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Alex Wood Sent to ‘Pen, Stripling to Take His Spot

Dodgers
Apr 10, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood (57) reacts to committing a throwing error during the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Wood will rejoin fellow starter Kenta Maeda in the bullpen for the remainder of the season.  The move follows yesterday’s announcement that Wood will be skipping his next planned start in St. Louis, making way for Ross Stripling to follow up on his solid performance in Cincinnati.

Just a year removed from an All-Star bid, Wood has struggled with consistency this season.  In his most recent outing against the last-place Reds, Wood lasted just 3.2 innings while allowing 6 runs – it was the 4th time in 5 games that he failed to pitch beyond the 5th inning.

Following his showing in Cincinnati, Roberts had the following to say:

“He was really sharp during that Texas start, but outside of that, he hasn’t been as sharp as he has been earlier this year.”

Wood’s seen a pretty steady decline in the effectiveness of his “stuff” since the first-half of last season, in which he won 10 games before recording his first loss and was consistently sitting between 92-95 with his fastball.

While his second half stats weren’t nearly as impressive as what he was able to accomplish before the All-Star break, he still managed to finish with a 2.72 ERA and his sinker averaged 92.15 MPH.  In comparison, this season Wood’s sporting a 3.65 ERA and his sinker velocity has dropped to 90.53 MPH.

Wood’s experience as a reliever and the bullpen’s inconsistency undoubtedly factored into the decision.  Alex gives Doc the flexibility of having a multi-inning left-hander to call on, similarly to how he’s used Caleb Ferguson so far, and the hope is that his velocity and secondary stuff can play up, similar to what we’ve seen from Kenta Maeda.

The move also gives Roberts the opportunity to ease Ross Stripling back into the rotation.  Comparatively, Stripling has been much better as a starter than Wood this season.  Stripling pitched his way onto the National League All-Star team this season, for the first time in his career, and has been the Dodgers’ second most-valuable pitcher in terms of WAR.

Stripling’s most recent outing in Cincinnati, his first since landing on the DL with back inflammation, was solid.  He gave the squad 3.1 innings and allowed just 1 ER, handing it over to the bullpen who closed out the Dodgers only win in the series.

These aren’t the conversations a manager likes to have, and we can probably assume that Wood is less than thrilled to be losing his spot in the starting rotation.  Still, Ross puts the team in better position to win during this vital run for the post-season.

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Written by Isaac Castro

Born and raised in Southern California, his earliest Dodgers' memories are watching the games from his Grandmother's living room in Oxnard, CA and packing in on Friday nights with his family of 7 to Chavez Ravine. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Economics, and still resides in enemy territory. He plans on naming his first born after Chase Utley.

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