The Dodgers brought back free agent Alex Wood last offseason with the idea that he could offer some depth and protection in case one of their starters went down with an injury. And while the regular season was pretty anticlimactic for him, the postseason has been a different story completely.
In 4.2 innings this October, Wood has pitched to the tune of a 1.98 ERA with 5 strikeouts over 3 games. The sample size is small, but what he was able to do in game 2 of the World Series should not be overlooked. The Dodgers couldn’t finish the job the last time Wood was here, which was the main reason he came back.
I came here for one reason, to win a World Series, and we’re here on the cusp of doing something special.
It has indeed been a special run for the Dodgers. Prior to the NLCS, the Dodgers were a perfect 5-0 and absolutely unstoppable. According to Wood, that’s because those teams weren’t quite on their level. The Braves, however, were a different story.
We weren’t really challenged those first two rounds. Then you get punched in the face, you go down 2-1 [to the Braves] and it’s like, ‘Whoa, what just happened?
Going into October, most people had pegged the San Diego Padres as the Dodgers’ biggest threat to win the NL, but that series didn’t provide as much drama as we would’ve hoped, even if we did get an amazing moment from our friend Brusdar Graterol.
Manny Machado celebrated a homer with a huge bat flip.
A few innings later, he and the Padres exchanged words after Brusdar Graterol threw his glove celebrating Bellinger's home run-robbing catch.
— The Athletic MLB (@TheAthleticMLB) October 8, 2020
In the end, the Brewers and Padres were only stepping stones before the Dodgers took on the Atlanta Braves. It wasn’t until that series that the Dodgers had to find out just how much fight they had, and Alex Wood believes that being down against the Braves helped the Dodgers realize who they really are.
We’d been out-talenting everyone the whole season. We didn’t know what we were made of as a team until you get down 2-1 and see how you respond. Well, now we know who we are. Not only are we the most talented team, but we’ve got that swagger.
The NLCS may prove to be the breakthrough for this Dodgers team. It wasn’t until then that they had to overcome adversity, but now they know they can. The Rays are no joke, however, with some hard fought wins against the Yankees and the Astros to get to this point.
But with so much “swagger” on the Dodgers side, who can bet against them?