Alex Wood showed real poise on the mound on Tuesday night as the Atlanta Braves faced the Cleveland Indians. The young southpaw tossed 5.2 shutout innings before Fredi Gonzalez removed him from the game. He gave up five scattered hits, but when you consider his four walks, it’s obvious he had some command issues.
Wood threw 105 pitches, and only 62 of them were fastballs. So how did he give up no runs? Well, he got timely strikeouts and he bore down when he got in a jam. For a young pitcher, that’s a good sign. Recall last season, Mike Minor would be throwing a gem but as soon as a runner got on and he had to pitch out of the stretch, chaos ensued. Once Minor was able to master those problems, everything clicked.
Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about that with Wood. Even on Tuesday when he was having trouble, he didn’t make bad mistakes. He threw a lot of un-competitive pitches, but he rarely left one in the batter’s wheelhouse and that was the key to his success. He hit his spots and when he missed, the pitch was unhittable. After his start against Cleveland, Wood’s ERA dropped to 2.50 in 57.2 innings pitched.
On another note, the official word on Brandon Beachy is that there was no structural damage to his elbow and he just experienced some inflammation. He’ll be shut down for at least 10 days and after that, he’s being considered for the bullpen. I understand not wanting to use him in the rotation down the stretch, but I’m still holding out on him possibly starting in the postseason.
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