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Alex Wood Not Good, Bullpen Awful, Dodgers Embarrassed in San Francisco

Alex Wood

I had a really funny recap written up for this game in the fifth inning when the Dodgers were up 4-0, prepared to break the MLB record for consecutive scoreless innings to start the season and everything was all hunky dory. Then reality came crashing down. The Giants scored 12 runs over the final five frames of the game and the Dodgers were handed their first loss of the season by a 12-6 score in embarrassing style. Hunter Pence‘s grand slam in the eighth inning off of Mr. Fastball Pedro Baez (who ironically allowed the slam on a hanging slider) was the twisting knife in the gut.

Too bad though, because that recap I had written up was pretty funny. It was all about the Dodgers quietly sneaking into San Francisco ocean’s eleven style and ruining the Giant’s opening day. Sending all of the Giants fans to work and school tomorrow depressed. That would have been a lot of fun.

Dodgers 6 13 1

Giants    12 17 0




Alex Wood and the Dodger’s bullpen ruined that. So that’s what this post is about. Instead of the Dodgers ruining the Giant’s opening day, it’s about Wood and the bullpen ruining my funny little recap. The Dodgers had jumped out to a 4-0 lead early when they scored two runs in the second, one in the third, and one in the fifth.

Jake Peavy was just as bad as Wood was, and the Dodgers jumped all over him early. Adrian Gonzalez doubled to center, and one out later Joc Pederson’s ground ball single to short moved Gonzo over to third. Kike’s slicing line drive single to right scored the first run of the game. The Dodgers were on the board.

Austin Barnes singled to load the bases, and then the Dodgers got a break when a neighborhood play was overturned at second base. The New York office ruled that Joe Panik’s foot was not on the bag during Wood’s grounder and that forced in a run. You can thank Chase Utley for that one.

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The Dodgers scored a third run when Yasiel Puig singled, and Gonzo doubled over Angel pagan’s head to put the Dodgers up 3-0. In the fifth inning there was an Utley single, a force out, and Puig singled before Scott Van Slyke’s booming RBI double that gave the Dodgers a 4-0 lead. Peavy lasted just five innings and allowed four earned runs on ten hits. Everything was great.

Then Alex Wood remembered that he’s well….Alex Wood. Through the first four innings, Wood looked great. He was mixing his pitches well and using both sides of the plate. It only took the Giants once through the order to figure him out. The second time through the order they did, and Wood melted down like a popsicle on a warm summer’s day.

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The Giants scored three runs in the fifth inning and another four runs in the bottom of the sixth. It was a lead-off walk to Brandon Crawford that started the nonsense. Kelby Tomlinson bunted for a base hit. The ball just died somewhere between third base and home plate. Angel Pagan’s ground out moved the runners over to second and third.

Denard Span’s ground out scored Brandon Crawford to cut the lead to 4-1. Here’s where Wood should have been hooked. It’s the fifth inning. You’re lucky to get 4.2 one-run innings out of him. Don’t push your luck. He was clearly losing it. Get him out of there.

Dave Roberts left him in. Then he really imploded. Joe Panik tripled in the next run. Buster Posey immediately doubles and it’s 4-3 Dodgers. The Giants smelled blood, and the Dodgers in typical 2015 fashion couldn’t do anything to stop it.

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Somehow though, the Dodgers got out of the inning with the lead still intact. Hunter Pence walked, and Brandon Belt grounded out. Although Utley’s throw was wide and gave us a scare.

Move to the bottom of the sixth. For some inexplicable reason, Wood was left out to begin the sixth frame. He had already made 75 pitches, but still clearly sucked. The hit parade continued. Matt Duffy and Crawford reached on consecutive ground ball singles. Wood was finally hooked and in comes the bullpen to make things worse. Hello 2015. Yimi Garcia is the next hurler to put gasoline on the fire.

After Ehire Adrianza’s sacrifice bunt moves the runners to second and third, Angel Pagan squeaks a single through the right side to score both runs and give the stupid Giants the lead 5-4. It didn’t stop there. After Span’s bunt out, Panik’s bloop single to center scores Pagan to make it 6-4 Giants. Then Posey’s ground ball single scored one more to make it a 7-4 ball game. Louis Coleman had to come in and relieve Yimi to whiff Pence for the final out.

Oh sure the Dodgers tried to come back. Gonzo singled to left, and scored on a huge two-run home run from Joc. That made it a 7-6 game. Maybe just maybe the Dodgers can mount a rally here and not get embarrassed? Oh silly me no.

In the bottom of the eighth the Giants scored five more runs to put the dagger in the coffin that was highlighted by a grand slam home run from Hunter Pence. Four consecutive piddly singles allowed by J.P. Howell preceded the big slam that was given up by Pedro Baez. I swear to you all that Baez is so bad he should be released from the roster right this minute.

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You can’t blame this one on the offense. They scored six runs on 13 hits. Gonzalez had 3 hits in a 3 for 4 game and Puig had two hits himself. Joc and Utley had two hits as well. To be honest the Dodgers had little chance of winning this game with Wood on the mound.

I’ve said before that I don’t like the brain trust’s strategy for building the pitching staff. Once again the backend of the rotation is bad and the bullpen is the same. Nothing is really improved here. The top three in the rotation are good. I just don’t understand what the club sees in Wood. He’s just not very good. (sorry I am rhyming here) He is a 4-5 runs per game pitcher. Starters can’t just pitch 4 innings and lose it. I don’t understand why they are relying on injured pitchers, reclamation projects and below average pitchers. Go out and spend a few more dollars and get some established talent. You’re the Dodgers! Hello!

As you can tell I am annoyed. I know it’s only been four games. Yes the bullpen is bad no surprise, but don’t expect anything different from Wood. I knew he would suck, and he sucked. Not a surprise here. He’s just the last remnant from that terrible trade last summer.

Ross Stripling will make his MLB debut Friday night against Matt Cain in the second game of the series. This seems like a mismatch on paper. Let’s see how the Dodgers respond after their first loss of the season. I’m sick of losing to the Giants.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

24 thoughts on “Alex Wood Not Good, Bullpen Awful, Dodgers Embarrassed in San Francisco

  1. I said before and will say it again. Wood will be on a short lease. He will get 2 more starts and then some decision will be made. DeLeon has not been assigned to a team. He is the one I think will come up first. Baez wants to throw and not pitch.

    1. Idahoal, you are exactly correct on Baez. I have had this problem with Baez for the last 2 years. I know some like to point out how hard he throws. But ML hitting can hit a 96-98 MPH fastball with no movement out over the plate. He is a converted infielder who has never learned how to pitch. If FAZ thinks he can be taught, great send him down to AAA (or AA where he will get more opportunities) to learn how. He has no business being on a MLB roster right now.

      1. He still needs that off speed pitch he can spot. Until he has it, expect more of the same. ML hitters can sit on 96 and hit it to Forest Lawn.

  2. Notice Bochy pulled his starter after five; I hope Dave Roberts takes notes. Where was our vaunted new long reliever, Joe Blanton? This seemed like a good situation to bring him in. JP built the fire and Baez poured on the gas. Let’s hope Stripling steps up and goes seven tomorrow.

    1. Scott what is the news on Ryu? I thought I heard he had a good session, and they were now trying to build up his arm, to get him ready to pitch.

      I hope Stripling does ok tomorrow, and keeps us in the game. I hope Puig goes back to hitting the ball, the opposite way.

      He has pulled the ball, since he hit that HR. He did get two hits, but they were between the thirdbase man, and the shortstop. When Puig hits up the middle, or to the right side, good things seem to always happen.

    2. Snider Fan, that was my point yesterday. Both Garcia and Howell pitched the day before, and while Blanton did as well, this was the exact situation that he was acquired for. There was no business bringing Wood out for the 6th. He lost whatever he had through the 1st four innings, and he has never shown an ability to recover after losing it.

  3. I’m backkkkkkkk!!!!! …….

    I don’t know what is worse, freaking out over a loss to the Giants or declaring the second coming after sweeping the……well, Padres……

    It is to early to tell what this team is BUT we have a good idea what Alex Wood is, or isn’t. Now its Striplings turn.

    Roberts has really impressed me with the consistent lineups, Maeda sure is a positive dude, I really like him, hope he continues to do well. Puig, pray he keeps it up, I agree with Watford, every time he runs anywhere, I cross my fingers.

    3 shut outs in San Diego against a AAA squad and a bludgeoning by the Giants, see you folks tomorrow.

