The San Francisco Giants are looking right at home in Los Angeles and will have one more game in Southern California in their attempt to reach their first National League Championship Series since 2014.
On a Monday night when the weather was more representative of the Bay Area, the Giants turned in a 1-0 victory in Game 3 of the NL Division Series. San Francisco will play at Dodger Stadium again Tuesday with a chance to wrap up the best-of-five series.
If there was a team that figured to be able to take advantage of the elements it was the Giants, who caught a break with a strong crosswind from left to right Monday. After a regular season in which San Francisco won a major-league-best 107 games, the Giants continue to find ways to produce victories.
Game 3 ended when Dodgers pinch hitter Gavin Lux flied out to the warning track on a ball that was registered at 106.9 mph off the bat.
“The wind, from the beginning of the game, was something we have never seen here at all,” Giants third baseman Evan Longoria said on MLB Network. “Even that ball that Lux hit probably on a normal night goes out. But it was our night tonight.”
Longoria managed to solve the riddle of the wind with a fifth-inning homer to left field against Dodgers right-hander Max Scherzer. Los Angeles had been 12-0 in Scherzer starts before Monday, but four San Francisco pitchers bested the Dodgers’ ace.
“I needed everything I had behind the ball that I hit out,” Longoria said. “Thankfully it was the difference.”
After Giants left-hander Alex Wood opened Monday’s game with 4 1/3 scoreless innings and closer Camilo Doval finished it off with a six-out save, San Francisco will send right-hander Anthony DeSclafani to the mound Tuesday.
DeSclafani went 13-7 with a 3.17 ERA in 31 regular-season starts, but he was 0-3 with a 7.33 ERA in six starts against the Dodgers. However, he tossed six scoreless innings in his most recent outing against Los Angeles, on Sept. 3, and he is entering a series in which his team has blanked the opponent twice.
The Dodgers had right-hander Tony Gonsolin (4-1, 3.23 ERA) listed as their Game 4 starter, but manager Dave Roberts said all options would be considered for the win-or-go-home contest. Los Angeles could return to Game 1 starter Walker Buehler, who gave up three runs on six hits over 6 1/3 innings during the series opener, but he would be pitching on just three days’ rest.
Facing a must-win game in the playoffs is not a foreign concept for the Dodgers, who rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to win last year’s NLCS against the Atlanta Braves.
The Dodgers will need something closer to their nine-run, 11-hit performance in Game 2 on Saturday in order to force a decisive Game 5 at San Francisco on Thursday.
In six regular-season starts against the Giants this year, Buehler was 3-1 with a 2.19 ERA. Gonsolin had just one start against the Giants this season and gave up three runs over 3 1/3 innings. In three career outings against San Francisco (two starts), Gonsolin is 0-2 with a 4.32 ERA.
“Just win (Tuesday),” Roberts said when asked about his message to the team. “Everything is on the table and our focus has to turn to (Game 4). Whatever it takes to win, and we’ll kind of pick up the pieces after that.”
–Field Level Media