Alex Wood appeared in 95 games (76 starts) over parts of five seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers across two separate stints, and now as a member of the San Francisco Giants faces his former teammates in a pivotal Game 3 of the National League Division Series.
It’s not a completely foreign concept for Wood, who made three starts against L.A. — including two at Dodger Stadium — during the regular season. The results weren’t overwhelmingly positive for the left-hander as he went 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA.
“I think the weirdness, we’re past that,” Wood said. “My first two starts against them, five years here, a lot of the same core group, some of those guys still over there. So definitely a little bit weird when you play your old team the first time or two.
“But I feel like I’ve settled in. We’ve had a great year and it’s been a blast. So I’m just excited. I still can’t believe that this is the first time in history that the Giants and Dodgers have played each other in the postseason.
“I mean, it really is remarkable that that’s never happened. So to be able to take part in that, I’m really excited.”
Frequent matchups between a pitcher and opponent can tend to favor the batters, which Wood is mindful of heading into his start Monday night.
“They will have a great plan. They know me really well,” he recognized. “They do a great job of preparing for anyone and everyone, especially this time of year. So just got to kind of go out and execute, play the chess match, take what the game gives you, feel it out as you go, and try and make pitches and try and execute.
“So I love these type atmospheres this time of year. It’s something that really pushes you forward. You really learn a lot about yourself this time of year. And I feel like my stuff’s been good and I’ve thrown the ball well, so I’m excited for the opportunity and we’ll see what happens. I’m looking forward to it.”
Roberts: Dodgers needed Wood
Although Wood returned to the Dodgers last season expecting to be part of the starting rotation, left shoulder fatigue threw an already-unique year even more off course. However, he wound playing a pivotal role for the club out of the bullpen during the postseason.
“I don’t think we get through Game 6 without Alex Wood and his valuable innings,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the team’s World Series run. “Obviously I showed a lot of confidence in him at that point in time in the game.
“I have a very good respect and admiration for him, consider him a friend. He’s a great competitor. I think he feels he’s always the best option, which as Major League ballplayers, that’s a good thing.
It’s a fastball, slider-slurve type pitch, and it’s a changeup. He can pitch to all quadrants, he likes to get strike one and he’ll be prepared for us because he knows our guys pretty well.”
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