2021 NLDS Game 3 Preview: Albert Pujols Makes First Postseason Start With Dodgers
Albert Pujols
Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

After splitting the first two contests at Oracle Park, the National League Division Series shifts to Dodger Stadium for Game 3 as both the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants look to take a lead.

The Dodgers bouncing back on Saturday and now having Max Scherzer for a swing game has the club confident. “That’s a good feeling,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s interesting how the narrative changes from game to game and right now it’s a three-game series.

“We have home field advantage and we’ve got Max on the mound. So I like where we’re at.

Although the Dodgers have won each of Scherzer’s starts, he has regressed since dominating to the tune of a 7-0 record, 0.78 ERA, 79 strikeouts and .150/.186/.218 opponents’ batting line through his first nine outings for the team.

That’s been followed by allowing a combined 12 runs over 14.2 innings his last three starts. Though, Scherzer believes the root of recent struggles were mechanics in his lower body that have since been corrected.

The Giants counter with Alex Wood, who went 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA in three starts against his former teammates during the regular season.

With Wood being the first left-handed starter the Dodgers have faced in the series, it is creating an opportunity for Albert Pujols. He becomes the Dodgers’ third different starting first baseman in the NLDS, following Matt Beaty and Cody Bellinger.

“Chris Taylor is going to play center field and I’ll run AJ out there in left field,” Roberts added. “It’s more the mindset of give us the best chance to get a lead, beat the starter and we can pivot out of some things.”

The start is Pujols’ first for the Dodgers in the postseason. He lined out in a pinch-hit at-bat during the Wild Card Game. Pujols is starting in a playoff game for the first time since doing so for the L.A. Angels in Game 3 of the 2014 American League Division Series.

The future Hall of Famer is a lifetime .321/.430/.596 batter in the postseason, with 18 doubles, 19 home runs and 54 RBI.

Dodgers lineup

RF: Mookie Betts
2B: Trea Turner
SS: Corey Seager
3B: Justin Turner
CF: Chris Taylor
LF: AJ Pollock
1B: Albert Pujols
C: Will Smith
P: Max Scherzer

Giants lineup

2B: Tommy La Stella
RF: Mike Yastrzemski
C: Buster Posey
SS: Brandon Crawford
1B: Kris Bryant
LF: LaMonte Wade Jr.
3B: Evan Longoria
CF: Steven Duggar
P: Alex Wood

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