Since Alex Wood came back from the minors to begin his full-time starting pitching career for the Atlanta Braves, he has been nothing short of great. The Braves actually could not have asked for anything more from the rookie pitcher who has been critical for the Braves down the stretch. His last time out however he had his first really bad start since returning to MLB as a starter. That makes his Saturday start against the Philadelphia Phillies that much more important.
The Braves magic number is down to 9 so they actually don’t have to have a win other than to try and keep in the fight for home field advantage. Wood however needs a quality start. It is kind of like getting back on the horse in a way. He was cruising and pitching extremely well, pitching better than his experience as a matter of fact. Now he needs to go out and show the poise of a pitcher much older and put the bad start behind him.
Last night Mike Minor lost to Cliff Lee 2 – 1. That kind of loss would be fine for Wood tonight except of course for the loss part of it. Chances are since Lee won’t pitch in back to back games, giving up less than three runs would give Wood the win or at the worst a no-decision. The point of the entire game for Wood needs to be getting back on track and ignoring the bad start. If he has done his job correctly along with the Braves pitching coach, he will have already worked out whatever issues he had and he’ll be ready to put zeroes on the board. This is the next step in Wood proving he is ready for the majors full time next season.