With the Dodgers taking a 3-0 lead by winning the first of three games in Chicago last night, Alex Wood looks to be in line to get some work tonight. Wood has not pitched in a game since September.
The Dodgers and Cubs are underway in Chicago as Los Angeles won the first of three games taking place in the Windy City last night. Looking ahead, it appears that Alex Wood will finally get to see some action in Game 4 of the NLCS. Fans might have forgotten what Wood looks like by now, as they have not seen him pitch since September 26th. In that game, Wood gave up two runs over six innings of work for a final playoff tuneup.
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Wood was scheduled to line up as the fourth starter in the Division Series as well, but it never got there. Since that time, there hasn’t been any urgency to get Wood into a game, as Dave Roberts felt using him in his rotation spot was best and the fact that the bullpen has been lights out.
And it looks as though Wood will finally get his turn to throw this postseason tonight against Chicago and a chance to sweep the Cubs and send the Dodgers to their first World Series in 29 years. And in terms of opponent, the Cubs might be just what Alex Wood needs to get going.
Wood struggled late in the season, and Roberts attributed much of that to shoulder fatigue. Over his final month of work, Wood surrendered thirteen earned runs across 29 innings of work.
In that time, he also allowed five home runs. The Cubs are a good matchup for Wood, as their lineup has only hit a combined .222 lifetime. Kris Bryant owns the only home run off of Wood out of the entire lineup. And the Cubs are struggling this postseason, as their starters entered Tuesday night hitting below .200 over the first two series.
What is a little alarming though, is the change in Woods’ pitching style as of late. Wood established himself as a heavy groundball pitcher early in the season, with a ground ball percentage up over 65% through the first half of the season.
But as the fatigue caught up with him, Wood gave up more and more fly balls resulting in more home runs. His groundball percentage dipped down near the high forties in the second half, part of the reason his earned run average jumped from 1.67 all the way up to 2.72 at the season’s end. Wood will need to keep the ball down and out of the air, especially with the way the wind blows in Chicago.
Notable Stats Entering Tuesday Night:
*Javier Baez is still hitless in 20 postseason at-bats entering Wednesday night.
*Albert Almora Jr has the most success of all batters, hitting .231
*Yasiel Puig is hitting above .400
*Justin Turner has gotten on base in half of his at-bats, at a .500 mark