The old adage “Better to be lucky than good” has certainly been applicable for Alex Wood this season. The Atlanta Braves left-hander has been good, allowing two runs or fewer in six of his first seven starts. It’s the lack of luck, or more specifically lack of run support, that has left Wood unrewarded for his consistency on the mound.
After the Braves 4-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday afternoon, Wood is now tied for the MLB lead in losses with five. None of the four other pitchers with five losses this season have an ERA under 4.60. Wood’s ERA currently sits at 3.00, a mark that’s inflated by his lone bad outing.
The lack of wins are due to the Braves’ offense disappearing whenever Wood toes the rubber. The Braves have scored only 13 runs total over Wood’s seven starts, and 12 of those runs came in his first three starts. The lone run scored against the Giants was the first scored with Wood on the mound in over three weeks, and Wood’s sacrifice bunt (along with the Giants’ error on the play) directly led to the run.
The Braves offense has been inconsistent all season, but they’ve made things particularly rough for the southpaw. Aaron Harang is getting just under 4.0 runs per game from the Braves offense and Ervin Santana is getting over 6.0. Even in Wood’s one bad outing against the Miami Marlins on April 29th, the Braves offense still didn’t score any runs.
Wood’s first seven starts are a prime example of why wins and losses alone cannot accurately indicate a starter’s true performance. He has four quality starts and almost a 5/1 strikeout to walk rate. Still, his 2-5 record puts him in a group with struggling pitchers like Trevor Cahill and Carlos Villanueva. Even more ridiculous is that Wood has one fewer win than teammate Luis Avilan, even though Avilan’s 6.48 ERA is nearly 3.5 runs higher than Wood’s.
The successful bunt attempt for Wood is a sign that his April bunting woes may be behind him, which should allow him to aid his run support going forward. If the Braves’ bats start to come around as well, Wood should start racking up the wins he deserves.