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Alex Wood dealing with SC joint again, likely to miss some time

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MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers starter Alex Wood is having more trouble with his sternum, manager Dave Roberts said after Monday night’s 6-5 win over the Pirates in 12 innings at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Wood missed 11 games in May and June on the disabled list with SC joint inflammation, and there have been some warning signs for the left-hander in the last month.

Wood allowed three solo home runs on Monday and when he left after six innings he was trailing 3-0, before the Dodgers rallied to take the lead in the top of the seventh.

The home runs have been a trend for Wood since the All-Star break, allowing eight in his 176 batters faced (one per 22 PA), compared to just two home runs allowed in 314 batters faced (one per 157 PA) before the break.

Wood’s ground ball rate prior to Miami was 63.5 percent, but since the All-Star break it is 47.1 percent.

Wood’s two-seam fastball averaged 91.7 mph in his six starts since the All-Star break before Monday, per Brooks Baseball (classified there as a sinker), and against the Pirates averaged 90.5 mph in his 48 fastballs thrown per Gameday, topping out at 91.9.

He averaged 92.95 mph on his fastball before the break.

The left-hander felt “a little fatigue” after his Aug. 3 start, but was able to make adjustments in a bullpen session and allowed three runs in 13 innings in his two starts since. After getting limited by injuries to just 60⅓ innings in 2016, Wood has more than doubled that total in 2017, now at 123⅓ on the season.

Fatigue is always concerning, as is the drop in velocity, and Wood might very well need a break, especially on a team with two starters likely due back this weekend and next, and one that has liberally used the 10-day disabled list this season to rest their arms.

But struggling is a relative term, and despite the three home runs Wood pitched his fourth consecutive quality start, one in which he struck out five and walked none. The left-hander has a 2.52 ERA in August, with three of his four starts coming after said fatigue. And with the 123⅓ innings in 123 team games, Wood will show up on the ERA leaderboard -- for one day -- checking at fourth in the majors with his 2.41 ERA.

All nine starting pitchers used by the Dodgers this season have made at least one trip to the disabled list.

Up next

Brock Stewart is expected to be recalled from Triple-A to start the second game of the series, a 4:05 p.m. PT start, facing Jameson Taillon for the Pirates. Taillon was warming up in the bullpen in the 12th inning, just in case Monday’s game was extended.

The SportsNet LA broadcast of Tuesday’s game will be simulcast on KTLA, and for those out of market the game will be streamed online via Twitter.