Alex Wood explains Giants' secret sauce to dominant pitching staff

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Wood explains Giants' secret sauce to dominant rotation originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

There's the Giants' starting rotation, and then there's everybody else. 

With a handful of cheap contracts on one-year deals, the Giants have been carried by a dominant staff to the best record in the NL entering Wednesday. Anthony DeSclafani was the latest Giants starter to put together a great outing, allowing one run and striking out seven in a 4-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday. DeSclafani lowered his ERA to 2.03 on the year. 

Somehow, that's just the third-lowest among Giants starters. The lowest belongs to Alex Wood, who has been a revelation ever since coming to San Francisco after winning a World Series last season with the Giants' rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Wood has made it clear in the past a big reason why he finally signed with the Giants in late January was because of president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, who he had previous experience with in LA. On Wednesday morning, Wood gave all credit to the Giants' collective coaching staff for their red-hot start. 

"We got a lot of good arms, but I think the cool thing about it is guys have been around for a while but the staff [the Giants] put together with Andrew Bailey, J.P. Martinez, [Brian Bannister] from the pitching side -- just those guys helping everybody understand their pitch profile, how to use their stuff, how to prepare with the catchers for the game plan and then just going and executing," Wood said on KNBR's Murph & Mac show. 

"Guys have been doing a great job of those things and competing."

Wood dropped his ERA to 1.75 after giving up just one earned run Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He's a perfect 5-0 and has a minuscule 0.944 WHIP. 

What's wild is this is coming off his worst statistical season in his nine-year career. Wood appeared in nine regular-season games for the Dodgers last year, making just two starts. He had a 6.39 ERA and 1.816 WHIP. 

He wasn't much better the season before, either. The veteran lefty went just 1-3 with a 5.80 ERA over seven starts with the Reds in 2019 and had a 1.402 WHIP. 

But Wood didn't allow a single run in the World Series over four innings for the Dodgers, and has carried that into this season. He believes the Giants have the perfect combination of playing experience and understanding of biomechanics between their coaches, which has led to him being in the 96th percentile of chase rate this season, per Baseball Savant.

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"Once you get that thing rolling downhill, everybody wants to one-up or match what the guy did the night before," Wood said of competing with his fellow Giants pitchers. "It's been a lot of fun, man. We've got a good group, we bounce ideas off each other all the time.

"We talk about ways to get better, what we can do to get the most out of each start -- it's just been a blast. It really has."

Wood and the rest of the Giants have been perhaps the biggest surprise in baseball so far this season. Whether they're bound for first place or not at the end of the year, it's clear this team should be competitive the rest of the way.

They'll make sure of it, pushing each other every day. 

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