CINCINNATI -- The Dodgers are juggling their rotation again, which not only is bad news for odd man out Alex Wood, but is also a contributing factor to a historical oddity for a franchise built upon starting pitching.First, Wood. After the left-hander's 3 2/3-inning start in Tuesday night's loss, manager
CINCINNATI -- The Dodgers are juggling their rotation again, which not only is bad news for odd man out Alex Wood, but is also a contributing factor to a historical oddity for a franchise built upon starting pitching.
First, Wood. After the left-hander's 3 2/3-inning start in Tuesday night's loss, manager Dave Roberts said Wood's next outing hasn't been determined. His turn would come up Sunday in St. Louis, but Roberts said Wednesday starter Thomas Stripling and Hyun-Jin Ryu are currently the candidates, with Wood "potentially" on Monday.
Stripling allowed one run over 3 1/3 innings in Wednesday's 8-1 win over the Reds at Great American Ball Park, his first start since Aug. 9. Roberts said he's still in the running for Sunday.
"He could be an option," Roberts said. "He threw 51 pitches today. We've got to talk through it and we'll figure out what's best for him. We haven't made a decision."
Stripling said he would be ready to relieve by Saturday -- if not start on Sunday.
"Definitely a little rusty," Stripling said after permitting the first three batters to reach base, including a homer by Jose Peraza. "I should be fine by Sunday. I'll be ready, Sunday Night Baseball."
Roberts said St. Louis' lineup is one factor in the decision not to start Wood, but he conceded that Wood's recent inconsistent outings are at least of equal consideration. He allowed three runs in four innings against the Cardinals last month in Los Angeles.
"He was really sharp in the Texas start [on Aug. 29 with seven scoreless innings], but outside of that, he hasn't been as sharp as he has been early this year," Roberts said. "He said he feels strong, but the fact is it's not as crisp as it was earlier this year."
Wood has never regained the velocity from the first half of 2017, when he was an All-Star. He was bothered after last year's All-Star break by sternum discomfort, then decided during the offseason to abandon the windup and pitch exclusively out of the stretch. The velocity, however, never returned.
In the first half of 2017, Wood's fastball velocity averaged 92.6 mph, and he used the pitch 51.7 percent of the time. In the second half of 2018, the average fastball velocity has been 89.5 mph, with a frequency usage of 43.1 percent.
As for the historical oddity, while pitcher victories have lost their luster to some, the Dodgers don't have a starter with at least double-digit wins and might finish the season that way. Part of the explanation is that every starter except Wood has been on the disabled list at least once. Clayton Kershaw has been sidelined twice, which will snap his eight-year streak of at least 12 victories.
The Dodgers already are assured of breaking the franchise record for the most games played in a season without a 10-game winner, set during World War II in 1944, when it took 147 games before Curt Davis won his 10th. The Dodgers will play their 148th game on Friday and no current pitcher has more than eight wins.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.