Dodgers hope for more good Wood vs. A's (Apr 11, 2018)

April 11, 2018

LOS ANGELES -- Look no further than the starts of Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood to see what has ailed the defending National League champions for close to two weeks now.

Wood, who will make his third start of the season Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics, has been everything the Dodgers could have hoped for in the early going. Yet the Dodgers have lost both his outings.

Wood is 0-1, but has a 1.93 ERA, and will also carry a 0.50 WHIP into Wednesday's game, allowing no walks in 14 innings to 10 strikeouts. He was supposed to start Tuesday, but a bout of food poisoning over the weekend at San Francisco pushed his start back a day.

In his last start at Arizona last week, Wood was far from the pitcher who held the Giants to one hit over eight innings, but he still managed to keep the Diamondbacks off balance to the tune of three runs over six innings.

"We've seen him with better stuff, but even without his best stuff, he competed and gave us six innings, a quality start," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, referencing Wood's ability to craft success whether he has his best stuff or not.

In two career starts against the A's, Wood is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA. He has only two strikeouts while walking six.

The Dodgers' inability to turn Wood's previous starts this season into victories shines a glaring spotlight on a struggling offense. Los Angeles, though, broke free for three home runs Tuesday, so perhaps that balance the Dodgers are expecting is already starting to occur.

One person who won't complain if the Dodgers continue to scuffle with the bats is Daniel Mengden, who is scheduled to start for the A's on Wednesday.

Unlike Wood, Mengden has not been sharp in the early going. The right-hander has given up 10 runs (eight earned) in 11 innings. He has yet to make it out of the sixth inning in either of his starts.

At 0-2 with a 6.55 ERA, it would appear the only place for Mengden to go is up, and he showed how good he can be when he went 4-1 with a 1.54 ERA in five September/October starts with the A's last season. Mengden has never faced the Dodgers in 23 career starts.

Mengden could also use a bit more run support, with the A's scoring only three runs in each of his first two outings. But with one run over their last 18 innings, it remains unclear where the run support will come from.

Not only were the A's without a base runner into the seventh inning Sunday at Anaheim, they didn't get their first hit until the fifth inning Tuesday against Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu.

In fact, Ryu had reached base on a walk and a hit before the A's had their first hit, with A's manager Bob Melvin talking about the disadvantage his team would face because his pitchers hit so infrequently. But he was trying to not let it bother him too much.

"In general, it's just fun to go to Dodger Stadium and play there," Melvin said.

Tuesday's 4-0 defeat wasn't exactly fun for the A's, but Wednesday's series finale gives them the chance to change all that.