NEW YORK – Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said skipping Alex Wood for a start is “a possibility but it’s unlikely” despite Wood’s velocity and stuff being “a tick down” in Thursday’s win over his former team, the Atlanta Braves.
The Dodgers have taken it easy on Wood this season. Only four of his 17 starts have come on the traditional four days’ rest. He had five days off before the start in Atlanta. He got an extended break in early June when the Dodgers placed him on the DL with sternoclavicular joint inflammation in his left shoulder.
But Wood might benefit from another little break.
Wood acknowledged he felt tired Thursday – something he called an annual “hurdle” that every starting pitcher experiences, probably exacerbated by the Dodgers’ coast-to-coast trip at the start of the week. But the drop in velocity has actually been a season-long trend and not a one-start blip.
Since starting the season with a fastball averaging 94 mph and touching 96 – above his career norms – Brooks Baseball.net shows Wood’s average fastball velocity has dropped each month. It was down to 91.9 mph in July. Thursday, he crossed the 100-inning mark for the season and averaged 91.5 mph on his fastball against the Braves. Roberts also noted a lack of “late life” on his pitches.
“I feel a little off mechanically in these last two starts,” Wood said Thursday. “It’s something small that I have to look at (on video). But I just have to get over that hurdle. I feel like every starter has that little hurdle at some point in the season that they have to get over and I feel like I’m there right now.”
Wood said the issue is something “you want to throw through” and he didn’t think skipping a start “really makes a huge difference.”
The Dodgers have three off days in an 11-day stretch beginning Monday, allowing them to give Wood (and the rest of the starting pitchers) extra rest in the next two weeks – or skip a starter entirely.
“We’re going to keep an eye on him the next few days because there’s really no decision that needs to be made right now,” Roberts said. “I talked to him last night and he feels good about making his next start. There’s a little fatigue but he wants to go through the next couple days with his (post-start) workouts and see how it goes.
“Just kind of seeing where he’s at over the next couple days we’ll know more. He’s very aware we’re trying to be mindful of his and all our starters…