LOS ANGELES (CBS SF) — There’s a bulldog’s heart beating deep inside San Francisco starter Alex Wood as the clock ticks down to a pivotal Game 3 of the historic Giants-Los Angeles Dodgers NLDS on Monday night.
Both dugouts know that oh-so-well. Wood played for both teams. For the Dodgers, he spent time both as a starter and out of the bullpen and played a key relief role in their World Series win last season.READ MORE: 1 Dead, 2 Injured In Separate Falls During Phish Concert At Chase Center
With the Giants, he has been solely a starter, rolling up a 10-4 record. Like Game 1 winner Logan Webb, he has the full arsenal of pitches — fastball, sinker, slider and changeup.
“He always wants the ball. He wants to stay in the game as long as possible,” said Giants manager Gabe Kapler. “He always feels like he’s the best option to get the next three hitters out. And you can’t help but respect that level of competitiveness.”
“Everything that he’s doing in the days leading up to that start is by design and he leaves nothing up to chance,” he added. “I think he’s a perfect example of how we would want a young pitcher to establish his routine as well.”
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is also well acquainted with Wood’s competitive nature.
“Well, I don’t think we get through Game 6 (deciding game of the 2020 World Series) without Alex Wood and his valuable innings,” Robert said. “Obviously I showed a lot of confidence in him at that point in time in the game to get him out there and take down some huge outs.”
“I have a very good respect and admiration for him, consider him a friend, and he’s a great competitor,” he continued. “I think he feels he’s always the best option, which as Major League ballplayers, that’s a good thing. It’s a fastball. It’s a slider, slurvy-type pitch, and it’s a changeup. He pitched to all quadrants. He likes to get strike one. And he’ll be prepared for us because he knows our guys pretty well too.”READ MORE: UPDATE: Alameda Businesses Fight Back Against Serial ADA Lawsuit Filer
Wood, who signed a one-year, $3 million free-agent deal with the Giants, also has been chomping at the bit to take on his former teammates.
“(Monday) will be totally unique in and of itself and I’m excited for the opportunity and the challenge,” he said.
He also will be leaning on his post-season experience.
“I’ve been fortunate to be in the postseason a lot and so I’m, every year’s different, but there’s nothing better than this time of year,” he said. “You really get to test yourself, separate the boys from the men.”
Wood is also aware the Dodgers know him well.
“They will have a great plan,” he said. “They know me really well. They do a great job of preparing for anyone and everyone, especially this time of year. So just got to kind of go out and execute, play the chess match, take what the game gives you, feel it out as you go, and try and make pitches and try and execute.”
With the best-of-5 series knotted at 1-1, the enormity of the moment is not lost on Wood.MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Cal Fire Officials Discuss How Controlled Burn Erupted Into Estrada Fire
“Yeah, huge game, obviously, but this is what you play for,” he said. “I’ve been in a lot of postseasons, pitched in a lot of big games in the postseason, and (Monday is) no exception. So you show up and you give everything you got. I think after spending the year in San Francisco and then playing over there for five years with a lot of those guys, I’ll leave everything I’ve got out there. I’ll give everything that I have for us to win the baseball game and do whatever we need.”