It’s Max Scherzer night (and Jon Miller’s birthday!) as the Giants resume the series in Los Angeles, and while Game 3 often predicts the NLDS outcome, these Giants have a winning record at Dodger Stadium this season.
We may have watched the blooming of a new superstar in Logan Webb when your San Francisco Giants pummeled the Dodgers Friday night. But then these Giants looked worse than Tom Cruise's face in the stands in Game 2 on Saturday night, knotting up the five-game National League Divisional Series at 1-1. And as TBS announcers Brian Anderson and Ron Darling will remind you with the frequency of a Kate McKinnon Verizon commercial, the team that wins Game 3 of a five-game series goes on the win the series 71% of the time.
LaMonte Wade Jr. and Kris Bryant are the only two hitters on the Giants' NLDS roster to face Max Scherzer in 2021. It's been years since SF's veterans stepped in against Mad Max.— Danny Emerman (@DannyEmerman) October 11, 2021
How that recent unfamiliarity could play tonight in Game 3: https://t.co/tL4KHdyYIu
But the TBS announcers will spend even more time fawning over Dodgers all-star pitcher Max Scherzer (If you’re listening to KNBR, today is Jon Miller’s 70th birthday!). L.A. acquired Scherzer at the trade deadline, and they’ve won all 12 games he’s started since. Moreover, Dodgers have won 16 straight at home.
Look deeper, though, and you’ll find Scherzer is a little shaky. He has not lasted longer than six innings in his last three starts. In his most recent Wild Card game against the Cardinals, he had poor command, let a runner score on a wild pitch, and the Dodgers were actually losing when Scherzer was yanked early in the fourth inning.
The Giants owned Cody Bellinger and Kenley Jansen this season.— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) October 7, 2021
As they showed in the NL Wild Card Game, they still could be big X-factors for the Dodgers in the NLDS (via @DaltonJ_Johnson) https://t.co/xuva07lrPT pic.twitter.com/GdpD5ev7Pw
Yet the Giants are one of the only teams in the big leagues with a winning record at Dodger Stadium this year (6-4), and Giants also have the baseball’s best record in games following a loss (38-17). And whomst amongst us does not remember the Kenley Jansen meltdown game seen below, wherein the Dodgers' vaunted closer gave up four ninth-inning runs in his “save attempt?”
Someone asked me what my favorite game of the Giants season was…— bittergiantsfan 🥃 ⚾️ (@bittergiantsfan) October 4, 2021
Without a doubt, it was Game 4 of the Dodgers road series on July 22nd:
Situation: 9th inning, 1 out, Giants are down 3-1. This is what happened next:#SFGiants 🥃⚾️ #NLWDChamps #BeatLA
The Giants will start pitcher Alex Wood (10-4), who spent five seasons with the Dodgers, and is quite familiar with their batters. The Giants are much less familiar with Scherzer, but they do have some track record against Scherzer in a Nationals uniform. The Mercury News crunches the numbers of Giants batters against Scherzer.
JUST IN: Giants' Kris Bryant will start at first base in tonight's NLDS Game 3 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.— Mercury News (@mercnews) October 11, 2021
Bryant has appeared in 28 career games at first base including 12 this season with the Cubs before he was traded to San Francisco. https://t.co/eEp1SExdn1
“Utility man Kris Bryant is 2-for-16, infielder Wilmer Flores is 0-for-17 and third baseman Evan Longoria is 2-for-19 against Scherzer, which will create a conundrum for [Giants manager Gabe] Kapler as he draws up Monday’s lineup,” the paper notes. Though they also add that “Buster Posey is 1-for-12 in his regular season career against Scherzer, but the last time they faced in the postseason, Posey launched a go-ahead homer in Game 4 of the 2012 World Series off the then-Tigers right-hander. Middle infielders Brandon Crawford (6-for-15) and Tommy La Stella (4-for-10) are each .400 hitters against him.”
If either team sweeps the two games in L.A., they win the series and advance. If the two teams split again, they return here to play the decisive Game 5 Thursday night. And the Giants pitcher for that game is…. blooming new superstar in Logan Webb.
Image: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 09: Wilmer Flores #41 of the San Francisco Giants slides into home plate to score a run past Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second inning during Game 2 of the National League Division Series at Oracle Park on October 09, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)