The word depth is thrown around often with the Dodgers, with the club utilizing nearly all of its 40-man roster, and then some, over the course of a season. But that depth was especially on display in Friday’s win.
Wood began the season on the outside looking in to the Dodgers starting rotation, but he has pitched better than anyone on the staff. Friday’s effort included scoreless ball into the eighth inning against the Marlins. He didn’t strike out as many as the two starts that earned him National League Player of the Week honors last week, but to go with his four strikeouts on Friday, Wood induced 14 outs on the ground and no fly outs, completely stymying the Marlins.
“Alex was really good tonight, very efficient. He was pounding the strike zone,” said manager Dave Roberts. “When he’s got that three-pitch mix working, and working to all quadrants, he’s very good.”
Wood is the first Dodgers pitcher with three consecutive scoreless starts since Rich Hill last August and September, and now has an active scoreless streak of 20⅓ innings.
“All his pitches seem to be clicking right now, and he’s executing at a high level,” said catcher Austin Barnes.
Chris Taylor started at second base on Friday night, and went 3-for-4 from the leadoff spot, in the middle of the action on offense as he has been for the last month.
Taylor doubled in the first inning and homered in the third inning, and is hitting .346/.452/.603 with 10 extra-base hits in 93 plate appearances this season.
“I’m getting to fastballs better. Last year there were a few times I was getting beat on fastballs, so I had to cheat a little bit and it made me vulnerable to off speed,” Taylor said. “I think my bat speed is a little higher this year, just the result of having more rhythm in my hands, and more momentum with the barrel.”
He was in the minors for the first two weeks of the season.
Brett Eibner has been in the minors even longer, spending most of the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City. But called up on Friday for his third stint with the Dodgers this season, Eibner started in center field and homered in the fourth inning, a two-run shot that widened the Dodgers lead.
Eibner is 4-for-13 (.308) with two home runs and a walk in the bigs so far in 2017.
Last but not least, Cody Bellinger added some insurance with a two-run shot in the eighth. He was one of the top prospects in baseball so he’s in a little bit of a different category than Taylor or Eibner, but Bellinger still qualifies as depth, and did spend the first three weeks of the season in the minors.
Bellinger’s home run was his eighth, tying Yasiel Puig for the team lead. At 23 career games, Bellinger is the fastest Dodger ever to eight career home runs, beating Puig’s mark of 27 games set in 2013.
The Dodgers have won three straight games overall, and five straight at home. They are 15-6 at Dodger Stadium this season.
Home runs: Chris Taylor (5), Brett Eibner (2), Cody Bellinger (8); Justin Bour (10)
WP - Alex Wood (5-0): 7⅓ IP, 6 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
LP - Justin Nicolino (0-1): 4 IP, 7 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts