2018 was Alex Wood’s fourth year in a Dodgers uniform, having been acquired in a three-team trade in July 2015. He signed for $6 million for the year, avoiding arbitration.
Regular Season Recap
After a surprising All-Star season in 2017, many saw Wood due for regression in 2018. That proved to be the case for the lefty, moving from the rotation to the bullpen in a solid-if-unspectacular season. After losing his first four decisions as a starter, he did manage to win eight of his next ten. In mid-September, however, he was demoted to the bullpen. His season totals came to a 9-7 record and a 3.68 ERA.
How’d He Do in October?
Not too good. Used strictly in relief, Wood became the “use only if necessary” member of the relief corps throughout October. Facing his former team in Atlanta in game three of the NLDS, he immediately coughed up a tiebreaking solo home run to Freddie Freeman, thus earning the loss. He fared better in the NLCS, although he was used sparingly and not in high-leverage situations.
The low point came in game one of the World Series. With two on and two out in the bottom of the seventh, Dave Roberts oddly chose to pull the red hot Pedro Baez in favor of Wood. As Roberts explained afterwards, it was for a lefty-lefty matchup with Rafael Devers. But Alex Cora negated that with right-handed pinch-hitter Eduardo Nunez, who blasted a three-run homer over the Green Monster to put the game out of reach.
Wood did, fortunately, have one bright shining moment in an otherwise brutal month. With the bullpen utterly depleted going into the 18th inning of game three, he was brought in as the last available reliever. Immediately issuing a walk to Sandy Leon, fans understandably feared the worst. Luckily, he got Mookie Betts to ground out, and then ended the inning by inducing Xander Bogaerts on a double play.
As it turned out, he would be the last pitcher L.A. needed, earning the win on Max Muncy’s walk-off homer to left center to start the bottom half.
What Lies Ahead
Wood is currently due for salary arbitration once again. Much like Ross Stripling, he could make for an excellent trade chip given the team’s surplus of starters. But his versatility and left-handedness assure he’ll be of good use in 2019, if he stays.
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