It wasn’t just Kobe’s night, it was also Alex Wood’s
By Cary Osborne
In the top of the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night, a Kobe chant broke out as Alex Wood was about to deliver his first pitch of the frame to Rubby De La Rosa. It was prompted by a Kobe Bryant graphic that went up on DodgerVision.
“I didn’t hear it,” Wood said. “They chanted it later in the game and I heard it. It’s hard not to notice. He’s one of the greatest ever.”
At that moment in the fifth, Wood would have had to pitch the baseball backward to get some attention. But the way he navigated his second start of the season deserves some notice. Wood piloted the Dodgers to a 3-1 win with some early grit and late polish.
He gave up a leadoff single in the first inning, a leadoff home run to Nick Ahmed in the third, a leadoff single in the fourth and seven of the first 14 Diamondbacks reached base. But he retired 11 in a row between the fourth and seventh innings.
The left-hander was pitching so well late that with two on and two out in the bottom of the sixth inning and the Dodgers leading 3-1, Dodger manager Dave Roberts left him in to hit for himself.
Wood struck out.
Roberts let Wood hit for himself in the top of the sixth in San Francisco on April 7 after he ran into trouble in the fifth and allowed three earned runs, cutting the Dodger lead at the time to 4-3. The Giants then knocked Wood out of the game in the bottom of the sixth with consecutive singles. Both runners scored and it didn’t end well with the Dodgers eventually losing 12-6.
Six days later, different story. Wood retired the side in the seventh on 12 pitches. He started the eighth inning on the mound but surrendered an infield single on a close play at first to pinch-hitter Phil Gosselin.
After Pedro Baez came in and got an out, then walked Jean Segura, Wood’s effort was in danger of getting spoiled. Kenley Jansen preserved it by striking out David Peralta and then inducing a fly out by Paul Goldschmidt with the tying runs on base.
Before Jansen threw a pitch in the bottom of the ninth, highlights from Bryant’s final game were showed on DodgerVision. Kobe scored 60 in his finale. Jansen then proceeded to mow down the Diamondbacks in order to earn the first five-out save of his career.
Here are some other numbers:
Wood allowed one run in seven innings and got 21 Diamondbacks out. And the Dodgers won.
“Good night for L.A.,” Wood said.