Wizards send out Travis Chick in game one

There is a state of euphoria in Fort Wayne. The Wizards have won fifteen of their final twenty games and look towards game one of the Midwest League playoffs against South Bend on Wednesday. Travis Chick will take the hill, arguably the hottest pitcher in the entire San Diego Padres system.<br><br> "Looking back on it, you don't realize you are doing that good," Chick said of the Wizards dominance of late. "We have been pretty hot lately."

"I am looking forward to it," Chick said of getting the nod in game one.

It is fitting that Travis Chick gets the game one start. He has been the staff ace for the Fort Wayne Wizards.

Chick was acquired in a deal that sent Ismael Valdez to the Florida Marlins in July of this year. Since then he has gone 5-0 with a 2.13 ERA. He has won each of his past four starts and has an ERA of 1.07 during that four game stretch. Going back one more game, a no decision where Chick did not allow a run, his ERA is a slim 0.93.

Chick came to the Padres from Greensboro in the South Atlantic League. Greensboro ended the second half 30-39 and will miss the playoffs.

The right-hander has never been to the playoffs before, so the energy is meant to be savored.

"You always want to win," Chick said. "I am looking forward to being in the playoffs.

"You work all season to try and win. When you work all season – it is like it paid off. You finally get to play in late September so you are getting your body used to playing. You are looking towards the Big Leagues and September is when you want to be throwing in the Big Leagues."

It is not like Chick had other plans that he is putting off. His immediate offseason plans involved rest and relaxation for a few weeks before getting back into the workout routine to prepare for 2005.

Chick wants to come out and throw that first strike to set the tone. It will quell the adrenaline and put the game back into perspective. It is just another baseball game. Throwing that strike shouldn't be a problem for Chick. He has struck out 55 batters in 42.1 innings of work as a Wizard. He has walked just nine over that span.

There is no need for the 20 year old to throw one up and in to the first batter of the game. His game has been far too good to try and establish something outside of the norm.

"I have pitched against them before," Chick said confidently. "They know it is my mound. I have been throwing well the way I have been throwing. I am not going to change. If they are going to beat me, they are going to beat me with what I got to offer.

"Hopefully, I go out there and win the first game and Sean goes out there and does his job."

Sean Thompson will start in game two for the Wizards. He has no doubt that he will be pitching with a victory already in hand.

"I am pretty sure we are not going to lose the first game," Thompson stated.

Hard to argue with the lefty. Chick has yet to taste defeat as a Wizard and has no plan on starting now.

Wednesday night at Memorial Stadium is where the action is. The Wizards may have squeaked into the playoffs but now that they are in, they hope to spin the magic that has aided them through the last quarter of the season and bring home a first round playoff series before moving on to the next challenge.

Denis Savage can be reached at denis@sandiegosports.net

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