Just before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the Los Angeles Dodgers were actively searching for help to stabilize their starting rotation. They addressed their needs — or attempted to — by acquiring Mat Latos and Alex Wood.
In the two months since, Latos was released by the organization, and Wood has put together a strong close to the regular season. “It was good to finish on a high note,” Wood said after another quality start at Dodger Stadium.
“We’re playing for home-field advantage, so I was glad I was able to do my part tonight.” The southpaw threw seven innings, allowed just two runs on five hits, and had four strikeouts. He breezed through the first six innings of the games, and limited the damage in the seventh.
The performance came on the heels of Brett Anderson also turning in a strong start, as both left-handers are vying to be the club’s No. 3 starter in the National League Division Series matchup with the New York Mets.
“That’s stuff that’s out of our control,” said Wood of speculation regarding his standing in the postseason rotation. “Everybody in here is trying to win these last two games. Whatever happens, be prepared to take on your role, whatever they ask you and do the best job you can at that.”
In 2013, the former Atlanta Braves pitcher got his first taste of postseason baseball, as he appeared out of the bullpen. Wood described the process of getting ready for the playoffs as two parts, each just as important as the other. “You just got to keep your arm and your body feeling good,” he said.
“When it comes down to it, experience helps. Coming out of the bullpen, I got a little taste in 2013. The other side of it is mentality. The guys that wake up every day looking forward to playing in the postseason and having an impact, I think I’m one of those guys. I’ll be excited for whatever role they decide to give me.”
As for the familiarity Wood has with previously spending his career in the same division as the Mets, he put little stock into it. “It’s something where their team is a whole lot different. Their lineup has [Juan] Uribe, who’s been here, they got [Yoenis] Cespedes, they got Kelly Johnson, who I played with this year,” he said.
“A lot of different guys that haven’t been there until this year and that I haven’t faced a lot. They do have guys left that I’ve faced over the last two and a half years. I know them pretty well. It’s one of those things that can work for you or work against you.”
In his brief tenure with the Dodgers, it’s become impossible to ignore Wood’s dominance at home. For his career, he is 4-2, with a 1.97 ERA and 0.89 WHIP at Chavez Ravine.
“I like pitching here. Even when I was in Atlanta, I’ve enjoyed pitching here,” he said. On the season Wood is now 12-12, with a 3.84 ERA, 4.11 FIP, and 1.27 WHIP.