In Wood they trust: Giants turn to ex-Dodger in NLDS Game 3

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Alex Wood is coming home to start Game 3 of the NL Division Series at Dodger Stadium. For the Giants.

The ex-Dodgers pitcher gets the ball Monday night against Los Angeles ace Max Scherzer with the best-of-five series tied at a game apiece.

Wood was a key member of the Dodgers’ bullpen in their run to the World Series championship last year after rejoining the team on a one-year deal. He became a free agent after the season and was eager to become a starter again. In January, he signed with the rival Giants.

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

“If you look at Woody’s numbers in the postseason, he’s been incredible, whether it’s starting or coming out of the bullpen,” Game 2 starter Kevin Gausman said. “Obviously the Dodgers know that too, because they had him for a long time. It’s going to be a good matchup and I’m excited to watch Woody work.”

The Giants need to win one of the next two games in LA to force the series back to San Francisco for a fifth and deciding 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's come up big for the Giants following a loss, with the team going 12-1.

“He’s just pitched really well for us and in particular he’s pitched well for us late, so that’s the main consideration,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “He’s one of our best three pitchers right now.”

Wood also has the benefit of experience and comfort in Dodger Stadium. He spent four seasons with the Dodgers, coming of age as a starting pitcher in their rotation after being drafted by the Atlanta Braves.

He was an All-Star in 2017, when he began the season in the bullpen and became a starter when Rich Hill got injured. Wood became the first Dodgers pitcher to start a season 10-0 since Don Newcombe in 1955. He started one game in both the NL Championship Series and World Series that year and then came back and pitched two innings of shutout relief in Game 7. The Dodgers lost to the Houston Astros, whose cheating scandal was later revealed.

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Beth Harris, The Associated Press

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