LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers are trying to play Survivor without lumber.
If you’d told them they would hold San Francisco to three hits and one run in Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Monday night, they would have thanked you profusely. They did exactly that and still lost, 1-0, and now trail the best-of-five series, 2-1.
The roster that once bulged with starting pitching options now has to count on Tony Gonsolin to lead a parade of relievers in a must-win Game 4. The Giants aren’t much better off, but they’ve prospered in every circumstance so far.
For those who never had the privilege of experiencing baseball in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, this was as close as Los Angeles can manage. The winds arrived in the late afternoon and took away anything that wasn’t pocketed. A sharp dip in the thermometer (i.e., it plummeted into the 60s) also took the throat out of the first Dodger Stadium crowd at an NLDS game since Howie Kendrick sent them home muttering two years ago.
But the Giants also provided some silencers. One looked familiar.
Alex Wood was a productive left-hander for the Dodgers from 2015 through 2018. In Game 4 of the 2017 World Series at Houston, Wood was masterful for 5-2/3 innings, giving the Astros one hit in Minute Maid Park (apparently the garbage cans were being polished that night).
Wood went to Cincinnati after 2018, made a short drop-in in Dodger Stadium to help them win the 2020 World Series, and surfaced in San Francisco, where he went 10-4 this season with a 3.83 ERA. The Giants got him to throw more sliders in addition to his old-school sinking fastball, the one that dovetailed nicely with San Francisco’s infield defense. But few could have anticipated how effectively Wood would pitch Monday night.
He was lifted after 4-2/3 innings and 83 pitches. Both L.A. hits were singles by Albert Pujols.
Max Scherzer was predictably brilliant after his shaky performance in last Wednesday’s wild-card start against the St. Louis Cardinals. He didn’t have great fastball command in the first inning, and he had to abort one pitch in mid-windup when a gust arrived. But Scherzer got that straightened out and started getting outs with his cutter and his slider.
He struck out five of the first 10 Giants he faced and yielded only two singles in his first four innings. Then he got an 0-and-2 count on 36-year-old Evan Longoria and thought he’d try to power his way past the St. John Bosco and Long Beach State alum.
It turned out to be a straight fastball that Longoria pounded into the left field pavilion, somehow getting it under the wind, for a 1-0 Giants’ lead.
Has it been a while? Longoria’s first playoff experience was 13 years ago with Tampa Bay, where he was a teammate of rookie David Price and helped the Rays to their first World Series. This was the 10th playoff home run in his career.
Scherzer held the Giants to three hits and one walk in seven innings.
When the Giants lifted Wood, it meant their bullpen had to get 13 outs in a ballpark where the home team had won 16 straight and grows vampire teeth as the evening gets later. The first soldier was Tyler Rogers, a submarining right-hander whose twin brother Taylor pitches for the Twins. Taylor attended Games 1-2 in San Francisco, and several fans wondered why he wasn’t in the home bullpen.
Rogers got five of those outs but gave up back-to-back singles to pinch-hitter Steven Souza and Will Smith in the seventh inning.
That was the cue for Jake McGee, the usual closer. McGee blew away pinch-hitter Austin Barnes, but Mookie Betts laced a line drive on the first pitch he saw. Crawford, getting some lift, reached up to stab it and render yet another high-velocity Dodgers’ drive meaningless.
The Giants’ next move was Camilo Doval, a rookie right-hander who had captured the club’s faith in a short period of time. He was at Triple-A Sacramento for much of 2021 and had an unsightly walk rate of seven per nine innings. But when he came back up, Doval struck out 37 in 27-1/3 innings and had three saves. In 15 September appearances, he gave up seven hits and no earned runs.
Accustomed to throwing 100 mph, Doval was more subtle in his 1-2-3 eighth inning, striking out none but getting Trea Turner and Justin Turner on sliders.
Doval made it 4-5-6 in the ninth inning, getting pinch-hitter Gavin Lux on a deep fly to center for the 27th out.
The Dodgers retreated to their campfire, hoping to find some tree limbs and driftwood in the morning.
(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)