Although Alex Wood began the season the odd man out of the Los Angeles Dodgers starting rotation, he capitalized on early opportunities and quickly pitched his way out of the bullpen. As Rich Hill stumbled out of the gate, Wood emerged as viable No. 2 option to Clayton Kershaw.
Some of his momentum was stalled by a stint on the disabled list due to left SC joint inflammation. Although Wood only missed one start, there’s been some inconsistency upon his return. The 26-year-old recently spent a second stint on the DL because of the same injury.
Even with the time missed and some regression, Wood is enjoying the best season of his five-year career. It earned him a first selection to the All-Star Game.
When Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently appeared as a guest on The Bill Simmons Podcast, he tabbed Wood as his probable starter for a potential Game 3 in the National League Division Series:
“It’s probably going to be Alex Wood. We’ll see, that could change. Alex has had a great year. Obviously, when you look at Kershaw, Darvish, Wood, Hill, then you’ve got Ryu and Maeda, we’ve got a lot of depth. These guys have done a lot of good things for us.”
At the time of the interview, the Dodgers were on a modest four-game winning streak, had won 19 of their last 22 games and 50 of 59. They’d also yet to lose a series since dropping two of three to the Washington Nationals from June 5-7.
Wood has made three starts since Roberts’ comments. He’s 0-2, having allowed 12 runs on 20 hits, including six home runs, in 17 innings pitched. Wood has 14 strikeouts against six walks during that time.
Overall this season, he’s 14-33 with a 2.81 ERA, 3.29 FIP and 1.08 WHIP in 24 games (22 starts). Although the Dodgers are mired in their worst stretch this season, they remain the favorites to win the NL West.
There’s still business to be had and time to decide on how the Dodgers would align their rotation, but it’s not beyond reason to believe Hill may have surpassed Wood as the favorite to take the ball in a Game 3.