For the first time since being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Alex Wood put together a shutout appearance. It also coincided with the 24-year-old making his deepest start for Los Angeles — seven innings in a win against the San Diego Padres on Saturday night.
While it was Wood’s best outing post-July 30, it wasn’t necessarily his easiest. The Padres managed to put at least one runner on base in three of the first four innings. However, only in the fourth did they get a man into scoring position — drawing a pair of walks.
Following the win, Wood expressed his gratitude for Dodgers manager Don Mattingly allowing him to continue pitching, via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
Donnie (Mattingly) and I talked,” Wood said. “I told him, ‘I’ve been a horse in Atlanta.’ I said, ‘If you just have that faith in me, more times than not, hopefully I’ll be able to reward you.’ Fortunately enough, I was able to do it tonight. I hope it continues to be that way.”
The pitcher and manager were at odds in Cincinnati back on Aug. 25 when Wood pleaded his case to remain in the game in attempt to finish out the sixth inning. Mattingly nonetheless brought the hook, which didn’t sit particularly well with the left-hander.
Mattingly asserted after Wood’s outing on Saturday there’s never been a lack of confidence and credited his starter for mixing pitches:
I never didn’t have confidence in him,” Mattingly said. “It’s just usually the parts of the order we were at. Tonight the order was in the right spot. He was just sharp. He was using all his pitches. He used some breaking balls down and in, he changed speeds. He’s not going to be overpowering but he used all his pitches, got some roll-overs and was combo-ing up pretty good.”
Wood flirted late with some trouble as Matt Kemp hit a leadoff single in the sixth, with the Dodgers clinging to a 1-0 lead and Justin Upton representing the go-ahead run at the plate. Kemp wound up getting picked off, though not without the Dodgers reversing their fortunes with the use of replay, and Wood struck out Upton swinging on a full count.
Then in the seventh, Wil Myers led the inning off with a walk and pinch-hitter B.J. Upton also walked, but with two outs. With the tying run on second base, Wood retired Yangervis Solarte and watched the regrouped Dodgers bullpen throw two perfect innings of relief.