At Wood they trust: Giants turn to former Dodgers in NLDS Game 3

Los Angeles — Alex Wood returns home to start Game 3 of the NL Division Series at Dodger Stadium. For the Giants.

The former Dodgers pitcher played against Los Angeles ace Max Scherzer on Monday night, tying the best five series one game at a time.

Wood was a key member of the Dodgers bullpen in last year’s World Series Championships after returning to the team on a one-year contract.

“I don’t think we can win the World Series without him last year,” Dodgers coach Dave Roberts said on Sunday.

Wood became a free agent after the season and was eager to be a starter again. In January, he signed with his rival Giants.

Wood was 10-4, 3.83 ERA at the start of the 26th regular season. On three outings to his previous team, the left-handed had a 1-0 loss pair and no decision was made. He threw 6 innings on each of the first two outings, allowing 2 and 4 runs. On his third outing, he was tagged with three runs.

Being so familiar between the Dodgers and Wood, Roberts said any edge would come down that day.

“It will be fun to see what happens,” the manager said. “Is he going to fastball to move on, or is he going to throw a curve ball to steal a strike? With an even count, is he going to fastball to fool us, or he Is he going with his strength, a change-up? Eventually, it comes down to execution. “

Scherzer will be completely rested for his 24th career start after the season after pitching in the NL Wild Card game with St. Louis last week. Winning the Cy Young Award three times wasn’t very sharp, but he kept the Cardinals down to one run in 4 1/3 innings.

Right-handed players dominated the first nine games against the Dodgers after coming from Washington on the July trading deadline, but were less effective in each of the last three games. He gave up five earned runs at the start of each of the last two regular seasons and struggled with commands in the wild card game.

“The last three aren’t working as expected,” Roberts said. “I expect him to throw the ball very well tomorrow night.”

After the wild card game, the Dodgers pitching and player performance staff confirmed Scherzer’s delivery and detected something was wrong.

“It just cleans up my mechanic a bit,” Scherzer said. “I found something in the lower half that I could grab and thought I threw a bullpen with it, so I felt pretty good.”

Scherzer doesn’t play against the Giants as much as his teammates, but he understands the deep-seated disgust among his team’s fans.

“Our Dodgers fan base definitely wants us to beat the Giants,” he said. “It’s personal to them, so it’s personal to us.”

Wood will start his 21st postseason. He has a 3.55 career playoff ERA.

The Giants need to win one of the following two games in LA and return the series to San Francisco for the fifth decisive game. They won 4-0 in Game 1, and the Dodgers Bat came back to life in Game 2 and won 9-2.

Wood was a natural choice and there were so many. He grew up for the Giants after the team lost 12-1.

Wood also has the advantage of experience and comfort at Dodger Stadium. He spent four seasons with the Dodgers and grew up as a rotation starter after being drafted by the Atlanta Braves.

He was an All-Star in 2017, starting the season with a bullpen and moving to rotation after Rich Hill was injured. Wood became the first Dodgers pitcher to start Season 10-0 since Don Newcombe in 1955. He started one game in both the NL Championship Series and the World Series that year, then came back and threw a two-inning shutout relief in Game 7. The Dodgers lost to the Houston Astros, and a scandal of their misconduct was later revealed.

Note: 1B Albert Pujols makes his first start after the Dodgers season in Game 3. … Chris Taylor starts in the center field and gives the Dodgers another right-handed bat against Wood. … Roberts did not appoint a starter for Game 4 on Tuesday. … The Dodgers did optional training on Sundays, playing catch and working in the weight room.

At Wood they trust: Giants turn to former Dodgers in NLDS Game 3

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