A year ago after 13 starts, Wood was 10-0 (one win in relief) with a 1.67 ERA and en route to his first All-Star nod. With Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu on the disabled list this year, Wood (1-5 with a 4.43 ERA) leads the staff in starts, but he's tied for eighth in wins.
"It's been a tough three starts for me, probably the toughest of my career," said Wood, who has allowed 13 earned runs in the last 12 innings. "Just grinding really hard. Got to think one of these next few has got to turn, but definitely frustration."
The pitcher downplayed physical ailments as a contributing factor, but manager Dave Roberts confirmed that hamstring cramps and adductor discomfort have prevented Wood from being "100 percent synced up" physically and mechanically.
"The fact that he still goes out there and competes says a lot about him," said Roberts. "He'll be the first to tell you he's not where he needs to be."
Coming off a two-inning start in Denver, Wood went 4 2/3 innings and allowed his former team nine hits with no walks. Two of the four runs he allowed were earned and he struck out six.
"The first two innings, even from the first at-bat, it seemed like every out was a lot of work," Roberts said. "[With] Alex, the rhythm is always good and he works fast. It just didn't seem like he could finish off guys like he always does. The changeup really hasn't been there and that's one of his secondaries he needs to trust, and the fastball command isn't as consistent as we'd like it."
Roberts said if his starting rotation wasn't so shredded, he possibly would give Wood a few extra days of rest. But after testing between starts, the medical department and Wood agreed he was good to go.
"We expect him to go out there and make his next start," Roberts said. "He's not a guy to make an excuse."
"It's June, there's a lot of games to be played," he said. "I can promise you, when we get down that stretch, I'll be playing my best baseball of the year and hopefully that will be the time we need it most. Hopefully things will start to change my next start."
Wood said the hitters have been "sort of covering up my last three starts," But not on this night.
Following up a five-homer barrage in a Friday night win, the Dodgers were contained by Braves starter Anibal Sanchez for nearly six innings, Max Muncy was the only Dodger who left the park. Muncy also walked three times, while Yasiel Puig was inspired after his unceremonious benching during Friday night's game to rap out three hits and score two runs.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED An error from Logan Forsythe that opened the door to Atlanta's two-run third inning came on a Dansby Swanson one-out grounder. Four of the next five Atlanta batters had base hits, and a double-steal further compounded Wood's problems. Forsythe has committed seven errors this year. He had six errors total in 2017.
SOUND SMART Reliever Daniel Corcino, added before the game, pitched a perfect ninth inning in his Dodgers debut. It was his first Major League appearance since Sept. 24, 2014, a start for the Reds against the Braves.
HE SAID IT "I was looking for a certain pitch. I got it in the first at-bat, and he didn't throw me that pitch during the next two at-bats. So, for me, it was more just not getting out of my approach and just seeing every pitch that I was looking for." -- Muncy, on the three walks after the home run
UP NEXT Roberts said Justin Turner, who missed the last three starts nursing his previously fractured left wrist, will start at third base for the Dodgers in Sunday's 1:10 pm. PT series finale against the Braves. Ross Stripling, not only the hottest Dodgers starter lately but also the healthiest, opposes Sean Newcomb. Stripling will be seeking his fifth straight win.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.