LOS ANGELES -- Dave Roberts was willing to write off Alex Wood's disastrous start on Wednesday night to one nasty case of food poisoning from bad sushi in San Francisco.The Dodgers manager, however, wasn't as forgiving of some of the relievers that followed Wood and helped fuel a 16-6 blowout
LOS ANGELES -- Dave Roberts was willing to write off Alex Wood's disastrous start on Wednesday night to one nasty case of food poisoning from bad sushi in San Francisco.
The Dodgers manager, however, wasn't as forgiving of some of the relievers that followed Wood and helped fuel a 16-6 blowout loss to the Oakland A's at Dodger Stadium.
Wood allowed seven runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings, having never really recovered from the lingering intestinal havoc caused by Friday night dinner with teammate Cody Bellinger, who also got sick.
Wood, however, got sicker. His routine already off-kilter from scheduling quirks, he was unable to throw a bullpen session on Sunday in San Francisco. The club tried to buy time by pushing back his start from Tuesday to Wednesday and was cleared after throwing a short bullpen session on Tuesday.
"I was good enough to go, I just wasn't very good from start to finish," said Wood, who hadn't pitched for a week. "It was just bad, just one of those days. Didn't make good pitches when I needed to. I thought it would be fine but it turned out not so good."
Wood had an excuse, even if he didn't want to use it. The continued struggles of relievers Scott Alexander and Wilmer Font are different issues entirely.
Alexander, acquired in a trade from Kansas City, hasn't looked anything like the high-leverage lefty the club thought it was getting. His ERA, 2.48 last year, is 10.38 so far in '18. He's already issued six walks in 4 1/3 innings and uncorked a pair of wild pitches in this game, after a Spring Training with five walks and four wild pitches in nine innings, and Roberts conceded he's concerned.
"Scott is a guy that throws a heavy dose of sinkers to the bottom of the zone. A guy like that you'd expect to be efficient and pound the zone," said Roberts. "Right now, he's having a hard time getting ahead of hitters and being consistent in the strike zone. There were some scuds out there tonight, where he's working through some things mechanically. I can't speak to the confidence. It's in there. We've seen it from the other side. We've got to run him back out there and regain that confidence."
Roberts didn't say anything about running Font back out there after watching him give up home runs to Matt Chapman and Jed Lowrie among the six hits and six runs he allowed on Wednesday. Font made the club because he has a big arm and he's out of options. He's also been a professional for 13 seasons without pitching effectively in the Major Leagues. In four appearances this year he has a 13.50 ERA, having allowed 15 hits in 7 1/3 innings, including three homers.
"I think, with Wilmer, he's throwing strikes. But when you get to two strikes at this level, you have to be able to put guys away or induce soft contact," said Roberts. "He's having a hard time getting through an inning without getting his pitch count up. Guys are spoiling pitches, seeing him more and getting to slug. This is a steep learning curve for Wilmer. He's been in spots we couldn't keep him out of. He's learning on the run. It's a tough league."
With a day off on Thursday, roster moves could be coming, especially with outfielder Alvin Toles coming off a 4-for-6 game with five RBIs for Triple-A Oklahoma City and the Dodgers not needing an eight-man bullpen because they've had so many days off already.
At 4-7, the Dodgers are off to their worst start since 1994. The offense showed life against the A's, with Matt Kemp and Yasmani Grandal knocking out three hits each on Wednesday, Grandal slugging his second home run. Still, they lost by 10, falling behind in the top of the first. They threw the ball around, Wood failing to field his position twice, a throwing error by center fielder Chris Taylor and a lapse by second baseman Chase Utley that contributed to Oakland's five-run fourth inning.
"It didn't start out well for us," said Roberts. "We got outplayed. You don't see it very often, but tonight we got our butts kicked in every part of the game. Credit to those guys. We just got beat up tonight."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Trayce erases Puig's would-be homer: Oakland center fielder Trayce Thompson, brother of Golden State's Klay, was designated for assignment by the Dodgers at the end of Spring Training. He paid them back for the cut by stealing a two-out, two-run homer from pinch-hitter Yasiel Puig by reaching over the wall to make a spectacular catch in the sixth inning. Puig tipped his helmet to his former teammate to acknowledge the play. Batted balls with Puig's combination of 105-mph exit velocity and 24-degree launch angle have gone for home runs approximately 78 percent of the time since Statcast™ started tracking that data in 2015. A home run would have cut the A's lead to 9-6.
"Trayce is a really good defender out there and made a really nice play," said Roberts.
Gifts galore: Defensive miscues led to runs for both clubs. Wood failed to cover first base on Mark Canha's infield single in the first, and Davis homered with two outs two batters later. In the bottom of the inning, a Joc Pederson sky-high fly ball dropped for a gift double when Oakland right fielder Stephen Piscotty and Thompson both appeared to lose site of it. Pederson then went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Corey Seager groundout. In Oakland's five-run fifth,Utley extended the inning with an errant flip to second, and Wood failed to back up the plate on center fielder Taylor's throwing error.
After an off-day on Thursday -- their fourth day without a game in an eight-day span -- the Dodgers open a three-game series against the D-backs on Friday at Dodger Stadium, with Kenta Maeda scheduled to start the 7:10 p.m. PT opener. It will be Maeda's first start since March 31, though the right-hander made a one-inning relief appearance on Saturday.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.