The Los Angeles Dodgers will continue with somewhat of a backward rotation when they face the visiting San Francisco Giants on Saturday afternoon in the third game of a four-game series.
After the Dodgers opened the season with victories in games started by rookie Dustin May and fellow right-hander Ross Stripling, they will move on to left-hander Alex Wood, who makes his official return to his former club. Starters Julio Urias and Walker Buehler have not yet appeared in a game.
Wood, who pitched for the Dodgers from 2015-18, was included in the trade that sent Yasiel Puig to the Cincinnati Reds in December 2018. Los Angeles received highly regarded infield prospect Jeter Downs in that deal, with Downs flipped this past offseason to the Boston Red Sox in the deal that netted Mookie Betts.
Back in Los Angeles after signing a one-year, $4 million deal as a free agent in January, Wood is trying to move on from an injury-plagued 2019 season. He pitched in just seven games for the Reds last season because of a back issue, finishing 1-3 with a 5.80 ERA.
The Dodgers are anticipating the guy who went 9-7 in Los Angeles during the 2018 season with a 3.68 ERA in 33 appearances (27 starts), or the one who led baseball with an .842 winning percentage (16-3) in 2017 when he was an All-Star.
While Wood will have his hands full with the Giants’ lineup, he can sympathize with whatever starter San Francisco decides to use in Saturday’s game. Jeff Samardzija was listed as the starter Friday night, but new San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler went with an opener instead, left-hander Tyler Anderson.
“Our lineup is going to be trouble for a lot of people,” Wood said of his teammates. “There is no give, one through nine now. It’s scary that we will be adding another hitter with the (designated hitter) and all the offense we have. It will be a lot of fun to watch.”
Samardzija (11-12 with a 3.52 ERA last season) could be called up to start Saturday. Or it could be Drew Smyly or Trevor Cahill. Anderson started and went 1 2/3 innings Friday after Smyly pitched one inning following starter Johnny Cueto in Thursday’s season opener.
“I’ll try to be as transparent and open at all times, not trying to hide anything, but I really have to be cognizant of game strategy,” Kapler told reporters recently when asked how he will use his starters. “I don’t want to give you anything too substantial. All our pitchers will fall into buckets: bulk pitcher, sprint pitcher, guys who can pitch back-to-back. But I won’t be too forthright about how we plan to run our games.”
In fact, it was Dodgers manager Dave Roberts who revealed to the media Friday afternoon that Anderson would be starting for the Giants on Friday. Until then, the San Francisco starter was unknown.
Maybe the Giants will want to go with a left-handed starter since Dodgers left-handed hitter Max Muncy belted two home runs Friday. However, Los Angeles right-handed hitter Enrique Hernandez had four hits and five RBIs on Thursday.
As Wood said, the Dodgers’ lineup is scary. After scoring 17 runs in two games against Giants pitching, Los Angeles doesn’t seem too concerned with Kapler’s “game strategy.”
–Field Level Media