Since being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers one day prior to the July 31 non-waiver deadline, Alex Wood has gone at least six innings in just two of his five starts — both times tossing 6.1 innings.
Wood appeared to be on his way to throwing a minimum of six innings Tuesday night against the Cincinnati Reds, only to be knocked off course by a Brandon Phillips two-out base hit in the sixth after the left-hander retired the previous two batters faced in the inning.
With Reds third baseman and 2015 Home Run Derby champion Todd Frazier due up, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly made his way to the mound as Chris Hatcher and J.P. Howell had been warming up in the bullpen.
Wood pleaded with his manager to remain in the game, appearing to repeatedly state “please” before begrudgingly handing the ball over. Hatcher entered and promptly allowed an RBI double to Frazier. Howell was then called on to face Jay Bruce, and he got the Dodgers out of the inning.
When asked about removing Wood, Mattingly said the decision was tied to Frazier’s previous at-bats and one he regretted not making earlier, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
To be honest, I waited too long,” Mattingly said, wishing he had brought in Hatcher to face Phillips. “[Wood] wasn’t going to get Frazier again, he had too good of swings. He wanted to stay in, I like that, but I didn’t feel he had enough to get through him again. The swings Todd had the first two times, he was right on pitches, I don’t want to give them a chance to get back in right there.”
Wood attempted to brush aside the question and only said he believed his stuff was still there, according to ESPN’s Mark Saxon::
Wood was tight-lipped about his sixth-inning removal after the game, repeating that he was just happy the team won. Asked how he felt about his chances of getting Frazier out, Wood laughed and said, “I felt pretty good, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”
Prior to his sixth-inning at-bat, Frazier hit a leadoff double in the second and struck out looking in the fourth on a full count in an eight-pitch at-bat. Also factoring into the decision to remove Wood despite the fact he’d thrown only 88 pitches is opponents are batting .322/.385/.447 the third time through the order this season.
That’s up significantly from a career .262/.319/.361 slash line for opponents the third time facing Wood in a game. The one run Hatcher allowed was the lone score allowed by the Dodgers bullpen over the final 3.1 innings.
As for Wood, he earned the win and improved to 9-8 on the season, including 3-2 with the Dodgers. He lowered his ERA to 3.70 and holds a 1.41 WHIP.