3 Thoughts on NLDS Game 3

WHAT A GAME! A wild, windy, tense affair in which the Giants prevailed by baseball afficanado’s favorite score: 1-0. Three thoughts…

(1) This Game ”Totally” Went According to Plan

By plan I mean: Get Alex Wood through the first part of the game, and then turn the game over to the three bullpen arms that are trustworthy (McGee, Rogers, Doval). Only, in my plan Wood goes 6 innings, and then Kapler could use his three musketeers in whatever order he needed to get those final 9 outs.

So, I (along with everyone else) was pretty shocked when Tyler Rogers came trotting out of the bullpen in THE FIFTH INNING. Now, I do believe that was the time to take Wood out. He was outstanding and he was always the right choice for Game 3. But, he was losing command of the strike zone and that is troublesome, even on a windy night.

Rogers came in to get Mookie Betts (who had looked like the one guy who could really hurt Wood throughout the early part of the game…more on Betts later), and he proceeded to get him and then 4 more outs to boot. He ended up pitching in three different innings! Then McGee came in and got one of the most dominant looking strikeouts we’ve seen from a Giants relief pitcher in a long time.

But then it was Betts again. Two men on, two out, Mookie Betts who had been swinging great all night, absolutely roped one off McGee and this happened:

Brandon Crawford is a baseball wizard. He’s also 34. He’s been doing this since 2011. What were you doing in 2011? Brandon Crawford was doing this kind of stuff, and he is still doing it.

That got the Giants through the 7th, but they still needed 6 more outs. Enter Camillo Doval. He ended up getting the results, which is the main point, but I was most impressed how he handled the situation. It could have been an August evening in Arizona for all he cared. So calm, so smooth. 101 mph, no problem. Five up and five down, and then this happened:

In game 2 Kapler made some moves that were correct, but questionable, and they did not work out. Last night, he made some moves that were correct, but questionable, and they did work out. That’s how it goes.

(2) This Game Felt Like a Vintage ”Torture” Game From the Previous Era.

It was a weird night with the crazy ”diablo” winds at Dodger stadium. It was a tense, close game. It was a game that felt like whoever scored first would win, but you wouldn’t really know right until the very end. It was a game that involved unlikely heroes (hello Evan Longoria hitting a mammoth home run right into the teeth of the wind). It involved oh so many great defensive plays. It involved just the right lineup combination (hello Steven Dugger getting the call to play centerfield). It involved pacing and yelling at the TV and wondering ”why do I even like baseball?” And in the end, it involved the Giants winning a game the should have lost ”on paper.” Max Scherzer scares no one, haha!

(3) But, Now What?

As awesome as last night was, tonight looms, and there are a lot of question marks. Anthony Desclafani will start. The rest of the bullpen will be on high alert. Kapler has said he could use all of his ”big 3” again, although there’s no way you can imagine them being as effective or being able to get as many outs.

So, the Giants will need another bullpen hero to step up. Kerwin Castro has not appeared yet in this series and I get the sense he is important to tonight’s game. But, who knows!

The Dodgers will throw the kitchen sink at the Giants which means, probably, more opportunities to score, but also a lot of managerial decisions.

Bottom line: it would be cool to watch this team celebrate in Dodger Stadium. Can’t wait!