Wood submits strong debut before fateful 7th
PHILADELPHIA -- First in line to second-guess Dodgers manager Don Mattingly Tuesday night was Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
With starting pitcher Alex Wood tied 1-1 through six innings in his Dodgers debut against the Phillies, Mattingly sent Wood back out for the seventh inning that turned into a train wreck with a defensive hiccup, a phantom pitch called a balk and a decisive grand slam by Maikel Franco off reliever Joel Peralta in a 6-2 loss at Citizens Bank Park.
"I thought he did a good job, and I probably should have got him out of there after the sixth," Mattingly said of the left-hander with the funky delivery whom the Dodgers acquired from Atlanta in the flurry of deals last week.
"He didn't need to go back out there, just from the standpoint of, he did his job to that point and he didn't deserve to be the guy with an L on his back after that," Mattingly said. "You want him to come out of there with a good experience his first time. It should be more on us."
Mattingly, however, offered no apology for turning over a one-out, bases-loaded jam to Peralta despite having a rested bullpen. The veteran right-hander's third pitch, a 1-1 hanging curveball, was launched by Franco into the left-field seats.
"They're a fastball-hitting club over there, he pitched good against them in our place (1 1/3 scoreless innings), he doesn't give in, he changes speeds, he makes you swing at something on the edges," said Mattingly. "I'm sure he didn't want the breaking ball there, he wanted it down and get them to try to roll it."
Wood struck out eight in the game, but his only two walks (one intentional) came in the fateful seventh. He was pitching on three extra days' rest -- the result of the trade -- having been on standby in case Clayton Kershaw had been scratched again. He also logged a sprint down to the bullpen on Sunday when that game went into extra innings.
"It's been a weird eight days, for sure," said Wood, who also singled in his first at-bat. "I put us in a bad situation in the seventh, they ended up capitalizing. That's not the way I envisioned the first one going."
Wood said he really couldn't explain the balk that became an instant Internet sensation. With runners on first and second, what should have been a 3-2 pitch slipped out of his hand just as he was bringing it forward and dribbled in the direction of first base, stopping just before rolling over the foul line.
"I don't really know what happened, it kind of slipped out of my hand when it got cooler and windier," he said.
The Dodgers had baserunners in every inning, but scored only single runs on Andre Ethier's RBI single in the fifth and pinch-hitter Carl Crawford's RBI double in the eighth. They had runners on second and third with no outs in the third inning and the bases loaded with no outs in the fourth and didn't score either time, stranding 13 runners in the game.