LOS ANGELES -- Albert Pujols made his postseason debut 20 years ago against an Arizona Diamondbacks team that had Matt Williams at third base. On Monday night, he'll be at first base against the Giants and Alex Wood.
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Pujols, not Cody Bellinger, will be in the starting lineup for Game 3. The 41-year-old was picked up by the Dodgers in May, and while he's limited in a lot of ways in his 21st season, he still mashes lefties. Pujols had a .939 OPS against left-handed pitching during the regular season and hit 13 homers in 136 at-bats.
Roberts said Chris Taylor will start in center field and A.J. Pollock in left as the Dodgers aim to throw all their best right-handed bats at Wood. Bellinger, who had a game-changing two-run double on Saturday but otherwise has struggled mightily against the Giants, will be a mid-game replacement.
"It's more of a mindset of giving us the best chance to get a lead, beat the starter, and we can pivot out of some things," Roberts said. "But I think that's kind of the mindset, my mindset."
Pujols hasn't appeared in this series yet, which means Monday's game will be his first postseason appearance against the Giants since the 2002 NLCS, an oddity considering he's played 78 postseason games and the Giants won three titles during his prime.
Pujols went to the playoffs with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2009 and 2011. He was playing October baseball in 2014 at the same time as the Giants, but he was with the Los Angeles Angels, who bowed out in the first round to a Kansas City Royals group the Giants saw later in the World Series.
Pujols was 8-for-35 against the Giants during the regular season with three homers, but he should've had a fourth. He was the one who hit the deep flyball that Mike Tauchman pulled back over the wall.