LOS ANGELES — Albert Pujols, the three-time MVP who has been used primarily as a late-game pinch-hitter, will start at first base for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Monday night.
Cody Bellinger, who has been struggling mightily all season but came up with a big double in the Dodgers’ Game 2 win, will be on the bench at the onset but will probably check into the game once the Giants begin using their right-handed relievers.
Pujols, 41, will be starting 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, batting .294/.336/.603. Wood, who will oppose three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, had pretty even 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 didn’t work out at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, but the Giants spilled onto the field for workouts close to 8 p.m. PT. Giants manager Gabe Kapler, who wore street clothes while his players took batting practice and did some defensive work, called Pujols “one of the greatest hitters that ever lived.”