After putting forth his worst start in his brief tenure with the Los Angeles Dodgers, pitcher Alex Wood responded emphatically with possibly the best start of his career against the Colorado Rockies. The southpaw threw eight innings, allowed one hit, no runs and no walks in the Dodgers 2-0 victory on Wednesday.
When being a Major League player, the competitive nature of a person takes over when being on the mound. Through eight innings pitched, Wood threw only 78 pitches, bringing up the possibility of allowing him to pitch for the complete game shutout. In the end, manager Don Mattingly stuck with the well-rested Kenley Jansen, in order to close out the game and give the Dodgers the series victory.
After the game, Mattingly was asked about the decision to pull Wood after the eighth inning. The former player stated that he understood Wood and his eagerness to complete the game, but was just thinking in the best interest of the team. “At four runs I would’ve [left Wood in for the ninth],” Mattingly said. “He did his job and Kenley is rested, plus Kenley will get the day off tomorrow. He looked at me kind of funny. I just said, ‘That’s it. Don’t even ask me.'”
On his way to the dugout, the left-hander avoided shaking Mattingly’s hand trying to get another inning. The drastic difference after his previous start against the Arizona Diamondbacks was a stepping stone for the 24-year-old. After his previous outing, the southpaw stated that baseball was a cruel game and that disappointing outings like that one happen.
The ability for Wood to bounce back with a dominant start is a confidence boost for Mattingly, who has to make the ultimate decision of whether to include Wood as a starting pitcher in the playoff rotation. “Alex is competitive,” he remarked.
“He’s always going to battle and always want to stay in the game, so I expected him to bounce back. He’s a competitive guy and that’s what you get with guys who compete. If they get beat up a little bit they’re not going to go hide in a corner. They’re going to go work and come back out more competitive than ever.”
The resiliency is a nice feature for the North Carolina native, who increased his record to 11-10. On the season, the pitcher has an ERA of 3.83, with a 4.21 FIP, 98 ERA+, and 1.29 WHIP in his nine starts for the Dodgers.