Wood keeps perspective after rusty return

Lefty works 6 innings off DL, unable to halt Dodgers' slide

Wood keeps perspective after rusty return

SAN DIEGO -- The losses have been piling up for the Dodgers, and Alex Wood couldn't stop them on Sunday, but he did put them in perspective.

"I think we're such a statistical-based team, I think it's a statistical impossibility to kind of go an entire season without getting punched in the face at any point, you know what I mean?" Wood said, after a 6-4 loss gave the Dodgers another three-game losing streak, eight losses in the past nine games and sliced the division lead to 13 1/2 games (it was 21 games on Aug. 25).

"We've been so good for so long that we have a rough patch for a week and it's like, 'Oh my God, what's going on?'" he said. "Instead of being one of the best teams in the world, this happens. We just have to keep our heads down and keep playing the baseball we're supposed to, and we'll come out of it and we'll be fine."

Wood (14-2) believes he'll be fine as well. He was activated for this start after a second stint on the disabled list with inflammation of the joint where the collarbone meets the sternum. He walked three of the first 11 batters he faced, allowed home runs in the fourth and fifth innings, talked his manager into letting him pitch the sixth to rest an overworked bullpen and struck out the last four batters he faced.

"I felt mechanically close, the best I felt in my last few," Wood said. "Obviously, I was a little bit rusty. I made two pitches I'd like back. Aside from that, I feel really good about my stuff. The ball was coming out a lot better. Little rusty not pitching in 10 days, but as good as you can feel after a loss. I just need to pitch at this point."

Manager Dave Roberts wrote off Wood's struggles to rust, saying "not everyone is going to be like [Clayton Kershaw]," who came off the disabled list Friday night to pitch six scoreless innings.

Where that leaves Wood isn't exactly clear. His postgame comments were more upbeat than Yu Darvish's after his loss on Saturday. But the short starts by Darvish, Brock Stewart, Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill left Roberts with a bullpen so weary he had to use callup Fabio Castillo for a second straight day, and the two runs Castillo allowed in relief of Wood were decisive.

"That's exactly what it is," Roberts said about using Castillo to protect the other relievers. "We're still trying to manage Ross Stripling and Pedro Baez, and a number of guys we wanted to stay away from today. We couldn't keep it within one."

In his first start since Aug. 21, Wood was charged with four runs on seven hits, his ERA up to 2.57. After allowing two home runs in his first 14 starts, Wood has served up 10 homers in his past seven starts.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.