Dodgers reach deep into their bag of tricks to beat Diamondbacks

  • Dodger starting pitcher Alex Wood #57 during their game against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018.  (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Dodger starting pitcher Alex Wood #57 during their game against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed, left, runs to first on an inside-the-park home run off Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood, front, during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Arizona Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed, left, runs to first on an inside-the-park home run off Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood, front, during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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  • Dodgers outfielder Enrique Hernandez #14 hits the wall going after a Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed #13 fly ball during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018.   Ahmed  scored on the play for an inside the park home un in the first inning. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Dodgers outfielder Enrique Hernandez #14 hits the wall going after a Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed #13 fly ball during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018. Ahmed scored on the play for an inside the park home un in the first inning. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte #4 catches the ball and makes the tag for the out as the Dodgers’ Chris Taylor #3 attempts to steal second base during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018.  (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte #4 catches the ball and makes the tag for the out as the Dodgers’ Chris Taylor #3 attempts to steal second base during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte #4 catches the ball and makes the tag for the out as the Dodgers’ Chris Taylor #3 attempts to steal second base during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018.  (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte #4 catches the ball and makes the tag for the out as the Dodgers’ Chris Taylor #3 attempts to steal second base during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Diamondbacks starting pitcher Patrick Corbin #46 during their game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018.  (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Diamondbacks starting pitcher Patrick Corbin #46 during their game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger #35 reacts during an at bat during their game against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018.  (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger #35 reacts during an at bat during their game against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Diamondbacks’ Steven Souza Jr. #28 slides in to second base as Dodgers second baseman Austin Barnes #15 throws to first for a double play to end the third inning during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018.  (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    The Diamondbacks’ Steven Souza Jr. #28 slides in to second base as Dodgers second baseman Austin Barnes #15 throws to first for a double play to end the third inning during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodger starting pitcher Alex Wood #57 during their game against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018.  (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Dodger starting pitcher Alex Wood #57 during their game against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed #13 dives for home plate as Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal #9 waits for the throw during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018.  Ahmed was safe on the play for an inside the park home run in the first inning.  (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    The Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed #13 dives for home plate as Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal #9 waits for the throw during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018. Ahmed was safe on the play for an inside the park home run in the first inning. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed #13 dives for home plate as Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal #9 waits for the throw during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018.  Ahmed was safe on the play for an inside the park home run in the first inning.  (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    The Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed #13 dives for home plate as Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal #9 waits for the throw during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018. Ahmed was safe on the play for an inside the park home run in the first inning. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed, center, looks up for the call from umpire David Rackley after diving past Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal on an inside-the-park home run during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Arizona Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed, center, looks up for the call from umpire David Rackley after diving past Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal on an inside-the-park home run during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed waits for the call after diving in ahead of the tag for an inside-the-park home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Arizona Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed waits for the call after diving in ahead of the tag for an inside-the-park home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • The Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed #13 is congratulated in the dugout after hitting an inside the park home run against the Dodgers during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018.  (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    The Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed #13 is congratulated in the dugout after hitting an inside the park home run against the Dodgers during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood #57 during their game against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018.  (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood #57 during their game against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Chris Taylor scores on a wild pitch as Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin moves in to cover a possible play at the plate during the fourth inning of Wednesday’s game at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    The Dodgers’ Chris Taylor scores on a wild pitch as Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin moves in to cover a possible play at the plate during the fourth inning of Wednesday’s game at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor, right, is hit by a pitch with the bases loaded as Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Alex Avila watches during the sixth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor, right, is hit by a pitch with the bases loaded as Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Alex Avila watches during the sixth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • The Dodgers’ Chris Taylor #3 is hit by a pitch during their game against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018.  The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 6-3. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    The Dodgers’ Chris Taylor #3 is hit by a pitch during their game against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018. The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 6-3. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Patrick Corbin wipes his face after the end of the fourth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Patrick Corbin wipes his face after the end of the fourth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor watches his single as Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Patrick Corbin ducks out of the way during the fourth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor watches his single as Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Patrick Corbin ducks out of the way during the fourth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Dodgers Enrique Hernandez #14 and Yasiel Puig #66 collide as Puig throws to second base on a Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt #44 in the seventh inning during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018.  (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Dodgers Enrique Hernandez #14 and Yasiel Puig #66 collide as Puig throws to second base on a Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt #44 in the seventh inning during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Diamondbacks’ Ketel Marte #4 attempts to catch a Dodgers’ Austin Barnes #15 foul ball during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018.  The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 6-3. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    The Diamondbacks’ Ketel Marte #4 attempts to catch a Dodgers’ Austin Barnes #15 foul ball during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018. The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 6-3. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Yasmani Grandal #9 slides in to home to score in the sixth inning during their game against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018.  The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 6-3. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    The Dodgers’ Yasmani Grandal #9 slides in to home to score in the sixth inning during their game against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018. The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 6-3. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Chase Utley #26 beats the throw to Diamondbacks third baseman Deven Marrero #10 during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018.  The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 6-3. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    The Dodgers’ Chase Utley #26 beats the throw to Diamondbacks third baseman Deven Marrero #10 during their game at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018. The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 6-3. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen #74 points to the sky after the final out during their game against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018.  The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 6-3. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen #74 points to the sky after the final out during their game against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium Wednesday May 9, 2018. The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 6-3. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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LOS ANGELES — Seven men batted with the bases loaded for the Dodgers on Wednesday. None of them got a hit. Their outfielders committed two errors, their pitchers issued five walks, and their center fielder misplayed a fly ball into an inside-the-park home run two batters into the game.

