Seeing players progress and overcome adversity is one of the most astonishing things that individuals admire about sports.
This person hasn’t been mentioned in many discussions regarding baseball’s most improved players, but Alex Wood definitely deserves to be recognized for his performance this year. The 26 year old only appeared in 14 games during 2016, but he has been a tremendous factor in the Dodgers pitching rotation in 2017.
Wood has compiled a surprising 16-3 record within his 25 starts and owns an ERA of 2.72. That’s third overall in the among left-handed MLB starting pitchers with a minimum of 120 innings pitched). Numbers never lie, but sometimes perception can be deceitful for some. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is still evaluating many possibilities for postseason action, and it looks like he can’t confidently say what Wood’s role will be in October. There is also a chance that Wood starts on Sunday for the last game of the season, but Roberts could not confidently answer that question either.
Doc said "Alex Wood was good, not great. But he still found a way." Still would not confirm if he starts in postseason. #Dodgers
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) September 27, 2017
NBC LA’s Michael J. Duarte tweeted Roberts’ statement Tuesday evening after the 9-2 victory against the San Diego Padres. Some reports were also released about Roberts’ uncertainty prior to the game, where he also threw Hyun-Jin Ryu in the mix of players without a set-in-stone role.
Nobody besides Roberts and the front office knows what is going to happen, but it seems like they need more looks from him and Ryu to know where to place them. Hopefully Alex Wood’s start on Tuesday was able to show them what they are looking for, whether it was how he looked in a full six innings or how he looked in certain situations that he could face out of the bullpen.
Hyun-Jin Ryu throwing a bullpen session. Will determine when/if/what role he will pitch again in regular season. #contusion
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) September 26, 2017
Alex Wood: "I expect to start. I've been pretty good all year. I think everybody in this clubhouse trusts me with the ball in my hand."
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) September 27, 2017
Wood allowed two home runs during the fifth inning, but one of them also came off of a questionable interference call in left field. However, that shouldn’t take the spotlight away from his solid outing. The strikeouts weren’t there, but Wood gradually gathered a productive rhythm from the very first inning.
Bill Plunkett of the OC Register also made this pretty valuable observation that could explain the hesitation from Dave Roberts.
Since AS break — 3.89 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .262 batting average against and 6.78 Ks per 9 IP
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) September 27, 2017
Spectators don’t know everything, but it’s safe to say that Alex Wood has earned his right to be a part of the starting rotation when the Dodgers go up against the Wild Card winner in the NLDS. Unfortunately, just because he has earned it does not mean that a starting rotation role will best suit the Dodgers. Hyun-Jin Ryu starts on Friday against the Rockies so a good outing will definitely complicate this matter even more.
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