Wood, Tribe to face familiar foes

Wood, Tribe to face familiar foes

KANSAS CITY -- Kerry Wood has spent the first two months of 2009 looking at hitters' scouting reports. Sometimes the Indians' closer will go over them before the game, while other times he'll do a quick review in the bullpen.

Before this year, Wood had spent his entire 10-year career in the National League with the Cubs. So this year, he's seeing plenty of unfamiliar opponents on his first go-round on the Junior Circuit.

Maybe some of those extra scouting reports can stop this weekend.

The Indians will open Interleague Play with a three-game series against the Reds in Cincinnati, and Wood will have the opportunity to face an old NL Central foe.

Wood, who is 13-5 with three saves against the Reds in 33 career games, has had mixed results in his first season with the Tribe. Wood has six saves, but he's also 1-2 with a 7.71 ERA. Wood said he's figuring out American League hitters, as they're learning about him.

"You just got to pitch to your strengths," Wood said after his sixth save on Wednesday.

Indians manager Eric Wedge gave Wood the day off Thursday after pitching on two straight days.

Wood already has pitched three consecutive days once this year, but Wedge said he wanted to be cautious, especially in a day game after a night game.

"We've got a pretty good idea about what he's done and what he hasn't done," Wedge said about his closer's ability to pitch three or four straight days. "Our whole goal is to keep him away from the DL this year."

Now it's back to the National League for a weekend, and Wood, who has seven career home runs, even has a very slim chance to grab a bat.

And while Wood has seen plenty of the Reds in the last 10 years, this will be his first foray into the battle of Ohio. The Reds took the Ohio Cup last year, going 5-1 against the Indians. But Cleveland holds a 30-27 advantage over the in-state rivals from the south.

Wood's journey back to an NL ballpark might be coming at the right time. It's been a turbulent week for Wood, who gave up three runs in a blown save on Tuesday and then loaded the bases in the ninth before earning the save on Wednesday.

After Tuesday's loss, Wood shaved off his bushy goatee. He said it was a shaving mishap and not intentional. But he couldn't complain too much.

"We're 1-0 without it," Wood said.

Make that 2-0, now.

Pitching matchup
CLE: RHP Anthony Reyes (1-1, 6.88 ERA)
Reyes turned in another unremarkable outing Friday in St. Petersburg, allowing five runs -- three earned -- on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. Staked to a 7-0 lead, he was unable to capitalize, and Cleveland went on to lose the game. Reyes is a command pitcher, and when he is unable to command on the inside part of the plate, opposing batters pounce.

CIN: RHP Bronson Arroyo (5-3, 6.56 ERA)
Arroyo has lost two of his past three starts, but he pitched well on Sunday. He just had the misfortune of opposing Padres ace Jake Peavy, who went the distance while shutting the Reds down by a 3-1 score. Arroyo pitched seven innings and allowed three earned runs and six hits with four walks and four strikeouts.

Tidbits
Grady Sizemore, who started at designated hitter for the third straight game on Thursday, picked up his only hit of the series with a single in the third inning. He also scored a run and walked twice. ... Entering Thursday's game, DH Travis Hafner is 4-for-12 in three rehab games at Triple-A Columbus. Wedge has said the Indians will have a better idea of when Hafner will return at the end of the weekend. ... Indians farmhand Jordan Brown was hitting .390 (16-for-41) in his last eight games entering Thursday. Brown, an outfielder, is hitting .348 for the season.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• STO-HD

On radio
• WTAM 1100

Up next
• Saturday: Indians (David Huff, 0-1, 17.18) at Reds (Homer Bailey, first start of 2009), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Indians (Cliff Lee, 2-5, 2.90) at Reds (Johnny Cueto, 4-2, 2.35), 1:10 p.m. ET
• Monday: Indians (Fausto Carmona, 2-4, 5.74) vs. Rays (Scott Kazmir, 4-4, 7.69), 6:05 p.m. ET

Rustin Dodd is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.