LOS ANGELES -- Alex Wood continued his breakout season in the Dodgers' 6-1 win over the Rockies on Friday night at Dodger Stadium. At 8-0 with a 1.86 ERA, the lefty is the first Dodgers starter since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 to start a season 8-0, and he's the first Dodgers
LOS ANGELES -- Alex Wood continued his breakout season in the Dodgers' 6-1 win over the Rockies on Friday night at Dodger Stadium. At 8-0 with a 1.86 ERA, the lefty is the first Dodgers starter since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 to start a season 8-0, and he's the first Dodgers starter since Orel Hershiser in '85 to remain unbeaten 11 starts into a season.
The reliever turned starter stymied the Rockies to the tune of seven strikeouts, three hits, one run and hurling a season-high 98 pitches, 65 for strikes, through six innings. Two of the hits the Rockies managed to get off the southpaw could have been routine outs.
Chris Taylor made a late break on a fly ball in center field that dropped for a single in the first, and second baseman John Forsythe wasn't able to corral a ground ball in the second.
Regardless, Wood was able to cruise the rest of the way, retiring the final 10 batters he faced.
He was in such a groove, Wood didn't realize he had thrown nearly 100 pitches. Wood batted in the sixth, and lobbied Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to let him stay in the game, until he realized his pitch count.
"Usually, in most games you go a little easier early and a little tougher late," Wood said. "One like tonight, you have two long innings and kind of build your pitch count. I didn't even realize I was at 98."
Wood, who normally attacks the bottom of the strike zone against hitters, shifted his strategy against the Rockies, pounding the top of strike zone and recording four of his punchouts doing so.
"He's just been really aggressive," Roberts said. "He just fills up the strike zone, three-pitch mix, and these guys weren't getting really good swings."
Wood added: "We just kind of had a game plan to attack them, and we were trying to get some early contact. My changeup was good tonight, so I was able to get some early contact."
The lefty has emerged as a pleasant surprise in the Dodgers' rotation.
"He just does a good job of keeping it in his head and keeping his composure," Roberts said. "I think that every pitcher, when they're throwing plus 100 pitches a night, there's things that don't go your way or hits that shouldn't be hits or calls or check-swings. Alex does a very good job of staying within himself."
Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.