Jim Hendry acknowledges that Kerry Wood will have to show he can occasionally pitch on three consecutive days to become a full-fledged closer. But can he even pitch on two?
Woody pitched in both ends of the 9/15 doubleheader in St. Louis, but other than that, he never pitched in consecutive days in ’07; in half of his 22 appearances, he was going on two, three or four days rest.
The Cubs also saved Kerry for the low-leverage innings. In fact, according to Fangraphs
, Wood pitched, on average, in lower leverage situations than any other Cub pitchers, except young Gallagher, Petrick, Pignatiello and Marshall (relief appearances only.)
The stat I’m drawing on here is Average Leverage Index per plate appearance, which measures the possible change in win probability due to the result of any one at-bat. Wood’s pLI was 0.52; Marmol (1.19), Howry (1.44), and Dempster (1.57) were dealing with entirely different stress levels altogether.
I thought the Cubs handled Wood well after his return from the DL in early August. He contributed, and he didn’t get hurt.
But if he really does get the closer’s job, I don’t think either will be the case for very long in ’08.