Dodgers move to brink of playoff elimination after loss to Giants in NLDS Game 3

Dodgers batter Justin Turner walks off first after flying out to end the eighth inning.
Dodgers batter Justin Turner walks off first after flying out to end the eighth inning in a 1-0 loss to the Giants in Game 3 of the NLDS on Monday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Evan Longoria’s solo home run in the fifth inning proved the difference, lifting the San Francisco Giants to a 1-0 victory over the Dodgers on Monday.

Final: Giants beat Dodgers 1-0, putting Dodgers season on brink of elimination

Dodgers batter Gavin Lux reacts after he popped out to end the game.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

For the second time this series, the Dodgers were shut out by the Giants in a 1-0 loss in Game 3 of the National League Division Series.

Giants closer Camilo Doval finished off his six-out save with a perfect bottom of the ninth, getting the final out after a fly ball from pinch-hitter Gavin Lux died in the wind at the edge of the warning track.

The Giants now own a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series, putting the Dodgers season on the brink of elimination going into Tuesday’s Game 4 back at Dodger Stadium.

In MLB history, teams that win Game 3 in a best-of-five series tied at one game apiece have gone on to advance more than 72% of the time.

The Dodgers will have to overcome those odds to keep their season alive.


Mid 9th, 1-0 Giants: Kenley Jansen throws scoreless top of ninth; Dodgers down to their last chance at the plate

Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen pitches during the ninth inning of the Dodgers' 1-0 loss.
Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen pitches during the ninth inning of the Dodgers’ 1-0 loss to the Giants in Game 3 of the NLDS on Monday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Kenley Jansen came out of the bullpen and posted a zero, retiring the side in order with three strikeouts to keep the Dodgers deficit at one.

As they go to the bottom of the ninth, the Dodgers will have Chris Taylor, AJ Pollock and the pitcher’s spot due up against Camilo Doval.

Mid 9th: Giants lead 1-0


End 8th, 1-0 Giants: Giants closer Camilo Doval retires heart of Dodgers order in the eighth

San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Camilo Doval delivers during the eighth inning.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

With the heart of the Dodgers order due up in the eighth, the Giants called upon their hard-throwing 24-year-old rookie closer, Camilo Doval, to enter in the eighth inning.

Doval took care of business, getting Trea Turner to ground out and Corey Seager and Justin Turner to fly out, moving the Giants within three outs from taking a 2-1 series lead.

End 8th: Giants lead 1-0


Mid 8th, 1-0 Giants: Blake Treinen relieves Max Scherzer and throws scoreless inning

Dodgers relief pitcher Blake Treinen celebrates while leaving the field during the eighth inning.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

After being pinch-hit for in the seventh, Max Scherzer’s finished with a stellar statline: 7 innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts.

Reliever Blake Treinen made sure the Giants couldn’t extend their lead either, retiring the side in order in the eighth.

Mid 8th: Giants lead 1-0


End 7th, 1-0 Giants: Former Dodger Jake McGee, shortstop Brandon Crawford help Giants escape jam

In the seventh inning, the Giants had a former Dodgers pitcher on the mound for the second time tonight.

And like Alex Wood before him, Jake McGee delivered.

After Tyler Rogers gave up a couple one-out singles to pinch-hitting Steven Souza Jr. and Will Smith, the Giants summoned McGee from the bullpen, a right-hander who was part of the Dodgers’ World Series roster last year.

McGee stranded both inherited runners, striking out pinch-hitter Austin Barnes before getting major help defensively from shortstop Brandon Crawford, who made a stunning leaping catch on a Mookie Betts line drive to end the inning.

End 7th: Giants lead 1-0


Mid 7th, 1-0 Giants: Max Scherzer picks up 10th strikeout in potential final inning

Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer walks through the dugout during the sixth inning.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

One mistake to Evan Longoria aside, Max Scherzer has been pretty much flawless tonight.

The right-hander retired the side in order in the seventh — making it nine in a row he’s sat down since Longoria’s homer to lead off the fifth — and picked up his 10th strikeout in the process, his fifth career postseason game with double-digit strikeouts.

At 110 pitches, and with his spot in the batting order due up fourth next inning, it might be the end of his night. And despite how well he’s thrown, he’s still in danger of being charged with a loss if the Dodgers can’t come back.

