This spring has been unlike any other for Alex Wood. First, he’s firmly entrenched in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting rotation. Second, the southpaw has shifted to exclusively pitching out of the stretch.
Wood downplayed the change as being anything significant, and explained it was spawned from watching former teammate Yu Darvish and Stephen Strasburg pitch. Although there has not been an overhaul of his mechanics, Wood has used the past few weeks to refine his new delivery.
He wasn’t overly pleased with after his 2018 debut, but felt progress was made in a second start. Following Wood’s third, against the Cleveland Indians in the Dodgers’ first night game of the spring, he was much more pleased.
The 27-year-old explained his successful outing was a byproduct of focusing on certain aspects during a bullpen session, via Alyson Footer of MLB.com:
“I keep talking about progress each time,” Wood said. “I threw a really good bullpen, just keep making tiny little adjustments and see where things take me to get them to really click and feel like a puzzle piece. I felt like I had a good idea going into my ‘pen, something I wanted to just add into it. I was glad I was able to translate today.”
Wood allowed just two hits and had five strikeouts over four shutout innings at Goodyear Ballpark. His only trouble came in the bottom of the first, when Rajai Davis doubled with one out. Davis also had the Indians’ only other hit off Wood.
Wood finished his outing by retiring the final seven batters faced. The four innings of work marked his longest start of the year. Assuming the Dodgers stick with their current rotation, Wood will next start Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies.
As it currently stands, the Dodgers are on track to open the regular season with their rotation aligned as: Clayton Kershaw, Wood, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu.