Pardon me while I try to type this and dodge the firebombs and peanut shells coming at me from all directions. I know I brought it upon myself. To suggest anyone other than the sacred Kershaw should start a monumentally important Dodger game is the highest offense possible. It’s blue blasphemy! It’s like suggesting the Pedro Martinez trade was a good deal.
I know Clayton Kershaw has been the greatest pitcher this generation has ever seen. But I’m not talking about over-his-career Kershaw, I’m talking about today’s Kershaw. I’m talking about the pitcher that’s been sliding away from his past superhero numbers and is looking very human this season. For example, Clayton has never given up more than 16 home runs in a season. We’re not even at the All-Star break and he’s already surrendered 13 long balls.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Kershaw is washed up – not by a long shot. That’s not what this is about. What I am saying here is that Alex Wood is the Dodgers’ best pitcher in the starting rotation. He’s unconscious.
The incredible southpaw is 7-0. He’s won 10 consecutive starts. He’s got a 1.90 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. Wood is solid. In fact, he’s dominating every opponent, whether home or away. He’s the first Dodgers pitcher in 32 years to go this deep into a season without a loss. Orel Hershiser holds the Los Angeles record at 11 consecutive winning starts in 1985.
Wood had a stint on the Dodgers 10-day DL late last month, but that move stemmed from caution after he experienced shoulder soreness. It was described as “benign inflammation” and he was cleared to start yesterday against the Reds. Wood didn’t skip a beat and he stepped back into the mix right where he left off.
Alex Wood beat the Reds in their homer-friendly park, and he needed just 89 pitches to do it. He even picked up an insurance RBI with a clutch two-out hit in the eighth. Later in the inning, the Reds snapped his consecutive scoreless innings streak at 33, on a home run.
Earlier I mentioned Kershaw has surrendered 13 dingers this season. How many has Alex Wood given up? Just two.
Yup. If the whole enchilada was riding on one game, I’d hand the ball to Mr. Wood.