  4. Yeah, Scott wrote this one with his pen on fire.

    Ok, it was his keyboard. I liked the sound of pen better. If I understand it, his popsicle melted and he was left holding nothing but a piece of Wood.

    This game was something like the last game he pitched for the Dodgers in ’15. Somehow he needs to figure out a way to get through a lineup twice, without surrendering more than 3 runs. If he can’t do it, why is he here? He could be a long man, something we’ve talked about this team needing, but then somebody has to take his current spot. We don’t have anybody. Where’s all that alleged depth? I’ll tell you where it is, it’s in the minor league incubator and it won’t be ready for another year, maybe two.

    4 games. The offense looks good. Maybe these guys can get the pitching figured out. Stripling next up. I’ll admit, I’m a bit anxious about that one.

    1. Badger I thought I heard that they were going to start building Ryu’s arm up, to get him ready to pitch. If that is true, that is good news. That doesn’t help the bullpen though.

  5. Remember, the Dodgers process is to continue Spring Training during the season as some average relievers try and get their game down. A learning process if you will. Fine tuning pitches. And there is a lot of fine tuning to do. Live with it.

    1. Spring training was over 4 games ago. They are already supposed to have it down. Too late to be doing spring training now, except for the guys who are actually doing extended spring training

  6. It’s early. Just like I didn’t get too enthusiastic because they swept the Bad Pads, I’m not too down after today – down, but not too down.

    OK – now that is off of my chest. I still don’t like Wood. Even if he doesn’t walk many, his control isn’t that good – his delivery is so funky that he has trouble hitting his spots.

    The bullpen is going to be inconsistent. They have the same inconsistent guys that they had last year. Baez can only throw hard, but his stuff doesn’t have much movement. Yimi has stuff that moves – I don’t know what his problem is. JP Howell has been going out there with junk for years and getting away with it. He’s gotten results with it. Not today though.

    You can’t build a pitching staff good enough to win championships with injured guys and spare parts. I am hopeful that some of the kids come up and show what they can do this year.

  7. Wood will get a chance to start thru April. Then we can judge him and make a change.

    Stripling was one of my fave minor league kids in 2013/2014, pre surgery. I can’t wait to see him tomorrow.

  8. By the by, here was Mark Timmons after the 15 – 0 pasting of the Bad Pads:

    “I blogged for about 15 years with a lot of these guys and of course, they assure you that they are not negative, but over the course of time, I have come to find that misery loves company and when the Dodgers win, the comments are about 30% of when they lose. People love to complain more than they love the Dodgers or they would post more when they win.

    Of course, they will say “It’s just one game.” They say that because they want to steal your joy and turn a positive into a negative. Yes, it was one game, but it was a statement! 15 runs and no homers! The boys hit where it was pitched, picked each other up and played fundamental ball. Kershaw looks like he could be better than ever and Utley looks ready for one last big season. He was running like a freaking Gazelle!

    A bunch of you had “I told you so’s” loaded and ready to post – that’s why it’s so quiet in here. The boys have made a statement for Doc!”

    Where is everyone after today’s depressing loss?

    I am not gloating – I HATE THE GIANTS. It’s just that the picture is never as bad or as good as is being painted. This was an ugly game and the fear that some have (granted, a small sample size) about the back of the rotation and the bullpen was realized today.

    The good thing about baseball – there is another game tomorrow and if things go well the Dodgers will crush the #@+&**@’s from Baghdad by the Bay.

    1. Dodgerrick, I am here, and I posted a lengthy post on the last thread. I didn’t sugarcoat my displeasure with the results, especially with Wood and the bullpen. What I said was:

      “It seems that Wood is doing his best to become the LH version of Joe Blanton. He goes a solid 4 and then can’t get out of the 5th. The same scenario as he did with the Angels. He apparently just loses his command in the 5th inning. It wasn’t arm fatigue, since he only threw 49 pitches through 4. He seems a logical choice for the 2nd LHRP, and Garcia or Baez back to AAA.

      I am just not sure that Howell has anything left. He certainly cannot go back to back games. You had Garcia and Howell going back to back. I also do not understand why Wood was allowed to come back to start the 6th. He had obviously lost whatever he did have in the 5th. Blanton is the long reliever, and both Hatcher and Coleman had Wednesday off. It is always easier for a reliever to start an inning. It’s easy to second guess, and I respect Doc Roberts too much to start with this game.”

