Thursday, September 17, 2015

Alex Wood Shackles Rockies as Dodgers Eye NL West Crown; Prince Fielder, Rangers Bomb Houston Again

Players of the Day for Wednesday, September 16, 2013

American League

Fielder: On fire!
Timing is important in all aspects of life, but the Texas Rangers may want to bottle whatever it is that has gotten the team - and especially Prince Fielder - red-hot at the right time of the season.

The Rangers took their third straight from Houston with a rollicking, 14-3, victory, extending their lead in the AL West to 1 1/2 over the former first place Astros.

Finding perfect timing at the plate was Prince Fielder, who homered twice and drove in five runs for the Rangers. Fielder got things started right away, singling home the Rangers' first run in the bottom of the first, then scoring on Mike Napoli's three-run homer as the Rangers put up a six-spot on Houston starter, Dallas Keuchel.

The rout was on.

Fielder belted a solo shot in the third inning and unloaded a three-run homer in the sixth, making the score at the end of the frame, 12-1.

With his 3-for-5 effort in Wednesday's rout, Fielder has absolutely shot the Astros down from the sky. In the three games - all Ranger wins - he's 8-for-13 (.615), with three homers, eight RBI and eight runs. Houston pitchers would have been better off just walking him whenever he made it to the plate, but it's too late for that.

The series concludes with the Rangers looking for the four-game sweep Thursday at 8:05 pm EDT.

National League

Wood: Another LA ace?
Heading toward the playoffs, if there was anything the Dodgers didn't need to add to their roster it was another dominant starting pitcher. They already have Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, who've been treating opposing hitters like trifling playthings, so along comes Alex Wood, shutting out the Rockies for eight innings on one hit Wednesday night in a 2-0 Dodger win.

Just what the Cardinals, Pirates, Mets and Cubs wanted to see, another shutout (almost) by another Dodger hurler.

Wood (11-10) allowed a two-out, second-inning single to Kyle Parker, and then proceeded to set down the next 19 Colorado batters in order. No walks, one hit, five strikeouts, no runs, game over. Greinke and Kershaw may actually have been jealous.

The remaining playoff contenders should be paying close attention, because they're probably going to have to match up with the Dodger pitching staff at some point, and that's not going to look very promising.

Wood was acquired from Atlanta prior to the July 31 trade deadline. He is 4-4 for the Dodgers as a starter but has recently shown signs of coming around. On September 5th, he shut out San Diego for seven innings on three hits. He was shelled in Arizona his next start, but Wednesday's outing suggests that he's put that game behind him.

Taking two of three from the Rockies, the Dodgers maintain their 7 1/2 game lead over the Giants in the West. With 17 games to play, their magic number to clinch the division is 10.

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