2017-07-13 / Sports

BASEBALL’S BEST

Former Dawg chosen for the All-Star game
By LAMAR GARRARD
baseball historian

“I’m really, really excited. It’s the coolest thing that has happened in my life, my career ... I am very humbled by it. – Alex Wood, L.A. Dodger pitcher on being chosen for the All-Star game.

University of Georgia baseball fans can be proud of one of their own making the 2017 National League All-Star team. Alex Wood, former Atlanta Brave standout left-hander, was chosen at the last minute to replace fellow teammate Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw was to pitch in last Sunday’s game which would have made him unable to pitch in the star-studded event. As you read this article the game would have already been played last Tuesday, July 11, at the Marlins’ stadium in Miami.

Going into the 88th time this mid-summer classic has been played, Wood, the North Carolina native, has been pitching at a blistering pace. He has a perfect record of 10 wins against no losses as the teams take the half season break. In 15 games, 13 of which he has started, Alex has struck out 97 batters and has an ERA of 1.67.

The last time a pitcher was on the All-Star team with a perfect record at the time of the game was in 1959. Pirates pitcher Roy Face, a sixtime All-Star, was also on Pittsburgh’s 1960 World Championship team that defeated the Yankees. Face won 18 games in ’59 and only had one loss.

Wood has been destined for success since he broke into professional baseball. It was just a few short years ago in 2012 that he chalked up a fine 7-3 record with 100 strikeouts in 15 games for the Diamond Dogs. Drafted by the Braves, he performed with several of their farm clubs including Rome, Mississippi, and Gwinnett before making it to the parent club in 2013. His three-year tenure at Turner Field saw Alex pitch .500 baseball winning 26 and losing 26. Not bad as we know how the Braves have struggled to win in the last few seasons.

Wood was traded to the Dodgers in 2015 in a 12-player deal that also involved the Marlins. I can assure you that of the 12 names on that list, most have found oblivion, while Alex is becoming a bonafide star pitcher for the Dodgers.

Wood is one of six Dodgers on the squad and joins Ender Inciarte, the only Atlanta Braves player to make the trip to South Florida. Ender is having a storybook season for America’s Team at Sun Trust Park.

The Houston Astros are sending six men to the game including one of the most exciting and finest players in the game, Jose Altuve. Making his fifth All-Star appearance, the strong hitting and fine fielding second baseman is hitting .313. He provides a lot of offensive punch and is the shortest player in the majors at 5 foot 6 inches tall.

There is also a total of six former SEC players chosen for the contest. And we thought we played only football in the SEC.

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