When the Los Angeles Dodgers set their starting rotation for the National League Division Series, it included selecting Alex Wood as the fourth starter over Hyun-Jin Ryu. Wood was tabbed to face the Arizona Diamondbacks in a potential Game 4 of the NLDS.
That has gone to Clayton Kershaw on short rest in year’s prior, but the Dodgers were adamant 2017 marked a new set of circumstances. Whether the team would’ve stuck to that message was eliminated as the Dodgers swept the Diamondbacks.
So that pushed Wood back to a start against the Chicago Cubs in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series. It was his first time pitching since Sept. 26.
The 26-year-old completed multiple simulated games during the three-week layoff in effort to remain sharp. Wood said he was prepared and “excited” to make the first postseason start of his career.
The outing produced yielded mixed results, but Wood said he was generally pleased with his outing, via MLB.com:
“I felt pretty good. I felt my stuff was pretty good. Two mistakes early that gave them two solo shots. Besides that, I thought my stuff was pretty good. I felt good.”
For a fourth consecutive game in the NLCS, the Cubs took the lead on a solo home run. Willson Contreras held the honor Wednesday night, as he crushed a fastball left over the plate high off the video board.
Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid by going down for a pitch out of zone and lifting it for a home run down the left-field line. Baez slugged a second home run off Wood in the fifth inning. Other than the three homers, he only allowed a two-out base hit to Jake Arrieta in the fifth.
That was the final batter Wood faced. He struck out seven but spun a fastball that sat in 89-90 mph range. It’s reason to wonder whether he’s still fatigued, suffering from remnants of SC joint inflammation, or perhaps both.
“I thought he threw the ball well,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Wood. “When you give up three homers, but the two to Baez were down below the zone. He took two good swings on those balls and hit them out of the ballpark, and the one to Contreras, elevated fastball.
“But for not pitching in three weeks, I thought he was sharp, competed, and gave us a chance to win.”