Max Sherzer started for LA when the Giants approached ex-Dodger Alex Wood in Game 3 of NLDS

Alex Wood comes home to start Game 3 of the NL Division Series at Dodger Stadium. For the fighters.

The former Dodgers pitcher gets the ball Monday night against Los Angeles ace Max Scherzer with the best-of-five series tied for one game each.

“I see it as a chance to prove something to myself,” Wood said Sunday.

Wood was a key member of the Dodgers’ bullpen in their run to the World Series championships last year after joining the team on a one-year deal.

“I do not think we will win the World Series last year without him,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

Wood became a free agent after the season and was eager to be starting again.

“I could definitely have come back here,” he said. “But they have a lot of good young arms that are the future of the Dodgers.”

In January, he signed with the rival Giants.

Wood was 10-4 with a 3.83 ERA in 26 normal season starts. On three outings against his former team, the left-hander had a couple of 1-0 losses and a no-decision. He hit six innings in each of the first two outings, allowing two runs and four runs. In his third outing, he was tagged for three races.

“They know me really well,” Wood said. “Just have to go out and perform, play chess.”

With so much intimacy between Dodgers and Wood, Roberts said every edge comes down to the day.

“That’s what’s going to be fun, to see how it goes,” the manager said. “Will he go fast to move on, or will he throw a basket ball to steal an attack? In a straight count, he goes fastball to fool us, or will he go with his strength, the change? In the end, it just comes to fruition. ”

Scherzer will be on full rest for his 24th career after the start of the season after pitching in last week’s NL wild-card game against St. Louis. The three-time winner of the Cy Young Award was not very sharp, but kept the Cardinals to a run over 4 1/3 innings.

The right-hander was dominant in his first nine games with the Dodgers after coming over from Washington by the trade deadline in July, but he was less effective in each of his last three starts. He gave up five earned races in each of his last two regular season starts, then struggled with his command in the wild-card game.

“The last three he has not performed as he expects,” Roberts said. “I just expect him to throw the ball extremely well tomorrow night.”

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

“Just a little tidying up my mechanics a little bit,” Scherzer said. “I thought we identified something on the bottom half that I could well grab, and threw a bullpen with it, felt pretty good.”

Scherzer has not met the Giants as much as his teammates, but he understands the deep-seated reluctance between the team’s fans.

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

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

The Giants must win one of the next two games in LA to force the series back to San Francisco for a fifth and decisive game. They won 4-0 in Game 1, and the Dodgers’ bats came alive in Game 2 to produce a 9-2 victory.

Wood was the obvious choice with so much on the line. He has come up big for the Giants after a loss in which the team went 12-1.

“It is a combination of things, talent and preparation. He’s thinking about a game four, five, six days out, “said Giants manager Gabe Kapler. “Of course, the experience is always valuable.”

Wood has the benefit of experience and comfort in Dodger Stadium. He spent four seasons with the Dodgers, becoming an adult who starts in their rotation after being drafted by the Atlanta Braves.

“A lot of good memories here, a lot of post-seasons,” Wood said.

He was an All-Star in 2017 when he began the season in the bullpen and moved into rotation after Rich Hill was injured. Wood became the first Dodgers pitcher to start a 10-0 season since Don Newcombe in 1955. He started a fight in both the NL Championship Series and the World Series that year and then came back and put two innings in shutout relief in Game 7 The Dodgers lost to the Houston Astros, whose scam was later exposed.

Notes: 1B Albert Pujols makes his first post-season start for the Dodgers in Game 3.… Chris Taylor starts in midfield and gives the Dodgers another right-handed bat against Wood. … Neither Kapler nor Roberts named their starters for Game 4 on Tuesday.


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