Mid 7th: Giants lead 1-0


End 6th, 1-0 Giants: Strong defense keeps it a one-run game

Dodgers center fielder Chris Taylor runs into the outfield wall after catching a ball.
Dodgers center fielder Chris Taylor runs into the outfield wall after catching a ball hit by San Francisco’s Buster Posey during the sixth inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Both teams saw their outfielders make impressive plays in the sixth inning, keeping the score 1-0.

In the top half, Chris Taylor made three straight catches, including a couple on the run while tracking the ball through the wind.

In the bottom half, Taylor came to the plate with a runner aboard and two outs, but was denied a potential extra-base — and run-scoring — hit in the gap after Giants center fielder Steven Dugger ran down a line drive just in front of the wall.

End 6th: 1-0 Giants


End 5th, 1-0 Giants: Albert Pujols singles again, but Dodgers squander it as Alex Wood completes scoreless start

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Alex Wood, right, stands next to Evan Longoria.
San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Alex Wood, right, stands next to Evan Longoria as he waits to be taken out of the game during the fifth inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Let the managerial games begin.

Giants skipper Gabe Kapler made the first big pitching decision of the night, lifting Alex Wood from the game with two outs and a runner on first in the fifth.

It worked out, as submarine right-hander Tyler Rogers battled back from a 3-0 count against Mookie Betts to get an inning-ending grounder and keep the Giants ahead by one.

Wood’s final line from an impressive outing: 4 2/3 scoreless innings, two hits, two walks, four strikeouts.

Albert Pujols was responsible for both hits, lining a leadoff single in the fifth before being replaced by pinch-runner Billy McKinney.

Some historical context for Pujols’ 2-for-2 performance:

Yet, the score remains…

End 5th: Giants lead 1-0


Top 5th, 1-0 Giants: Evan Longoria opens scoring with solo home run

San Francisco's Evan Longoria rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

After four scoreless innings, the Giants finally broke through in the top of the fifth.

After falling behind Scherzer 0-2 in the frame’s opening at-bat, Evan Longoria connected on a fastball up in the zone, sending a fly ball into the wind that landed in the left-field pavilion for a solo home run.

After Longoria fouled off a slider and changeup to keep the at-bat alive, Scherzer seemingly tried to elevate a fastball but caught too much of the zone, yielding his fourth home run in his last four starts going back to the regular season.

He got through the rest of the inning unscathed, but it will now be up to the Dodgers lineup to try and respond.

Mid 5th: Giants lead 1-0


End 4th, no score: Dodgers threaten, but Alex Wood strands a couple runners

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Alex Wood reacts after getting out of the fourth inning.
San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Alex Wood reacts after getting out of the fourth inning in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Dodgers.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

So far, Alex Wood is going blow-for-blow with Max Scherzer, answering each of Scherzer’s scoreless innings with a zero of his own.

The fourth inning was Wood’s trickiest, after he walked a couple batters to put two aboard for AJ Pollock with two outs. But then Wood executed a couple sharp pitches on the inside corner, getting Pollock to foul one off and hit into an inning-ending grounder on the next.

Through his four scoreless innings, Wood has thrown 74 pitches — 73 of which have been either a sinker or a slider.

End 4th: No score


Mid 4th, no score: Max Scherzer, now with eight strikeouts, gets pitch count back under control

Dodgers fans cheer after San Francisco's Mike Yastrzemski strikes out during the second inning.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

After a 25-pitch first inning, Max Scherzer has gotten his pitch count back under control through four scoreless innings.

He needed 18 to retire the side in order in the second, just seven more for three quick outs in the third, then stranded a two-out single in a 12-pitch fourth by striking out LaMonte Wade Jr — his eighth of the night (his postseason career record is 13).

Scherzer is only at 62 pitches now, and has hit the zone with 27 of his past 37 throws.

Mid 4th: No score


Weather update: Wind dying down after earlier gusts

It’s still breezy at Dodger Stadium, but the massive gusts from the first inning have largely subsided since, with both pitchers now looking comfortable on the mound. None of the fly balls have led to tricky plays either.


End 3rd, no score: Albert Pujols gets Dodgers first hit, but Alex Wood keeps them off the board

After the first six Dodgers hitters were retired by Alex Wood, they finally got a baserunner in the bottom of the third against on a bloop single by Albert Pujols.

