Left-hander Alex Wood was looking good through four innings yesterday, but then disaster started to rear its ugly head and manager Dave Roberts decided to leave Wood in as the Los Angeles Dodgers looked to preserve their scoreless innings streak. Was it the right move? Well, our own Anthony Irwin wrote about why it was at least defensible.
Theoretically, it was the right move. It’s still early in the season, and it appeared that Roberts wanted to show that he trusted one of his starters enough to get through a jam and even get through the next inning. Plus, there was still something else at play for Roberts when that decision came up.
With rookie Ross Stripling slated to start on Friday, Roberts felt he could not expend his bullpen for four innings of work. He hoped Wood could slog through another frame. “I still trusted his stuff at that point,” Roberts said, even after the maneuver backfired.
As stated, with the fifth starter pitching on Friday evening, Roberts did not want to extend his bullpen any longer than he had to. Preferably, Wood would have gotten through the sixth inning with the lead intact and the bullpen would have only had to pitch three innings instead of four. It was a strategic play.
While some will certainly question Roberts’ motives, it’s hard to question his logic. Roberts isn’t playing for a win in game four as much as he playing to win games further down the line with a trusted pitching staff and rested bullpen. No use burning the bullpen out early in April, and no use abandoning hope and trust in a pitcher four days into the season.