He's a babe in the Woods.
Alex Wood threw seven shutout innings and the Los Angeles Dodgers won a nail-biter, 1-0, over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.
Wood's rapid ascension this season begs the question:
When do isolated incidents stop being random events and start being a trend?
Wednesday marked Wood's 13th start of the season, and the North Carolina native remained perfect on the year, improving to 10-0, with a league-best 1.67 ERA.
"You have tp pinch yourself sometimes," said Wood of his remarkable start to the season. "I've had some pretty good runs in my career, so this is something where you have to try and slow it down and take it all in and remember what you're doing now so when the hard times come you get back to where you had success. It's been a lot of fun."
Wood tied Dallas Keuchel for the longest active streak in the Majors without a loss, at 13 consecutive starts. Teammate, Clayton Kershaw is second with 12 straight starts without a loss.
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"You see your teammate in Clayton [Kershaw] the way he goes at guys, prepares, pitches every game like it's conceivably his last," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts, comparing Wood to Kershaw. "Every time Alex takes the mound he has that pitching with a purpose mentality. Guys like that you feel really good when they take the mound."
Wood was humbled by his manager's analogy.
"Even to be mentioned in the same breath as him is pretty cool," Wood said of the comparison to Kershaw. "I think he holds everyone accountable without actually holding you accountable. He puts in the work, and it makes you want to work hard too."
Wood is easily one of the surprises of the first half of the MLB season as the left-hander didn't even make it out of Spring Training in the starting rotation.
After struggling in his last two starts in the preseason, Wood was dealt to the bullpen to begin his 2017 campaign.
On Wednesday, you could not see the Wood for the trees, as the Dodgers emerging ace became the first starter since Don Newcombe in 1955 to start the season 10-0. No starting pitcher in Los Angeles Dodgers history has accomplished the feat.
"That's pretty cool," said Wood when told he was now in the record books with Newk. "I'm sure I'll see him sometime in the next couple days. It's pretty neat to be mentioned with him."
This was Wood's final start before the All-Star Break and he leaves with the fourth lowest ERA in team history behind only Don Drysdale (1.37), Zack Greinke (1.39), and Sandy Koufax (1.60).
"One day at a time. I would feel very honored if that happens," added Wood when asked if he should be in the Midsummer Classic. "It's something as a kid you dream of. I would feel very humbled."
If you're superstitious for the second half of the season, it's time to knock on Wood, but in his final start of the first half, he was brilliant, throwing seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits, walking two, and striking out 10 in the win.
"I don't know how often you get two teams with 50+ wins before the All-Star break playing against each other, especially in the same division," said Wood of his start on Wednesday. "It felt a little bit bigger tonight, tensions were a little bit higher, especially in a 1-0 ballgame."
That's 10 Ks through seven scoreless innings from @Awood45! �� pic.twitter.com/GpHejRTTGf— #VoteJT (@Dodgers) July 6, 2017
Arizona starter Zack Godley was the hard-luck loser as he allowed just one run on three hits with one walk and six strikeouts in an otherwise strong start that lasted 5 and 2/3 innings.
"He's got a very good curveball. He really competes," Roberts said of Godley. "We really didn't get a whole lot of good swings off him."
One of those good swings came when Yasmani Grandal knocked in the game's only run with an RBI double that scored Chris Taylor in the second inning.
"Fortunately CT [Chris Taylor] hanging breaking ball gets a base hit up the middle and Yasmani gets a first-pitch fastball and hits it to the opposite field gap," added Roberts. "That was all the offense we needed. It's not the formula we've used in recent weeks, but it was just enough."
Despite his sensational start, the Dodgers were not out of the woods as Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen had to combine for two innings of tension-filled scoreless relief.
"These guys got their job done," said Jansen of Wood and Baez before him. "To see how Alex [Wood] battled, it gives you that extra adrenaline to go out there and fight."
Jansen allowed the tying run to reach base on a Brandon Drury single, but he struck out Chris Hermann to end the game as the All-Star earned his 20th save of the season, the sixth consecutive year he's tallied at least 20 saves.
Despite the loss, the Diamondbacks are still off to their best start in franchise history at 52-33 overall.
With back-to-back victories over the rival Diamondbacks, the Dodgers increased their lead in the National League west to a season-high 4.5 games.
Los Angeles looks for the sweep, and a stranglehold on the division over the D-backs as LHP Robbie Ray and Rich Hill tangle on Thursday at 7:10 PM PST.