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Alex Wood’s struggles continue in loss to Braves

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

June Flowers brought an early shower for Alex Wood on Saturday as the Dodgers lost to the Braves 5-3 on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium, continuing a downward trend for one of the few healthy starting pitchers on the team.

Wood wasn’t sharp on Saturday, allowing six singles and three doubles and wasn’t able to get out of the fifth inning. Four runs were charged to Wood’s ledger, though two were unearned thanks to an error by Logan Forsythe at second base.

But Forsythe made up for the miscue on offense by [checking the box score ... oh] going 0-for-3, and is now hitless in his last 12 at-bats. In fairness one of Forsythe’s outs was ground ball slow enough to score a run from third base, but he’s now hitting an unplayable .202/.261/.284 on the season.

Back for a moment to Wood, who struck out six and walked none so he was around the plate all night. But the Braves were hitting his strikes, and Wood has now allowed 15 runs on 20 hits in 12 innings in his last three starts, seeing his ERA balloon during that span from 3.32 to 4.43.

Tyler Flowers delivered the big blows, a two-run double in the third inning and an RBI single in the fifth, the latter ending Wood’s night. Both of Flowers’ run-scoring knocks were with two outs.

Wood exiting in the fifth meant the Dodgers bullpen had to cover the final 4⅓ innings on Saturday. Though Wood only recorded 14 outs it represented progress for a beleaguered Dodgers pitching staff, with back-to-back games of the starters pitching more innings than the relievers for the first time in June, and for just the fourth time in the last eight games.

The Dodgers offense has been incredible of late, providing enough support to sweep many of the pitching woes under the rug. But on Saturday they could only manage two runs against Anibal Sanchez.

One of those was a home run by Max Muncy, his 11th of the season, one shy of his total for all of 2017 in 379 Triple-A plate appearances. Muncy also walked three times for the first time in his career and is now hitting a remarkable .268/.385/.593.

Among the 148 National League hitters with at least 100 plate appearances this season, Muncy ranks third in wRC+ (163), and is second in slugging percentage (.593).

Up next

The Dodgers finish up with the Braves with Ross Stripling on the mound in Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. PT start. Sean Newcomb starts for Atlanta.

Saturday particulars

Home run: Max Muncy (11)

WP - Anibal Sanchez (2-0): 5⅓ IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

LP - Alex Wood (1-5): 4⅔ IP, 9 hits, 4 runs (2 earned), 6 strikeouts

Sv - Arodys Vizcaino (11): 1 IP, 1 hit