      I am willing to wear it when people I support do not come through. I have touted Wood since he was with Atlanta. Maybe he needs Ray Searage.

      I also have been a FAZ supporter, but have never backed off when I felt they should be questioned (questioned not ridiculed). I also wrote the following yesterday (and stated the same all Winter):

      “I do not presume to know what goes on in any front office decisions, but the Dodgers have needed quality relievers for what…3 years now? I wanted Jake McGee, but that would have required a trade. There were two other free agent LHRP that I advocated; Tony Sipp who signed with Houston for 3 years $18 million, and Antonio Bastardo who signed with the Mets for 2 years $12 million. Both under the Howie Kendrick contract. Now FAZ is scouring the waiver wires and signing to minor league contracts Dale Thayer and Sam Leclure, two unheralded RIGHT handed relievers. Dale Thayer dropped to AA because there was no room for him at AAA. One of those two is going to get some innings in, and then find themselves in a LAD uniform before too long. Like it or not, the contracts for both Sipp and Bastardo are what it takes to sign veteran relievers. I believe I heard Andrew on one of his ST interviews indicate that he is leary of multi year contracts for relievers, as they do not always duplicate quality years, except for the exceptional. Maybe that is his thinking. Try to get magic in a bottle with one year wonders. I am a FAZ supporter, but if I did have Andrew’s ear I would certainly question his approach to relievers.”

      I cannot speak for Mark or any anyone else, but I will be around even when the Dodgers lose, and players I support do not perform.

  9. From Ken Gurnick about Wood:

    “I still trusted his stuff at that point,” Roberts said about letting Wood bat and remain in the game. “It’s not like they had a bunch of great swings. They had two hard-hit balls [by Joe Panik and Buster Posey, who each had three hits]. If they had been hit at people, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. As far as stamina, he wasn’t missing on the arm side or losing velocity. His stuff held and he wanted to go back out there.”

    Roberts, who lifted Scott Kazmir on Tuesday with a one-hitter after six innings, said Wood came into the regular season more stretched out from Spring Training and had a pitch limit of 105. He was removed at 85.

    Wood held the Giants scoreless through four innings, but they got to him the third time through the batting order. Wood dismissed that theory, saying he was most annoyed at walking Crawford with a full count to lead off the fifth inning, then was surprised by pinch-hitter Kelby Tomlinson’s perfect bunt single.

    “If I throw that changeup for a strike [to Crawford], we’re not having this conversation,” said Wood, “but it’s a 3-2 pitch, I should have thrown a heater and challenged him more.”

  10. Yeah, if. The road all of us walk is littered with if’s.

    The facts are Wood wasn’t all that great last year (86 ERA+), coughed up a hairball in the few innings he pitched in post season and had a lousy Spring. I can’t help but believe he is on a short leash. Yes, he will get more starts to turn it around, but if it’s me, I think I’m in the phone with Cleveland. Wood is a young country boy who just may not fit in the bright lights of Los Angeles. Give him an opportunity to go some place where the heat is less. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of “the bright lights of Cleveland”. Bauer might feel imprisoned there. Wood might feel right at home. It’s worth a try.

  11. Wood isn’t on a short leash. Who else do we have? As bad as he is, the bullpen is worse. Manager Optimistic will learn what Mattingly learned the hard way that there is probably only one dependable member of the bullpen, and he can only pitch the 9th inning. I wonder why Blanton didn’t see some action yesterday. A veteran guy who has pitched in high leverage situations and who makes a lot of $. Not that he is great, but that IS the reason the got him. BTW we could have had Chapman in this game when we were still ahead. Or Jansen, if Chapman was closer. Too bad about the gun.

    1. Who else? We’re deep, remember? There in OKC, we have a rotation of Lee, Cotton, some guy named Kehrt, Frias and Urias, ALL of whom are at the ready and waiting for the call. De Leon is there too, on the DL because, yeah, he is. There are also 5 LH relievers in Oklahoma so Howell can put on the shelf any time. It’s good to be rich. One could make the argument we are stupid rich, but that won’t be me. We have geniuses at the wheel and it will work out in our favor in the long run. It could be. A very. Long. Run. Or not of course. We have 158 to go.

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