The Dodgers won anyway.

Two wild pitches, a hit batter, and a sacrifice fly led to four runs before Chase Utley’s two-run double put the finishing touch on the Dodgers’ 6-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The division rivals will not play each other again until August – an act of scheduling mercy for the Dodgers. Arizona (24-12) is 8-4 in head-to-head games and still enjoys an eight-game cushion over the fourth-place Dodgers (16-20) in the National League West.

The Dodgers needed their full bag of tricks before an announced crowd of 45,600 at Dodger Stadium.

Chris Taylor reached base four times, using two walks, a single and a hit by pitch. Yasiel Puig went 3 for 4 in his return from the disabled list. Dodgers starter Alex Wood eluded trouble for five innings, allowing only one run before the bullpen navigated a reckless game to safety.

The Dodgers’ unconventional three-run rally in the sixth inning broke open a 1-1 game.

Yasmani Grandal led off with a single against Fernando Salas (3-3). Austin Barnes singled with one out and Puig followed with another single to load the bases. Left-hander Andrew Chafin replaced the right-handed Salas, and he walked pinch-hitter Max Muncy to force in the go-ahead run.

Silvino Bracho was the next man out of the Arizona bullpen. He promptly plunked Taylor to force in the Dodgers’ third run. Bracho then tossed a wild pitch to force in Puig with the fourth run – all the insurance the Dodgers would need.

The win ended the Dodgers’ three-game losing streak. They will welcome the Cincinnati Reds for a four-game series starting Thursday.

Wood has been sneaky consistent in his fourth full season as a Dodger. The left-hander has not dominated as he did in 2017, when he went 16-3 with a 2.72 earned-run average and made the All-Star roster. But of his eight starts, six have seen Wood face 20 to 25 batters over five to six innings. What he’s lacked in efficiency, Wood has atoned for with consistency.

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If a series of clean, crisp innings were Wood’s goal Wednesday, his defense did not help.

In the first inning, Nick Ahmed hit fly a ball to the top of the center-field wall 398 feet from home plate. Kiké Hernandez, getting his second start of the season in center, faced a tough task trying to catch the ball. He timed his jump correctly but his glove flopped clumsily against the blue padding and came up empty. The ball caromed back toward the infield. Puig, the Dodgers’ right fielder, gamely fired a fastball to home plate, but it was too late. Ahmed was credited with an inside-the-park home run and the Dodgers trailed 1-0.

In the second inning, a bouncing base hit to left field skipped out of Matt Kemp’s glove, sending a runner to third base with nobody out. It was the first error by Kemp and only the second by a Dodgers outfielder this season. But Wood came back to strike out Alex Avila and Patrick Corbin before Chris Owings lined out to end the inning.

Wood got out of a third-inning jam by getting Ketel Marte to ground into a double play. The left-hander didn’t retire the side in order until the fifth. By then he was up to 94 pitches.

Wood’s fastball command betrayed him enough to induce three walks. It wasn’t his best start, but he handed the game to the bullpen having allowed just one run for the second time in as many starts.

Corbin could say the same; he and Wood faced off in Arizona six days earlier and each left with a no-decision in the Dodgers’ 5-2 win. This time Corbin allowed three hits and walked four batters, a season-high, and struck out seven.

