Two approaching days off have allowed the Los Angeles Dodgers to go with a four-man rotation for now, and that means Mat Latos is headed for a 10-day stint in the bullpen.
It moves Alex Wood up to start Wednesday in Oakland as the Dodgers try not to let another one get away against the Athletics, and it could have to come without Yasiel Puig.
Latos allowed 10 earned runs in 8 2-3 innings over his previous two starts, though Wood (8-7, 3.74 ERA) hasn’t been a great alternative since joining the Dodgers (67-52) on July 30. The left-hander is 1-1 with a 5.09 ERA in three starts with his new club, and control has been at the heart of the struggles.
Wood earned the decision in Friday’s 5-3 home win over Cincinnati after giving up three runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings, but he walked three and has issued eight in 17 2-3 with Los Angeles. It was better than the previous two, but he’s still trying to prove he belongs.
"Tonight was the best of the three that I’ve thrown so far," Wood told MLB’s official website. "I’m trying to earn the respect of the guys in the locker room here and hopefully tonight was a step in the right direction."
Danny Valencia is 3 for 3 with two doubles off Wood, and the third baseman started an eighth-inning rally that led to Tuesday’s 5-4 win in 10 innings.
”It’s definitely the most memorable game we’ve played,” said Mark Canha, who doubled to lead off the 10th and scored on Billy Butler’s double. ”It’s just been kind of an emotional roller coaster ride this year. To get a win like that, it was really cool.”
The Dodgers fell to 2-13 all-time in Oakland for their worst regular-season winning percentage at any ballpark, past or present, other than the Metrodome (0-3). Another defeat would also give them a season-high five-game road skid.
Puig could be absent after the right fielder was pulled Tuesday with tightness in his right hamstring after reaching on an infield single in the eighth. The injury comes 2 1/2 months after he missed 39 games with a left hamstring strain, and he’s scheduled for an MRI Wednesday.
Oakland (52-69) snapped a season-worst seven-game losing streak, but it still hasn’t held an opponent under four runs in nine games with the staff posting a 6.08 ERA. Even so, the A’s are out to extend their season-best home winning streak to five.
They haven’t lost a home series to an NL opponent since 2012 and have won 21 of 27 at home against the Senior Circuit.
Jesse Chavez is out to right the staff, but his season has continued to unravel in the last five starts after coming out of the All-Star break in strong form. Chavez (6-12, 3.84) is 1-3 with a 6.57 ERA since that outing, and he’s given up at least four runs six times in his last 10 starts.
The right-hander surrendered four runs in six innings of a 4-2 loss in Toronto on Thursday, though considering three of those came on Ryan Goins’ second-inning homer and Chavez struck out nine without a walk, his catcher was encouraged.
"He was throwing his bread and butter, that fastball-cutter, to both sides of the plate right on the corners," Josh Phegley said. "You could see some of the swings they took, they couldn’t really figure it out. … He looked great."
Chavez didn’t receive the decision in a 10-7 loss at Dodger Stadium on July 29 after giving up three runs and five hits – including a homer to Puig – in five innings.
Kike Hernandez is 2 for 3 against Chavez and is batting .455 in his last five games.