Wood wished for better in Turner Field return

Dodgers lefty allows six runs (three earned) in first start vs. former club

April 20th, 2016
Alex Wood allowed six runs (three earned) over four innings against the Braves on Tuesday. (AP)

ATLANTA -- Alex Wood was amped up for his return to Turner Field. It's a night he probably started dreaming about last July 30, when he was traded to the Dodgers. Knowing it was coming for about a week got him even more amped, which the 25-year-old lefty, who starred at the University of Georgia, said is usually a good thing.

Unfortunately for him and the Dodgers, it wasn't on Tuesday night. Wood was unable to control his fastball and lasted a season-low four innings as the Dodgers fell to the Braves, 8-1.

"It's tough and not really the way I pictured coming back here for the first time," said Wood, who hit two batters, the same number he'd hit in his first 82 1/3 innings as a Dodger. "Fastball command just wasn't very good tonight. That was the most frustrating thing. I don't know if I've ever walked in a run in my professional career before."

The lack of command hurt early, as Wood was admittedly caught off-guard by an aggressive Braves team that came out swinging: Atlanta's first three hitters each put the first pitch of the at-bat in play.

The Braves scored two runs in the first, third and fourth innings, peppering Wood with seven hits. Adding to the frustration was that none were hit particularly hard.

"They just found a way to put the bat on the baseball and find holes," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "Those balls easily could have been hit at someone. Unfortunately it just didn't work out that way."

Then again, the way things worked out on Tuesday night, even balls hit at someone didn't guarantee outs. The Dodgers, who entered Tuesday with the best fielding percentage in the Majors, committed three errors -- two by third baseman Justin Turner, another by shortstop Corey Seager. Neither had an error coming into Tuesday's game.

"There's really no rhyme or reason for it," said Roberts. "162 games there are going to be games like this, but this was definitely more of an outlier."

Maybe it's just something about Turner Field, where the Dodgers are 29-41, with two games left on this final visit. Maybe it's something about coming back to Turner Field.

Even Greg Maddux (five earned runs, eight hits in six innings when returning with the Cubs on July 5, 2005) and Tom Glavine (six earned runs, eight hits in 3 1/3 innings with the Mets on May 24, 2003) had difficulties coming back to Turner Field after leaving the Braves, and those two guys are in the Hall of Fame.

For Wood, there's the positive, as Roberts pointed out, that he competed. Also he's young and showed an ability to keep his sense of humor and perspective.

When asked how many tickets he'd left for friends and family, he chuckled and said, "I wish it was not very many, but I had a good amount."

He concluded his assessment of the frustrating night by saying, "The walks [three vs. one strikeout] were pretty frustrating because of the fastball command. It's a tough one to swallow, but we've got another one in five days."