When it was all said and done, the Los Angeles Dodgers emerged with a 2-0 victory in the series finale against the Colorado Rockies. Behind the stellar outing from pitcher Alex Wood, the game was the shortest of the season for the Dodgers, lasting only two hours and eight minutes.
The southpaw’s efficient outing was a promising thing to see from a management perspective, as Wood is the leading candidate in the rotation to emerge as the fourth starter in the playoffs. Although Mattingly hasn’t ruled out the possibility of using only three pitchers in the NLDS, the 24-year-old is a promising option, especially after the debacle of Mat Latos.
After throwing eight shutout innings, where he allowed one hit and zero walks, the North Carolina native was pulled for closer Kenley Jansen after pitching his best game as a Dodger. When asked if it was the best game of his career, the second-year player wasn’t too sure of claiming that title. “I don’t know if I’d call it the game of my life,” he said. “Across the board, it’s probably one of my better starts in my big league career. It’s not often you have eight shutout with one hit, that was a first for me. I don’t know if I’d call it the game of my life. I’ve had a few good ones.”
Catcher A.J. Ellis has now caught three games with Wood pitching, with two of the three games resulting in victories. The veteran catcher’s reputation as a game-caller has fared well with the Dodger starting rotation, in terms of creating a strong relationship with a battery partner, especially amongst the new pitchers. In the post game interview, Wood was adamant on giving credit to Ellis and being on the same page throughout the game. “When you’re out of whack sometimes you can feel it,” Wood said.
“It’s like playing golf. Luckily me and A.J. were on the same page. He did a great job tonight.”
Much was made about the decision to pull Wood after the eighth inning. The thought process behind manager Don Mattingly’s decision was mostly based on the fact that Jansen was rested. Understanding that the Dodgers had a day off on Thursday, Mattingly elected with Jansen and was determined to do so.
“Obviously you always want to stay in,” Wood remarked. “I wasn’t going to fight too hard, especially after my last one. If I wouldn’t have had my worst start my last time, I probably would’ve put up more of a fight,” Wood stated. “I was a little surprised. He [Mattingly] went to shake my hand and I pulled it back a bit. I’ve always said the whole time I’ve been here, all I want to do is win.”
All in all, the Dodgers clinched the victory and now find the magic number to clinch the division at 10 games. In what can be described as a theme for the ball club, most players have consistently stated that winning is the major priority and Wood was no different. “We’re trying to clinch our playoff berth and have some confidence going into the series with Pittsburgh. Ninth inning, as everybody knows, is Kenley’s for the most part.”
The winning mentality has taken notice throughout the clubhouse, as the team is 17-5 since pitcher Clayton Kershaw stated that the team should play with a sense of urgency. The Dodgers begin a three-game series over the weekend against the Pittsburgh Pirates, in a potential NLCS preview.