The only run he allowed came in the fourth inning. Taylor led off with a single and stole second base. With one out, Kemp and Grandal drew back-to-back walks, loading the bases for Cody Bellinger.

Bellinger worked the count full, only to swing and miss at an 89-mph fastball down the middle of the plate. Corbin also struck out the next batter, Austin Barnes, but not before a wild pitch allowed Taylor to trot home from third.

More to come on this story.

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Whicker: Strikeout power lifts Dodgers again

LOS ANGELES — This was back in 1980, when Chrysler and Plymouth were putting out ground-breaking economy vehicles, or were trying to.

Willie Wilson of the Kansas City Royals hit .154 with 12 strikeouts, and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News said that if Mike Schmidt deserved the luxury car for World Series MVP, Wilson deserved the “K” car, one of those Reliants and Arises that were quickly swept off to the junkyards.

But Wilson at least needed six games to pile up those 12 strikeouts. He would be known as a contact hitter today.

The Dodgers stopped Arizona, 1-0, Wednesday night to take a 4½-game lead in the NL West. There was potential change in every pitch. It would have felt like Koufax vs. Marichal, except it was Wood and Baez and Jansen vs. Godley and Chafin and De La Rosa and Bradley. Modern ball, and nothing typified it more than the 14 times the Diamondbacks struck out.

The Dodgers ended each of the final six innings with strikeouts. Alex Wood, now 10-0, blew away Brandon Drury with men on second and third base in the fourth. He did the same thing to Jake Lamb, on a 94 mph sinking fastball with Diamondbacks sitting hopefully on first and second.

Kenley Jansen dealt the last morsel of K rations in the ninth when he set down Chris Herrmann, with Drury on first.

“It’s offense against defense,” Jansen said. He’s referring to the Dodger pitchers as the offense.

“We’re pitching aggressively,” he said. “ We’re not going to walk you, we’re going to put the pressure on.

“You give them credit for being good hitters but people have to give us a little credit, too. We’re making pitches. It’s not just power against power, because you have to go to your location. Last night I didn’t (on a three-run home run by Daniel Descalso) and I paid for it. You’re still trying to hit some spots, but you’re mainly going after them.”

Arizona has struck out 27 times in these two games. The Diamondbacks rank second in the NL in slugging percentage, with two 60-RBI men in Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt. Arizona ranks third in runs scored. But the once-rudimentary task of putting bat on ball with men on base has given way to the maximalist approach, and when it doesn’t work, it’s ugly. There are productive outs. There are no productive strikeouts.

Wood has a 1.67 ERA and a .174 batting average-against, in case you think the Cy Young Award discussion was a binary choice between Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer. When Wood got those rally-snuffing strikeouts, he pumped his fist and exulted.

“They’re an incredible ballclub,” Wood said. “Those are the innings where they’re capable of breaking open a ballgame. When you’re able to get out of those situations, your emotion kind of takes over a little bit.

“I’ve been able to use different pitches to get out of those situations, but that all goes back to the preparation we do with Honey (pitching coach Rick Honeycutt) and Yas (catcher Yasmani Grandal) before I even go out there. I’ve already got a good idea of how to attack them, so at that point all you’re worried about is making a pitch.”

Attack is the keyword. The Dodgers pitchers lead the NL in strikeouts and are also the best at avoiding walks, an equation that is difficult to beat. They also have a bullpen WHIP (walks and hits, per innings pitched) of 1.1. Baez walked pinch-hitter A.J. Pollock on four pitches to lead off the eighth, and Manager Dave Roberts hustled out to reset him. Then Baez blew away Gregor Blanco, got a forceout, and struck out Goldschmidt at 99 mph.

But the Diamondbacks, obviously, pitched almost as well. They began with rookie Zack Godley, a right-hander from the University of Tennessee who stops the running game cold and impressed Roberts with his breaking ball command.

Godley gave up a run on Grandal’s double in the second inning but was gathering steam as the game progressed. He struck out Justin Turner with one out and Chase Utley on second, in the sixth inning.

No matter. Manager Torey Lovullo headed moundward, and Godley turned his back and stood well behind the mound. When Lovullo asked for the ball, Godley provided it and then did a near-sprint into the dugout.

The move worked, but the reluctance of managers to let their starting pitchers handle deep water is reaching parody. If they’re really incapable of cruising through a lineup three times, why all the pregame preparation?