Pujols later got into scoring position, taking second on a sacrifice bunt by Max Scherzer — who retired the Giants in order on just seven pitches in the top half of the inning — and third on a wild pitch, but was left stranded after Mookie Betts hit a pop-up on the infield for the third out.

Wood is up to 53 pitches, as five different at-bats have last longer than five pitches. But the left-hander has thus far limited hard contact, surrendering only one hard hit ball (those with an exit velocity of 95 mph or more) out of the eight the Dodgers have put in play.

End 3rd: No score


Mid 2nd, no score: Max Scherzer up to five strikeouts with fastball-heavy approach

Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer reacts after pitching to San Francisco's Steven Duggar.
Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer reacts after pitching to San Francisco’s Steven Duggar during the second inning in Game 3 of the NLDS.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Max Scherzer is a fastball-first pitcher by nature. But so far tonight, he’s leaned even more heavily upon his heater.

Through two scoreless innings — he struck out two more batters in the second, already giving him five on the night — he’s thrown his four-seam fastball 26 of 43 times. He’s also tossed six cutters, which this season has been his least-used pitch.

It’s similar to what Walker Buehler did in Game 1, when he also threw more fastballs than usual.

All this, despite the fact that the Giants were one of the better teams in baseball at hitting fastballs during the regular season, ranking fourth in the majors in batting average (.280), first in slugging (.499) and third in home runs against four-seamers, two-seamers, sinkers, and cutters.

Mid 2nd: No score


End 1st, no score: Max Scherzer adjusts to windy conditions in scoreless first inning

Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer delivers during the first inning of Game 3 of the NLDS.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

It seemed to take Max Scherzer a few at-bats to adjust to the windy, dry, unusual conditions, but the Dodgers starter eventually got through the first inning unscathed.

Early in the inning, Scherzer looked uncomfortable. He struggled to locate pitches, licked his fingers repeatedly seemingly in search of a better grip. And during one aborted deliver, he even appeared to lose his balance.

But, after issuing a leadoff walk to Tommy La Stella and surrendering a single to Buster Posey on a hanging slider, Scherzer settled down, striking out Brandon Crawford and Kris Bryant to end the inning.

The biggest downside: Scherzer has already thrown 25 pitches, and only 15 were for strikes.

In the bottom of the inning, Alex Wood used his trademark combination of sinkers and sliders to retire the side in order — though Trea Turner barely missed a double down the right field line that went foul.

End 1st: No score


Pregame ceremonies set stage for NLDS Game 3

The first postseason meeting between the Dodgers and Giants to be held at Dodger Stadium is almost underway, and the significance of the stage was made clear as fans filed into their seats.

A pregame scoreboard video documented the long history between the two clubs. The singing of the national anthem that was accompanied by a super-sized American flag covering the outfield. And at the end of the song, a squadron of six planes out of Torrance did a fly-over above the stadium.

The first pitch was thrown out by a fan favorite too: Former Dodgers outfielder Andrew Either.


It’s a howler at the Stick, er, Dodger Stadium, Chapter 21

Have we mentioned the wind yet?

In the spirit of treating this brisk breeze with the wonder that Southern Californians greet lightning storms and a steady drizzle, we’ve ordered up more videos of the nasty little tricks that the wind has been playing over at the Ravine.


High winds expected at Dodger Stadium for Game 3

After a couple relatively mild nights of weather in San Francisco, the Dodgers and Giants will likely face more noticeable conditions tonight at Dodger Stadium.

While game-time temperature will be in the 60s, high winds are expected to be present throughout the night. Earlier Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service even placed Los Angeles under a wind advisory, projecting gusts of 15-30 mph.

Judging by the outfield flags during pregame warm-ups, the wind is blowing out toward right field — something that could benefit the Giants.

Not only do the Giants have five left-handed hitters in their lineup, excluding the pitcher’s spot, but they are facing a pitcher in Max Scherzer who has given up a lot of fly balls this year. His 32.4% fly ball rate is almost 10 points above league-average.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers have only one lefty in their lineup and are facing a left-hander in Alex Wood who has an above-average ground ball rate of 50.8% this season — though Giants manager Gabe Kapler acknowledged the Dodgers have done well at getting the ball in the air against Wood this year.


Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin plans to be in ‘attack’ mode against Giants in Game 4

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin (26) throws during the first inning.
Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin throws against the San Diego Padres on Sept. 26.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Tony Gonsolin had no idea on Monday afternoon if he will start Game 4 of the National League Division Series for the Dodgers on Tuesday night, replace an “opener” in the second or third inning or pitch middle innings against the San Francisco Giants.

What the 27-year-old right-hander does know is that no matter when he is summoned, he will take the mound with an aggressive mindset that he might have lacked at times last October, when he went 0-2 with an 8.68 ERA in 9 1/3 innings of four postseason games, including two World Series starts.

“Just attack guys, get ahead in the count” Gonsolin said of the lessons he learned in his first taste of playoff baseball in 2020. “We’re all playing under the same pressure. Just go out there and seize the moment.”

Neither Dodgers manager Dave Roberts nor Giants manager Gabe Kapler would commit to a Game 4 starter before Game 3. Kapler said right-hander Anthony DeSclafani is “a great option” to start, and Roberts said Gonsolin will factor into the game at some point.

“I don’t know if it will be as an opener, but I do know that he’s a part of the equation,” Roberts said. “When he’s deployed and for how long, I can’t answer that. It kind of depends on how he’s throwing the baseball.”

The Dodgers acquired Max Scherzer to be their playoff ace, but the veteran pitcher has struggled in recent starts. Will he turn things around vs. Giants?

Oct. 10, 2021

Roberts would not say if he had two different Game 4 pitching plans, one if the Dodgers win Game 3 to take a 2-1 edge in the best-of-five series and another if they lose Game 3 and are facing elimination in Game 4.

“It’s very [wide-ranging] because I just don’t know how guys are going to be used [in Game 3],” Roberts said Monday. “If you can tell me the usage of tonight’s bullpen I can give you a better answer, but once we get through tonight, there will be more clarity for everyone.”

Gonsolin’s playoff role grew in importance when left-hander Clayton Kershaw suffered a season-ending forearm injury on Oct. 1. It is a burden Gonsolin feels ready to shoulder after missing all of April, May and August because of shoulder inflammation.

“I’m feeling a lot better physically, definitely back to normal,” Gonsolin said. “I’m ready to build on that and get my first playoff appearance out of the way.”

Gonsolin, who is 4-1 with a 3.23 ERA in 15 games — 13 of them starts — faced the Giants once this year, giving up three earned runs and five hits, two of them homers, in 3 1/3 innings of a 7-2 loss on July 19. He made one more start that month before returning to the injured list because of a sore shoulder.

Gonsolin went 2-0 with a 4.05 ERA in five September games, giving up nine earned runs and 15 hits, striking out 23 and walking eight in 20 innings, pitching five innings in two of the starts and regaining the velocity of his 94-mph fastball.

“He’s behind it — it’s passed,” Roberts said of Gonsolin’s shoulder injury. “He threw a simulated game a few days ago. I think with Tony, it’s just kind of trying to continue to be consistent in the delivery.

“I think there have been times that he’s come out and really thrown the baseball extremely well and other times he’s trying to feel for his mix. I think physically, he’s fine. It’s just kind of honing in on the other parts, which lead to execution.”


Dodgers wish Joc Pederson and Kiké Hernández well ... for now

Atlanta's Joc Pederson celebrates his three-run homer against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Atlanta’s Joc Pederson celebrates his three-run homer against the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 3 of the NLDS on Monday.
(John Bazemore / Associated Press)

Joc Pederson, who earned the nickname “Joctober” with his playoff heroics for the Dodgers from 2015-2020, has hit two pinch-hit homers for the Atlanta Braves in the other National League Division Series, including a three-run shot in Monday’s 3-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Kiké Hernández, a valuable utility man for the Dodgers from 2015-2020 who also had his share of October highlights, is 10 for 23 (.435) with two homers, three doubles and six RBIs for the Boston Red Sox in the postseason. He hit a walk-off sacrifice fly in the ninth inning Monday to deliver a series-clinching win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Both left the Dodgers after last year’s World Series championship for the promise of more playing time, Hernández signing a two-year, $14-million deal with the Red Sox and Pederson signing a one-year, $7-million deal with the Chicago Cubs before getting traded to the Braves on July 15.

But manager Dave Roberts said he has no regrets that the Dodgers didn’t do more to retain Pederson and Hernández and that the pair is not contributing to this October’s playoff team.

