Atlanta Braves pitcher Alex Wood (40) pitches in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. (USA TODAY Sports: Benny Sieu)
ATLANTA — Because of Alex Wood’s quirky delivery, the Atlanta Braves thought he might be most effective in short doses coming out of the bullpen.
The chances of the left-hander ever getting that role, though, seem slim to none now.
Wood has been just too good as a starter, no matter what the Braves’ eventual needs are.
The 23-year-old former University of Georgia standout takes a 1.67 ERA into his home start on Tuesday night against the Miami Marlins and has gone at least seven innings in three of his four outings.
“I’m not surprised with Woody,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “I’d seen what he was capable of as a starter.”
Wood should have a better record than 2-2. He was a hard-luck 1-0 loser at Philadelphia last Thursday, getting an eight-inning complete game.
The second-round draft choice in 2012 has allowed as many as two runs in just one of his starts and has 24 strikeouts compared with seven walks.
Wood was called up to the majors last May 30 after less than a full year in the minors and went 3-3 with a 3.13 ERA. He made 11 starts among his 31 appearances and had 77 strikeouts in 77 2/3 innings.
Wood’s experience does show at the plate, though. He failed to get down a sacrifice bunt in the top of the eighth inning at Philadelphia, and that was as much a topic afterward as the curveball he hung to Ben Revere for the decisive hit.
“Put aside that eighth, in which he could have done a better job both offensively and pitching, he did a terrific job,” Gonzalez said.
MLB Team Report - Atlanta Braves - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Won one
—C Evan Gattis had the first walk-off homer of his two-year career, belting a two-run shot in the 10th inning on Monday to give the Braves a 4-2 victory over Miami. It was Gattis’ fifth homer of the season. He also had a single and walk in the game. The homer atoned for a catcher’s interference call that led to Miami tying the score in the ninth inning on an unearned run.
—RHP Julio Teheran allowed just a second-inning homer to Marlins first baseman Garrett Jones in seven innings but got a no-decision against Miami on Monday night. Teheran lowered his ERA to 1.80 while giving up five hits, walking two and striking out eight. Teheran, who has never lost to the Marlins, retired 14 of the last 15 batters he faced, including the final nine.
—LHP Alex Wood, who faced Miami in the middle game of a three-game home series on Tuesday night, worked all eight innings in a 1-0 hard-luck loss at Philadelphia last Thursday. He has gone at least seven innings in three of his four games and has 1.67 ERA to go with his 2-2 record. Wood pitched four times, including two starts, against the Marlins last year as a rookie and was 0-1 with a 5.56 ERA.
—LHP Mike Minor had a side session on Tuesday that could determine whether he starts Saturday against Cincinnati or makes one more rehab outing in the minors. “Nothing is written in stone,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We’ll see how he feels and have a two-way discussion.” Minor, who did not pitch in spring training because of shoulder tendinitis, went six innings for Triple-A Gwinnett on Saturday and is 2-1 with a 3.54 ERA in four rehab games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It definitely felt good to get the first one in the big leagues. I was just trying to be as loose as I could be. I was just trying to scratch out a win. I thought I got it, but I topped it a little bit. So I didn’t know.” — Braves C Evan Gattis, after his first walk-off hit in the major leagues on Monday night.