The Dodgers hook their starters quickly, too. But somehow they’re managing this without dissolving their key relief pitchers. Even though they have won 57 games, they have only used Jansen 34 times. You attribute that to a lot of blowout wins in which his save isn’t necessary. This is why run-differential is important.

“They know we’re not walking guys, we’re going to keep attacking the zone,” Jansen said. “Make them chase when we need to. That is what we did tonight.”

The Diamondbacks might still be chasing, but they’re in the wrong car.

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Whicker: Alex Wood opens the gate, Dodgers run free again

LOS ANGELES — The pitchers have been fine these days. It’s not like they have to be. They are pretty much a trigger mechanism. Get everything started, sit back and let the Dodgers’ hitters make it rain.

Alex Wood was the starter Friday night against Colorado, which was leading the Dodgers by 2½ games on June 9. He couldn’t pull the trigger immediately. Charlie Blackmon took him through an eight-pitch at-bat and dumped a single into center-field, and Wood wasn’t getting much leeway from home umpire Fieldin Culbreth. After that, defending NL batting champ David LeMahieu walked on four pitches.

That’s two on, nobody out, with Nolan Arenado walking up. Arenado has led the league in home runs and RBI in each of the past two seasons.

“You don’t have much time to think about it,” Wood said. “You’ve got to start executing pitches.”

Arenado dribbled a changeup to first baseman Cody Bellinger, and the wind shifted. Wood struck out Mark Reynolds and Ian Desmond. A chance had fluttered past the Rockies, because the Dodgers scored four runs in their first two innings. They won, 6-1, as Wood pitched six innings, gave up no hits in his last four, and improved to 8-0 with a 1.86 ERA.

The Dodgers now lead Colorado and Arizona by 2½ games, with Clayton Kershaw on the mound tonight.

“Charlie is so locked in right now, the way he battles,” Wood said of Blackmon, a leadoff man who has driven in 56 runs and has a .607 slugging percentage. “You can’t really get him to swing at something that’s not a strike. That could have gone south real fast, with a lineup like that. They can change the game with one swing.”

Except that’s what the Dodgers do. And then they swing again. They have scored at least six runs in their past six games, all victories, and they have done it in nine of their past 11. They throttled it down to just one home run Friday, that by Yasiel Puig, who hustled around the bases and avoided retribution.

“I was in Atlanta in 2013 and we won the division, we had some pretty good rolls,” Wood said. “But I’ve never been involved in anything like this, where all the cylinders are clicking on pitching, defense and offense, especially offense. We’re getting it from somebody different each night, but it’s not just that. It’s something special each night. I’m sure glad I’m not on the other side.”

The Dodgers have become experts at the tack-on runs that spread discouragement in the other dugout,, and they were 4 for 12 with men in scoring position Friday. In June their slugging percentage is .476. Backup catcher Austin Barnes cranked out a triple, and Cody Bellinger drilled a double that reached the fence in left-center field. That happened right after Justin Turner’s single scored Corey Seager, who suffered what the Dodgers called a “hamstring cramp” and thereupon left the game.

Injuries have bounced off this club all year, but that might not happen forever. Seager would be particularly had to replace. The Dodgers already learned, or disclosed, that Julio Urias has a shoulder problem that has ended his 2017. He has a lot of tomorrows, but L.A. obviously was hoping to nurse him along so he could ambush people in the postseason.

Sure, there’s 88 games to go, but there isn’t a Dodger fan alive who isn’t looking deep into October and wondering who’s going to face Washington’s Stephen Strasburg in Game 2 of whatever series they play. We haven’t even gotten to the point of the season at which Clayton Kershaw went down last year, as the Dodgers trailed San Francisco by 8½ games, and everything looked like formality.

A lot can happen, in other words. But Wood is working on an award-winning season, one in which he has been the Dodgers’ top starter. The longer he is, the less the Dodgers will worry about the trading deadline.

Wood has 79 strikeouts and 17 walks and has given up two home runs in 87-2/3 innings. Kershaw has been taken deep a career-high 17 times.

“He’s just been really aggressive,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “He just fills up the strike zone. Those guys (Rockies) weren’t getting good swings. He normally pitches at the bottom of the zone, but tonight he was able to get some outs pitching up in the strike zone. When he’s able to change eye levels like that, he’s tough. He just has such feel and command when he’s on the mound.”

It’s more fun in the dugout, where Wood has a front-row seat at the special.

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