After pitching to mixed results through his first six starts with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Alex Wood turned in seven strong innings against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on Sept. 5. He asked Dodgers manager Don Mattingly to trust him that night, and Mattingly doing so worked in the Dodgers’ favor.
However, rather than build on the outing, Wood struggled Friday night in the series opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He gave up a towering three-run home run to Yasmany Tomas in the first inning and an RBI triple to Chris Owings, allowing the Diamondbacks to jump out to an early 4-0 lead.
Wood was lifted after just 1.2 innings pitched and eight runs (six earned) allowed, and spoke of how fickle baseball can be, via J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News:
I haven’t had one of those in a pretty long time,” he said. “Baseball’s funny that way sometimes. I probably had my best (start) since I’ve been over here last one, then probably had my first one of the year today. It’s a cruel game.”
Along with his velocity appearing to be a tick or two below his usual speed, Wood said he uncharacteristically had trouble with his three pitches, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
Usually it’s only one or two (pitches) you don’t have on any given night – not all three,” Wood said. “From the start, all three (pitches) were not very good tonight. You just chalk it up to being one of those nights.”
The 1.2 innings and 62 pitches thrown was the shortest of Wood’s 63 career starts; whether evaluated by innings or pitches. On the season Wood is now 10-10 with a 3.81 ERA and 1.44 WHIP. He’s 3-3 with a 4.53 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in eight starts with the Dodgers.
While Wood allowed the Diamondbacks to take a comfortable early lead, the Dodgers did little at the plate to help him, or any of the relievers that followed. Only Justin Ruggiano’s grand slam with two outs in the ninth inning prevented Los Angeles from being shut out in what finished a 12-4 loss.