(SL) – After burning through eight relief pitchers in Game 2and sending five more to the mound on Friday night at Minute MaidPark in Game 3 of the World Series, Los Angeles manager DaveRoberts faced the inevitable questions regarding the state of his bullpen after a 5-3 loss dropped the Dodgers into a 2-1 hole against the Houston Astros.
With left-hander Alex Wood scheduled to get the start on Saturday, the concerns are valid. Wood has made just one start this postseason, allowing three runs and four hits with seven strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings of Game 4 in the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.
The Dodgers dropped that game 3-2,their lone loss of that series.Excluding right-hander Kenta Maeda, who worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings in Game 3, Roberts declared each member of his bullpen available for action in what will be a pivotal Game 4.”Well, we just had an off-day yesterday,” Roberts said. “And when your starter (right-hander Yu Darvish) goes five outs, you’ve got to find a way to cover some innings.
Everyone tomorrow is available, outside of Kenta. And Alex is going to have to go deep.”But I think, like I said, everyone is available, and we’ve go tKersh (ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw) going Game 5. They’ll be available. They’ll be fine.”Wood will face a pressure-packed outing but is equipped for the challenge. He paced the majors in winning percentage after finishing 16-3 with a career-best 2.72 ERA in 27 appearances (25 starts). His 3.3 WAR represented the second-best mark of his career, trailing the 3.7 WAR he produced with the Atlanta Braves while finishing 11-11 with a 2.78 ERA in 2014.
Relative postseason inexperience aside, Wood gets the ball with the Dodgers on the brink of a daunting deficit should they lose, yet buoyed by the opportunity to start instead of relieve.”I feel fortunate that I’m finally getting to start in the postseason,” Wood said. “My three previous postseason experiences have all been out of the bullpen. So really my first start against the Cubs in the postseason, I felt way more comfortable, not really much nerves. Just seemed like another game with a little bit of higher expectations for yourself and a little bit more pressure.”But I felt really comfortable in Chicago.
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