood as a pinch-runner if needed, mentioning that Wood was one of the fastest players on the team.
That idea got a smile out of the usually businesslike Wood, who did leg out a triple earlier this season at Citi Field and stole one base in the Minors, for Triple-A Louisville last season.
But he, of course, is looking ahead just a little more to a potential start on Monday, even if his approach won't exactly change.
"It's another game," Wood said. "Go out just like any other game."
Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.