The Los Angeles Dodgers own a long tradition of stellar starting pitchers, so it’s not a surprise they have produced multiple 15-game winners in numerous seasons.
Most of those seasons were produced by right-handed pitchers but the Dodgers are on the verge of getting two left-handed pitchers to 15 wins.
Alex Wood gets his first attempt at joining injured ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw as the second Dodger to reach 15 wins this season Tuesday in the opener of a two-game series against the Chicago White Sox at Dodger Stadium.
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Since moving from Brooklyn following the 1957 season, the Dodgers have produced seven seasons with multiple left-handed 15-game winners. Most of those were during the 1960s when Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax was dominating hitters.
When Wood gets his next win, it will mark the first time since 1982 that Los Angeles will produce multiple left-handers with 15 wins. In 1982, Fernando Valenzuela won 19 games in the second year of “Fernando Mania” and Jerry Reuss won 18 games.
Wood is 14-1 with a 2.37 ERA after allowing two runs and six hits in six innings during Wednesday’s 3-2 win at Arizona. Kershaw, who is recovering from a back injury, is 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA.
Since 1982, the Dodgers have had multiple 15-game winners 10 times, including three straight seasons from 2013-15 when Kershaw and Zack Greinke did it.
Wood has won three straight starts since getting rocked for nine runs in 4 2/3 innings on July 21 against the Atlanta Braves. Since his worst start of the season, Wood has a 3.32 ERA in those outings. When the team was in New York, manager Dave Roberts mentioned a slight drop in fastball velocity.
“The velocity, the stuff, the changeup was really good, the slider,” Roberts said. “The velocity held, and so he was the Alex that we’ve seen all year.”
“I felt really great coming out of New York and that bullpen session, so I’m looking forward to the stretch for sure,” Wood said.
Wood is facing the White Sox for the first time. In 15 games (10 starts) in interleague play, Wood is 3-5 with a 2.60 ERA.
Wood will be trying to pitch the Dodgers to their 28th win in 33 games since July 4 and 48th in 57 games since June 7.
In Sunday’s 6-4 win over the San Diego Padres, Justin Turner homered twice to lift his batting average to .346, though he hit .188 in the first five games of August.
Cody Bellinger did not get his 35th homer, but when he hits his next one, he will tie the franchise rookie mark set by Hall of Famer Mike Piazza in 1993. He hit his latest homer during Saturday’s win, has six homers in his last 12 games and nine since the All-Star break.
Bellinger will attempt to tie Piazza’s mark, and the Dodgers will attempt to get a 57th straight game with multiple extra-base hits against the worst team in the American League.
Chicago is 45-70 and won four of six at home against the Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals. Before those home games, the White Sox were 3-19 in their previous 22.
Despite their struggles, the White Sox are hitting .270 this month and .278 off left-handed pitching this season. Chicago batted .294, scored 34 runs and hit .328 (19-for-58) during the homestand, which ended with Sunday’s 14-6 loss to Kansas City.
Tim Anderson hit his 13th homer and is batting .313 off left-handed pitching after homering off Jason Vargas.
“I’m not fully developed,” Anderson said. “The power’s going to come. I feel like there’s more there. As I continue to put good swings on balls, hopefully they keep carrying.”
Avisail Garcia drove in two runs, is hitting .450 (9-for-20) in five games since returning from a knee injury and .415 off left-handed pitching this season.
Miguel Gonzalez (6-10, 4.85) will make his second start against Los Angeles. Gonzalez allowed one run and five hits in six innings when he opposed Kershaw in a 1-0 loss at Chicago on July 18.
The right-hander has a 7.45 ERA in his last two starts. He allowed seven runs in 1 2/3 innings at Boston on Aug. 3 but rebounded nicely in Wednesday’s 7-1 win over Houston by allowing one run and five hits in eight innings.
“Everything works off your fastball, and it was pretty nice to be able to capitalize and do a better job than I did last outing,” Gonzalez said. “(I’m) pretty happy with it.”
Gonzalez is 4-6 with a 3.74 ERA in 14 interleague starts and Tuesday will be his first career appearance in Dodger Stadium.
The White Sox were outscored 10-1 in a two-game sweep at home last month to the Dodgers. They are 14-9 against the Dodgers, and 7-5 at Dodger Stadium.