Dodgers clinch home-field advantage through NLCS with rout of Padres – Daily News

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers sent six players to the All-Star Game in Miami this July.

Only one of them has any reason to wonder about his role on the Dodgers’ postseason roster.

Left-hander Alex Wood has been passed over for playoff rotations before – in 2013 with the Atlanta Braves and 2015 with the Dodgers. Given an opportunity before Tuesday’s game to say it won’t happen again, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was non-committal.

He said that decision – along with many more involving the makeup of the Dodgers’ roster for the NL Division Series – has not been made yet, leaving open the possibility that Wood will once again be moved to a relief role perhaps with Hyun-Jin Ryu (ill-suited for the bullpen) slotted in as the fourth Dodgers starter in the NLDS.

In what might – or might not – be his final start of 2017, Wood went six innings as the Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres, 9-2, Tuesday night. With the win, the Dodgers have clinched home-field advantage through the NLCS and assured themselves of an NLDS against the wild-card game winner. The Washington Nationals and the NL Central champion will meet in the other NLDS.

Wood went 12-3 with a 1.67 ERA and an 0.94 WHIP while holding opposing batters to a .174 average and striking out 10.8 per nine innings to earn that All-Star selection. Since then, however, he has been a more pedestrian pitcher. In 12 starts since the break, he is 6-3 with a 3.89 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .262 batting average against and only 6.78 strikeouts per nine innings.

The most readily identifiable difference has been a loss in velocity. Only one of Wood’s 86 pitches Tuesday touched 92 mph and he struck out just one in his six innings.

But Wood did induce a lot of soft contact – except for the fifth inning.

Christian Villanueva lined a ball into the seats down the right-field line that was ruled a home run after a replay review determined a fan had interfered with the ball. Two batters later, Hunter Renfroe hit an undisputed laser over the wall in center field for a second home run and the only damage against Wood.

That gave the Padres a brief lead. The Dodgers reclaimed it in the bottom of the fifth when Yasmani Grandal hammered a three-run home run into those same seats down the right-field line.

After starting the month 1 for his first 34, Grandal is now 7 for his past 24 with two doubles and three home runs to reverse that September slide.

Corey Seager came into the game in his own slump. He had just 11 hits in 66 at-bats since going to the bench with an elbow injury in late August. He broke out with an RBI single and a three-run home run against the Padres.

A player with an even more uncertain postseason future than Wood, veteran first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, got his first start in two weeks and went 2 for 4 with a double and a solo, opposite-field home run. They were his first extra-base hits since Sept. 2 and his first home run since Aug. 24.

More to come on this story.

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