LOS ANGELES — As the Padres would host a postseason game in front of their fans for the first time since 2006, Petco Park would always rock for Game 3 of the National League Division Series against rival Dodgers.
But with the Padres’ thrilling 5-3 win over the Dodgers in Game 2 to end the streak on Wednesday, the atmosphere on Friday should be absolutely electric. Lefty Blake Snell gets the start for San Diego as the Dodgers turn to right-hander Tony Gonsolin. The Padres last made it into the postseason in 2020, but the games were held at a deserted Globe Life Field in Texas because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I can’t wait,” Padres catcher Austin Nola said. “I’m already thinking about the atmosphere and what it’s going to be like. It’s probably going to shake.”
The Padres announced their decision to go with Snell on Tuesday, while the Dodgers waited until Wednesday after the game to announce their somewhat surprising decision to go with Gonsolin over left Tyler Anderson. Gonsolin excelled in the regular season, going 16-1 with a 2.14 ERA, but the right-hander struggled with a forearm strain and only went two innings in his final start of the season on Oct. 3. He built his pitch count in simulated games, but the Dodgers went with him even though he wasn’t supposed to give them much length.
“We just felt like we felt good about Tony regardless of the result,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “We extended it in the live sim games we had last week. We’re comfortable with the length and how he throws the baseball.”
When is the game and how can I see it?
Game 3 begins Friday at 8:37pm ET/5:37 PT and can be seen on FS1.
All games are available in the US on MLB.TV (requires authentication with a participating pay-TV provider). Live games are also available in select countries outside of the US. For all details click here.
Who are the starting pitchers?
Father: Which version of Snell (8-10, 3.38 ERA) will the Padres get? The version that dominated the league in the second half and posted a 2.19 ERA? Or the version that struggled to throw strikes and only lasted 3 1/3 innings against the Mets? The Padres desperately need it to be the former. And Snell owns a 2.54 ERA in 11 career starts against the Dodgers, including the postseason.
Dodgers: The Dodgers opted to go over Anderson in Game 3 with Gonsolin (16-1, 2.14 ERA). Gonsolin has only made one start since Aug. 23 and will be limited to three or four innings. Since he’s not fully extended, the Dodgers believe that putting the bullpen up after the day off will help them shorten the game.
What are the starting positions?
Father: When the Dodgers switched to a right-hander, the Padres returned to the same lineup that gave them 13 runs in their two wins in New York during the NL Wild Card Series. That means Jurickson Profar returns to the starting spot after hitting base with a .409 clip in the postseason.
Dodgers: With a tough left-hander on the mound for the Padres, the Dodgers stacked the lineup with right-handed bats. Both players struggled to start the NLDS, but Trayce Thompson got the start in midfield over Cody Bellinger. Chris Taylor, who has not played a game since September 30 after suffering a neck injury, received the left field nod. Given his success against Snell, Austin Barnes is behind the plate in the lineup.
Here is the match 3 lineup:
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Father: After a day off, the Padres should have a new group of helpers to serve as Snell’s bridge to nearer Josh Hader. Robert Suarez and Luis García will serve as the primary setup men, with Tim Hill likely to be used against hard left-handers. Nick Martinez could also see high-leverage innings.
Dodgers: The Dodgers are in a good position for the off-day. Blake Treinen’s availability depends on how he feels after pitching in Game 2 and whether the Dodgers trust him to contribute in at least two of the remaining games of the series. That being said, Los Angeles should have everyone available behind Gonsolin.
Father: On Thursday, manager Bob Melvin announced that Profar was fighting “a toe thing,” although it won’t affect his Game 3 status, Melvin added. With Profar running at less than 100 percent on Wednesday, it changed Melvin’s strategy a bit. As Profar hit base in eighth base, the Padres ran into speedster Jose Azocar, who swiped second base and played solid defensive left field to end the game.
Who is hot and who isn’t?
Father: Profar did a phenomenal job setting the table by scoring (.409) in nine of his 22 plate appearances. Meanwhile, Machado is also heating up. He leads the Padres with four extra base hits in the postseason, including a pair in Game 2. The Padres bat between Profar and Machado, but the Padres are still waiting for Soto to take off. Brandon Drury, who is likely to start the game on the bench, is 1-for-11 this postseason.
Dodgers: In two games, Trea Turner and Freeman are up to any such opportunity. Turner was the hottest hitter of the series, hitting two clear homers. Freeman also hit a homer in Game 2 after going down quietly in Game 1. On the other hand, the Dodgers will need more performance from Betts, who has just one hit in the NLDS.
Is there anything else fans would like to know?
• In division series with the current 2-2-1 format (excluding the 2020 series, which will be played at neutral venues), there have been 39 previous instances where teams split the first two games. In those 39 series, the club that went home to games 3 and 4 advanced 26 times (67%).
• Snell will make his first postseason start against the Dodgers since his infamous quick hook in the sixth inning of Game 6 of the 2020 World Series. Snell then threw a scoreless ball for the Rays, but the Dodgers hit the Tampa Bay bullpen and won the clincher.
• The Padres are 5-2 in all-time playoff games at Petco Park, but their only two wins came in 2020 without fans. Coincidentally, all seven of those games were against the same opponent – the Cardinals.