“They’re great players, but there’s an economic component, too,” Roberts said. “They signed different deals. They helped us win a championship. We’re always rooting for those guys individually. They’re big postseason players, and they’ve made the Red Sox and the Braves much better, but it’s a different team.”


What to know about NLDS Game 3: Lineup changes, historical importance of a 2-1 series lead and more

Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer warms up in the bullpen before pitching against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer warms up in the bullpen before pitching against the St. Louis Cardinals in an NL wild-card game at Dodger Stadium on Oct. 6.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Players and coaches will tell you every game in the postseason means the same.

The numbers, however, signal that Game 3 in a tied best-of-five is especially important.

No one will be eliminated in tonight’s game between the Dodgers and Giants, who split the first two games of their first-ever postseason meeting in San Francisco last weekend.

However, one team will emerge with control of the series and history on its side.

Entering these playoffs, the winner of Game 3 in a best-of-five series tied at 1-1 has gone on to advance 72.2% of the time (39 out of 54), according to MLB Network.

It’s no guarantee — the Dodgers’ last postseason elimination in 2019 came after they went up 2-1 against the Washington Nationals in the NLDS — but it makes Monday’s clash nonetheless pivotal.

Ahead of first pitch, here’s what you need to know:

First pitch: 6:37 p.m. PDT.



Dodgers notes: Facing a left-handed starting pitcher for the first time in these playoff, the Dodgers made several changes to their starting lineup.

Left-handed hitter Cody Bellinger was dropped to the bench in favor right-handed hitting Albert Pujols, with the 41-year-old veteran starting at first base.

Since signing with the Dodgers following his release by the Angels in May, Pujols has been a productive bat against left-handed pitching, hitting .294 with 13 home runs against southpaws this season — a performance even manager Dave Roberts said he wasn’t fully expecting when Pujols arrived.

Elsewhere in the lineup, the Dodgers flipped Trea Turner and Corey Seager in the order, moving the right-handed Turner to the No. 2 spot and the left-handed Seager to third in hopes it could pressure the Giants’ bullpen decisions later in the game.

Catcher Will Smith was also moved down to the No. 8 spot, a move that could maintain lineup balance later in the game if left-handed pinch-hitters are substituted in for both Pujols and the pitcher’s spot.

“I just like the ability to move Will around,” Roberts said.

Max Scherzer will be on the mound, hoping to improve upon a decent yet laborious wild-card game performance against the St. Louis Cardinals.

One advantage Scherzer might have for Monday: He’s the lone Dodgers starter whom the Giants haven’t really seen this year.

Scherzer started only one game against the Giants this year, back in June with the Washington Nationals before he was traded to the Dodgers. And that day, Scherzer completed only one at-bat before being removed from the game with a groin injury.

“You know he’s going to try to attack you with the fastball, he’s going to try to attack you hard and go away late,” said LaMonte Wade Jr., the lone Giants hitter to face Scherzer in that game. “We’re looking forward to the challenge. It will be a big one, but I think it’s one that we’ll enjoy.”

One other notable stat as the series shifts back to Dodger Stadium for Game 3: The Dodgers haven’t lost a home game since Aug. 30, winning their final 15 games at Chavez Ravine as well as last week’s wild card game.

“When you have 50,000 fans, it matters,” Roberts said of playing at home. “Whether it’s in the box, whether it’s on the mound for our guy. Or, conversely, when one of their guys has to make a pitch and you start to feel that tension that the fans create. I didn’t know [we had won] 15 in a row, but let’s hope it’s 16 after tonight.”

Giants notes: The Giants made lineup changes of their own for Monday’s game, reverting back to a left-handed heavy lineup.

Something new: Kris Bryant, one of only three right-handers in the batting order, will start at first base for the first time since being acquired in a trade deadline deal from the Chicago Cubs.

Manager Gabe Kapler said while Bryant hasn’t played there much lately, his range at fielding ground balls factored into the decision — especially with a ground ball pitcher in Alex Wood on the mound.

“We expect that this is the best defensive configuration to convert those ground balls into outs,” Kapler said. “We’ve been talking about it for quite sometime, we’ve been talking to Kris about it for quite sometime, so nobody is caught off-guard or surprised in any way.”

