Everybody entered Game 3 well aware of its importance, and despite having a significant edge on paper, they don’t play games on paper, so the Dodgers dropped a 1-0 game to the Giants on an Evan Longoria solo homer to push the Dodgers to the brink in the NLDS.
Max Scherzer took the mound for the Dodgers looking to put the last three unusual outings behind him after reportedly having discovered some mechanical adjustments. The TBS announcers certainly seemed focused on it, but early on he was having much of the same trouble, going to full counts on three batters in the 1st and throwing 25 pitches. He also allowed a walk and a single, but he did manage to get through it thanks to three strikeouts. Scherzer was obviously never going to stop battling.
Scherzer rebounded in the 2nd with a 1-2-3 frame that included two strikeouts, and then got three more strikeouts while retiring six of the next seven batters on just 19 pitches, with only a Kris Bryant single breaking up his run out of outs. However, to start the 5th, Evan Longoria was sitting on an 0-2 elevated fastball and elevated it out of the park for a 1-0 lead.
Still, Scherzer clearly did find whatever he was looking for because he proceeded to retire the next nine in a row to close his game, allowing just the single run over seven innings while getting swings and misses galore: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 10 K, 110 Pitches.
Hard to complain.
Of course, old friend Alex Wood was the opposition. He won the World Series with the Dodgers just last October, throwing pivotal innings in the clinching Game 6 win, and tonight he unfortunately had it working again.
After retiring the first six batters of the game, Albert Pujols led the 3rd off with a bit of Devil Magic on a bloop single down the line in right. After a fly out, Max Scherzer actually got a sac bunt down for once to move him up a base. Of course, Pujols still wasn’t in scoring position there, but a wild pitch with Mookie Betts up advanced him to third. Despite that, Mookie was unable to take advantage and popped out to end the first chance for the Dodgers.
The 4th spelled further frustration, as a one-out Corey Seager walk on a gift of a check swing denial was eventually followed with a Chris Taylor walk as well, but AJ Pollock couldn’t take advantage and grounded out. In the 5th, Pujols got his second single of the night, this time not a bloop, but Wood followed by getting a fly out and strikeout to end his outing.
Gabe Kapler went to Tyler Rogers, who got a ground out to end the inning. He continued in the 6th, getting the first two outs, then giving up an oppo single to Justin Turner before Chris Taylor appeared to hit a gapper that ended up caught. A 107 mph lineout with a .920 xBA.
The unfortunate circumstances continued in the 7th as Rogers continued on, with Donovan Solano robbing AJ Pollock of a single to start. But Steven Souza Jr. came up with a surprise hit and Will Smith followed with a single of his own and a bit of a rally was on.
Camilo Doval was tasked with getting the last six outs for the Giants and he mostly slammed the door on the Dodgers. Well, other than the fact that the ball Gavin Lux hit probably should’ve tied it late if it wasn’t for once in a lifetime gusts of wind blowing in from left.
Fly balls comparable to that Gavin Lux fly out in #Dodgers stadium this season.— Lance Brozdowski (@LanceBroz) October 12, 2021
I went with 105-107 mph EV and 21-23 LA. Lux hit his 106.9 mph at 22° LA.
Looks like 21 balls in play, 19 hits and 10 HRs.
Jeeze. 😬 pic.twitter.com/dy5PErEfnD
“Which offense will show up tomorrow?”
A question throughout the season, and especially relevant tomorrow night.
Tomorrow’s Game 4 is on TBS at 3:07 PM HT/6:07 PM PT/9:07 PM ET with a TBD for the Dodgers facing Anthony DeSclafani (3.17 ERA/3.61 FIP/3.97 DRA).