Travis Wood pitched into the eighth inning as the Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 to retake first place in the National League Central.
But he still couldn’t keep the bullpen from suffering another loss.
Less than a week after Justin Grimm (elbow) went on the disabled list, right-hander Neil Ramirez appears to be headed there, too, after leaving Wednesday’s game with “shoulder discomfort” after throwing three pitches in the ninth.
“It’s nothing real positive I don’t think,” manager Joe Maddon said. “I don’t like to go to Negative Town too quickly. But we’ll see.”
Ramirez, who was fourth in the league last year with a 1.44 ERA (minimum 40 innings), is to have an MRI Thursday. The team expects to have a better idea of his prognosis by Friday’s series opener against the San Diego Padres.
“It looked weird to me the way he was warming up,” catcher Miguel Montero said. “Something wasn’t right. He made a couple of pitches and he didn’t look too good, and that’s when the manager and trainer came out. You don’t want to see that happen.”
The Cubs had been carrying an extra relief pitcher since lefty Zac Rosscup was added Tuesday when infielder Tommy La Stella (rib cage) was placed on the DL.
The injuries haven’t prevented the Cubs from getting off to their best start in six years, winning Wednesday for the fourth time in five games.
Anthony Rizzo, who jump-started the Cubs with a two-run homer into the wind in the first (his first of the season), said the confidence level is noticeably different in the clubhouse and dugout already this year.
“No doubt. I could sense it in spring training,” he said. “It’s just a good group of guys, and it’s very relaxed and very hungry at the same time.
“We need to keep feeling this and get everybody rallying behind us. We’re all rallying for each other and just get the whole city rallying behind us, which they already are, so it feels good.”
Wood (1-1) gave up just three hits and two walks, and struck out seven. He took a two-hitter into the eighth before Brayan Pena led off with a single. When Zack Cozart followed with a walk, Wood was done.
Maddon said he was particularly impressed with Wood’s fastball, which the left-hander relied on all night.
“Definitely from the first inning, I could tell we had a pretty good command of the fastball today,” Wood said, “and that’s the approach we took and we were able to get strike one a lot.”