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Dodgers need a strong start from Alex Wood in Game 4

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League Championship Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago Cubs - Game Four Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Dodgers find themselves in a bad spot, trailing a series for the first time all postseason. They can tie things up and ensure the World Series gets back to Los Angeles with a win in Game 4 on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.

After needing the bullpen to throw 6 innings in Game 3, including 2⅔ innings by Kenta Maeda, the Dodgers need length out of Alex Wood on Saturday night.

“Everyone [Saturday] is available, outside of Kenta,” Dave Roberts said. “And Alex is going to have to go deep.”

Going deep has been an issue against Wood since the All-Star break, with a ground ball rate that has plummeted from 63.5% before the midsummer classic to 44.4% after the break. After allowing two home runs in 80⅔ innings before the break, Wood has allowed 16 home runs in 76⅓ innings after the break, including three home runs allowed in his Game 4 start in the NLCS.

Alex Wood’s 2017 season

Split IP BF 2B HR BB SO BA/OBP/SLG ERA WHIP GB% Avg MPH
Split IP BF 2B HR BB SO BA/OBP/SLG ERA WHIP GB% Avg MPH
Before ASB 80⅔ 314 11 2 22 97 .174/.243/.233 1.67 0.893 63.5% 92.95
After ASB 76⅓ 318 17 16 16 61 .259/.302/.478 4.01 1.218 44.4% 91.15
Speed of his 2-seamer (sinker), per Brooks Baseball

There were some positives for Wood in that start. He struck out seven with no walks, and four of his eight balls in play (not including the three home runs) were ground balls. But the Dodgers desperately need a strong outing from Wood in Game 4 — however long he lasts — or else this World Series could get away from them.

A little offensive support would help greatly, too.

World Series Game 4 info

First pitch: 5:20 p.m.

TV: Fox (coverage starts at 4:30 p.m.)

Announcers: Joe Buck, John Smoltz, Ken Rosenthal, Tom Verducci

Online streaming: Fox Sports Go

Local radio: AM 570 (Charley Steiner, Rick Monday)

National radio: ESPN Radio (Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone)