Los Angeles Dodgers: Alex Wood is the x-factor to a World Series push

May 26, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood (57) pitches against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
May 26, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood (57) pitches against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Alex Wood from the Atlanta Braves as part of a three-team trade in 2015. Now, that trade is starting to pay off.

Alex Wood has been an interesting case for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Acquired in 2015, prior to this season Wood had not made much of an impact for the boys in blue. 2015 saw Wood toss a 5-6 record for the Dodgers on the tail end of a 4.35 ERA.

2016 was better, but certainly was not anything to write home about. Battling injury Wood was only able to make ten starts for the Dodgers last season, his record was not great at 1-4, but his 3.73 ERA was certainly something to hold promise over. Only being 25 at the time 2016 ended, the Dodgers had plenty of time to be patient with Alex Wood.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were seemingly being patient with Wood as well. Granted, he was given an opportunity to earn a starting role in Spring Training, the Dodgers decided to start him in the bullpen in favor of Hyun-Jin Ryu. Now, those roles are reversed, as Wood is in the Dodgers starting rotation and Ryu made his first bullpen appearance Thursday night.

This switch, Ryu to the bullpen and Wood to the starting rotation, is coming off of Wood’s outstanding 2017. Wood has been the best pitcher on the Dodgers, neck and neck with Clayton Kershaw, and is turning out to be something truly special.

For some odd reason, despite his struggles in the past, I have always been a huge believer that Alex Wood would be something special. Back in Spring Training, I wrote that Alex Wood has the superstar potential, and could be something very special – I am so glad it is coming to fruition.

Whether you believe my stance or not, that does not matter. The signs that Alex Wood would break out before this season is what matters – it was all in front of us, and nobody seemed to notice. Prior to this season, Wood owned a 1.63 career ERA at Dodger Stadium, if we should have known one thing, it is that Wood could pitch in Los Angeles.

However, Wood has done much more than just pitch well in Los Angeles; he has pitched great, everywhere. Wood currently holds a 6-0 record, a 1.69 ERA, and an outrageous 60 strikes outs in 48 innings.

Not only that, Wood currently is in the midst of a 25.1 inning scoreless streak. While it is not up in the best ever ranks yet, it is a nice little streak that showcases his dominance. Only nine runs have been scored off of Wood this season, eight of which came in two separate games. Outside of those two bad appearances, Wood holds a 0.23 ERA.

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Nobody expected Wood to be this dominant. He is already a front-runner for the NL Cy Young Award, and hopefully, can continue that hot streak. It is pivotal that he does, as he is the true x-factor to the Dodgers World Series push.

If Clayton Kershaw can be Clayton Kershaw, and Rich Hill can craft the masterpiece against the Cubs that he did last year, adding Alex Wood cements the Dodgers in the World Series. With an outstanding bullpen, if the Dodgers can get three dominant starts in a row, in October, they ill be in great shape.

Wood gives the Dodgers so much more flexibility as well. We have seen it every year since 2013, the team has to throw Kershaw on short rest due to the lack of arms and he gets rocked. With Wood in the mix, the Dodgers can comfortably run a four-man rotation, knowing that even if the fourth man losses they have three more studs to secure the series.

Next: Hyun-Jin Ryu could reinvent himself in the bullpen

Don’t be surprised if we see a sweep in the NLDS and a dominating display from the Dodgers in the NLCS and World Series. The team has shown the ability to burst out with the bats and go on run parades, now, if Alex Wood can keep up this momentum, they very well could be World Series bound.