Pitcher Alex Wood got his call-up to the big leagues with the Atlanta Braves last season and looked great on the mound as a rookie. Now, entering his second season, Wood will be expected to carry on a bigger load because of the recent injuries to Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy. Their absence from the starting rotation means it’s up to the young pitcher to step up right away in order to fill the void.
Luckily for Braves fans, Wood looks like the perfect candidate to have a breakout season.
He had an excellent outing against the Boston Red Sox today. Wood pitched six innings, giving up one run, six hits, no walks and striking out four batters to build upon a great Spring Training. After his performance on the mound today, his ERA sits at a remarkable 0.45 for the spring, which signals that the young left-hander is ready to become a part of the Atlanta starting rotation.
He could have easily pitched himself out of a spot in the rotation, but instead he proved to manager Fredi Gonzalez that he deserves to be a starter.
Even the run that he gave up in the fourth inning wasn’t that impressive. The Red Sox needed a bloop single to right field from Mike Napoli in order to drive in Shane Victorino from second base with two outs. In fact, I bet if Jason Heyward was out there instead of Joey Terdoslavich, he could have gotten to that ball.
However, after allowing the run to come through, Wood showed composure on the mound. With runners on first and second, the lefty struck out Xander Bogaerts to get out of the jam.
Hopefully, Wood’s performance on the mound today is a sign of things to come for the Braves. If he’s able to pick up the slack while Medlen and Beachy sit for the rest of the year, he could be in store for a breakout season. The 23-year old showed that he’s more than capable of handling a starting role after his outings with Atlanta last season. Now the question becomes: can he build upon a great rookie campaign and a fantastic Spring Training heading into the 2014 season?