Like the Dodgers, the Giants haven’t yet said who will start Game 4 (though the most likely matchup seems to be Tony Gonsolin against Anthony DeSclafani).

Kapler, however, said Games 1 and 2 starters Logan Webb and Kevin Gausman could be part of the team’s pitching plans over the next two games. DeSclafani could be an option out of the Giants’ bullpen tonight as well.

“Just try to keep everything on the table and consider all options,” Kapler said.


Giants Game 3 starter Alex Wood, a former Dodger, ‘feels he’s always the best option’

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Alex Wood delivers against the Colorado Rockies on Sept. 24.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

To both his former and current manager, Alex Wood possesses the best kind of self-confidence.

It’s rooted in composure, not cockiness. Reinforced by experience, and not ego. Sometimes, it’s belied by his good-natured disposition and soft smile off the mound. But especially at this time of year, amid the pressure of a postseason stage, it’s a burning inner belief that gets stoked all over again.

“He feels he’s always the best option,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said with a smile Sunday. “Which as a major league ballplayer, is a good thing.”

Read more >>>


Albert Pujols will start at first base in Game 3 vs. Giants

Los Angeles Dodgers' Albert Pujols warms up before Game 1 of a baseball National League Division.
Dodgers first baseman Albert Pujols warms up before Game 1 of the NLDS against the Giants.
(Jed Jacobsohn / Associated Press)

As expected, Albert Pujols will start at first base for the Dodgers in Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Giants on Monday.

Pujols’ insertion was made with the Dodgers opposing a left-handed starter (Alex Wood) for the first time in the postseason. Pujols, 41, batted .294 with 13 home runs and a .939 OPS in 146 plate appearances against lefties this season. He’ll become the oldest player to start a playoff game in Dodgers history.

A two-time World Series champion with the Cardinals, Pujols is in the postseason for the first since his Angels were swept in the 2014 ALDS. The future first-ballot Hall of Famer has a .321 batting average and 1.026 OPS in 78 career playoff games. He came off the bench as a pinch-hitter to lineout in the Dodgers’ Wild Card game win over the Cardinals last Wednesday.

“I know I’m excited to write his name in the lineup,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I think the fans certainly understand and have seen what he’s done for our ball club this year.”

Chris Taylor will start in center field for the Dodgers, pushing Cody Bellinger to the bench. Bellinger started each of the Dodgers’ first three postseason games.

Pujols will bat seventh between left fielder AJ Pollock and catcher Will Smith. In another change, Trea Turner and Corey Seager will flip spots in the batting order. Turner will bat second. Seager will bat third. Roberts the club made the change with the Giants’ bullpen in mind.

“I think the driver was knowing, obviously starting Alex tonight, the guys that they have in their ‘pen that I think they trust and making them make a decision at some point in time, third time through,” Roberts said.

Max Scherzer will make his second start of the postseason for Los Angeles. The right-hander gave up one run across 4 1/3 innings in the Wild Card Game. He’ll face the Giants in the postseason for the first time since starting Game 4 of the 2012 World Series for the Tigers.

Scherzer has acknowledged that his mechanics have been out of whack since pitching against the Rockies in Colorado on Sept. 23 three starts ago. On Monday, he said he believes he identified a problem in his lower half.

“Hitting is the hardest thing to do in sports,” Scherzer said. “I always say pitching is the most complicated. The angle of your foot, this and that, your glove, all these different things you look at.

“Little different things that you feel that affect the direction that you go towards the plate, that affect deception, that affect the timing, that affect every little thing it takes to deliver the ball accurately. For me, I understand what I try to do mechanically, try to get it right and go out there and execute pitches.”

Starting lineups for the Dodgers and Giants for Game 3 of the 2021 NLDS.
(Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

Can Giants make this rivalry with Dodgers an October staple?

San Francisco’s Buster Posey celebrates with LaMonte Wade Jr. after hitting a two-run home run.
San Francisco’s Buster Posey, right, celebrates with LaMonte Wade Jr. after hitting a two-run home run against the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Dodgers. The Giants. The playoffs.

Let’s do this again soon.

We waited a century for the first postseason clash between the Dodgers and Giants — all the anticipation, all the loyalty, all the hostility.

The Giants dominated the first half of the last decade, with three World Series championships in five seasons. The Dodgers dominated thereafter, with three World Series appearances in four seasons, capped by a title of their own.

