The Dodgers find themselves in a 2-1 deficit going into game 4 of the World Series. They will hand the ball to Alex Wood, who looked decent in his only postseason appearance in the NLCS. After a short outing by Yu Darvish, the Dodgers will be looking to get a quality start out of their lefty starter.
With the Dodgers having to use up the bullpens last night, they will not have all the options they previously had. This is where Wood will need to step up and give the Dodgers his best start of the season. This team needs at least six innings from Wood, and anything less might spell trouble for this ballclub.
An issue with Wood since the All-Star break has been his decrease in velocity, and that has carried over to the playoffs. Wood was sitting at around 91 mph during his start against Chicago, which continued to show his decrease in velocity compared to his 94 mph ball he can throw. At this point, I don’t expect Wood to be able to hit 94 anymore, but he will have to try and conserve energy and not do too much, this is how he will fool hitters.
Wood is still a solid pitcher without the added velocity; he has a sinker that hitters will roll over most times and a changeup that he can switch speeds up with.
More from Dodgers Way
- Kevin Kiermaier being ‘top target’ to replace Cody Bellinger is bad sign for Dodgers
- Are the Dodgers really prepared to hand Shohei Ohtani a blank check?
- Dodgers fans shouldn’t dismiss interest in Dansby Swanson for this reason
- Giants laughably sign pitcher that Dodgers absolutely own
- Dave Roberts’ quote about Padres in NLDS should motivate Dodgers
The key to Wood’s start is getting the top of the lineup out. Springer-Bregman-Altuve-Correa has been as good as advertised, and the Astros lineup goes as they do. It sounds so simple, shut them down, and you have yourself an easy ball game. That’s easier said than done, however, as these 4 make up the heart of the lineup and the ones who have done the most damage so far.
There’s no way Wood is going to shut down the Astros top 4 entirely, but if he can silence them a little bit, he will be well on his way to a start that Dave Roberts can approve of.
Now that Wood was able to work off some of the in-game rust last time out, the Dodgers will be looking for much more out of this start. The most they can hope for is to get quality innings from Wood and some quality rest time for their bullpen that held up strong on Friday.
The Dodgers are in a must-win game four today, and they will do anything necessary to keep their dreams alive. Alex Wood holds the keys to the Dodgers success, and if he can identify what it is that needs to be done, he will be able to even up this series.