LOS ANGELES – Albert Pujols, the three-time MVP who has been used primarily as a pinch hitter late in games, will start at first base for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Monday night.
The Dodgers will field the majority of their right-handed hitters against San Francisco Giants left-hander Alex Wood, and will also start Chris Taylor in center field and keep AJ Pollock in left field.
Cody Bellinger, who has been fighting a lot all season but pulled off a big double in the Dodgers’ Game 2 win, will be on the bench early, but will likely enter the game once the Giants start using their relievers. Rights.
Pujols, 41, will start a playoff game for the first time since Game 3 of the 2014 American League Division Series as a member of the Los Angeles Angels.
Pujols has been particularly effective against opposing left-handed pitchers this season, hitting .294 / .336 / .603. Wood, who will face three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, had pretty similar splits this season (righties had a .682 OPS against him, lefties had a .674 OPS). Neither team has announced a Game 4 starter.
The Dodgers did not exercise at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, but the Giants hit the field for practice around 8 p.m. PT. Giants manager Gabe Kapler, who wore street clothes while his players practiced hitting and worked defensively, said Pujols was “one of the best hitters that ever lived.”