If this out-of-nowhere Giants team is more than a one-year wonder — and it just might be — we could be heading into the most glorious era of baseball’s best rivalry since 1951 to 1956, when either the Brooklyn Dodgers or New York Giants represented the National League in the World Series every year.

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Dave Roberts proves the doubters wrong with Dodgers’ Game 2 lineup changes

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts celebrates with his players after their NLDS Game 2 win over the Giants on Saturday.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts celebrates with his players after their win over the Giants in Game 2 of the NLDS on Saturday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

SAN FRANCISCO — Ask a player about the postseason experience, and the adjective that inevitably is used is this: magnified.

Every pitch is magnified. Every plate appearance. Every inning. Every game.

An error that goes relatively unnoticed in May attracts a national spotlight in October. And the glare that players draw pales in comparison to the one that falls upon the managers, who sit at a news conference before and after every game to explain why they do not believe they are the idiots that loud segments of their fan base can make them out to be.

On Saturday, for Dave Roberts, it was a good day.

The Dodgers’ lineup decisions in the first two games of the National League Division Series baffled some fans, angered others. The angst was washed away in a flood of runs, with the Dodgers routing the San Francisco Giants 9-2 to tie the NLDS at one game apiece.

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Dodgers’ Julio Urías continues superb season, and Gabe Kapler saw it coming

Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urías delivers during the fifth inning of Game 2 of the NLDS.
Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urías delivers during the fifth inning of Game 2 of the NLDS against the Giants on Saturday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

SAN FRANCISCO — Giants manager Gabe Kapler envisioned nights like Saturday’s long ago, back when he was the Dodgers’ director of player development and a young promising left-hander was beginning to emerge in the club’s minor-league system.

Julio Urías, of course, was no stranger to anyone in the Giants dugout coming into Saturday’s Game 2 in the National League Division Series, not after the Dodgers left-hander made five starts against them during the regular season.

But Kapler’s history with Urías ran the deepest.

“You’re starting to see the guy that you sort of dreamed of,” Kapler said. “One of the better left-handed starters in baseball.”

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Max Scherzer is working on rediscovering his dominance for Game 3 vs. the Giants

Dodgers pitcher Max Scherzer delivers against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The last time Max Scherzer faced the San Francisco Giants in a playoff game he wasn’t yet a Cy Young Award winner. He wasn’t yet a surefire Hall of Famer. He wasn’t yet a wealthy man.

It was Game 4 of the 2012 World Series. He was a member of the vaunted Detroit Tigers’ rotation, just finding his footing as a bona fide major-league ace. He gave up three runs over 6 1/3 innings, a strong start given the context, but the Tigers lost the game and the series that night. Scherzer didn’t return to the World Series with the Tigers again. The franchise squandered two more opportunities with a loaded roster before he left for Washington.

“Our guys in Detroit there in 2012, 2013, 2014, to not be able to punch through and get a ring, we all look back and really believe that, ‘Man, we had the teams to do it,’” Scherzer said Sunday. “We can’t believe that we didn’t. We had one shot at it.”

Nine years and an historic prime later, Scherzer is back on another World Series favorite seeking to avoid squandering a prime chance to win a championship at the hands of the Giants. They will stand in his way again Monday night in Game 3 of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium.

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Betting lines and odds for Dodgers vs. Giants in Game 3 of the NLDS

The season series between the San Francisco Giants and the Dodgers could not be more even. The Giants are 11-10 in the 21 meetings between the two teams, with 10 games over the total, 10 under and one being a push.

Max Scherzer will take the mound looking to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead in the National League Divisional Series. The Dodgers are 12-0 in Scherzer’s starts and he has allowed two runs or fewer in 10 of his starts. He has allowed five home runs across 72.2 innings and the Dodgers have backed him up with at least four runs in all but one of his starts.

Former Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood gets the start for the Giants. He has allowed two runs or fewer in six consecutive starts with one home run allowed across 30 innings. The Giants are 12-2 in his last 14 starts.

Wood’s recent success didn’t stop bettors from taking the Dodgers overnight — they opened as a -190 favorite and were up to -210 overnight with the total of 7.5 dropping to 7.

The Dodgers enter Monday having scored at least eight runs in six of their last eight games while the Giants have given up four runs or fewer in 10 of their last 11 games.

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