Heading into the weekend Freeway Series at Dodger Stadium, the Los Angeles Dodgers intended to start Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill. That would allow for Alex Wood and Kenta Maeda to pitch out of the bullpen in any of the final three games before the All-Star break.
However, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced prior to the series opener that his club would instead start Wood on Saturday and push Kershaw back to Sunday. Roberts said the decision to skip Hill’s turn was not health-related, and that he was available out of the bullpen.
Whether the late switch or the Angels simply stringing together strong at-bats, they jumped on Wood early. Justin Upton’s RBI single gave Anaheim a 1-0 lead in the first inning, and a sacrifice fly and bases-loaded walk in the second extended it to 3-0.
Although Wood didn’t appear long for the game, he managed to settle in and get through six innings. He kept the Angels off the board the rest of the way, which allowed the Dodgers to erase their deficit.
Despite the rocky start to his outing, Wood came away generally pleased with the performance, via Michael Duarte of NBC L.A.:
“Overall, I thought it was good. I thought my stuff was pretty good today. Battled early and made it through six. … I don’t know if there was necessarily a singular adjustment we made after the first two (innings). The first inning, I thought we made some quality pitches. They put the ball in play and good things happened for them. After that, I felt we made quality pitches the rest of the way.”
After walking Upton to bring in a run, Wood retired 10 of the next 11 batters faced heading into the sixth inning. He hit Martin Maldonado with one out but finished the outing by striking out Andrew Heaney and David Fletcher.
Wood finished with the three runs allowed on seven hits and two walks, to go along with six strikeouts. He didn’t factor into the decision and reaches the All-Star break 5-5 with a 3.92 ERA.
It’s a far cry from the 10-0 mark and 1.67 ERA Wood posted during the first half of last season to earn his first career All-Star Game selection.
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