It looked like a homer off the bat. Bottom of the ninth, two outs, Dodgers trailing the Giants 1–0 in Game 3 of the NLDS. And pinch hitter Gavin Lux knew it. He celebrated as he ran down the line. He’d tied a playoff game at the last possible moment. Incredible!
You’ve gotta be kidding me! Seriously, this looked like a home run off the bat. Lux thought so. The announcers thought so. Heck, every fan in Dodger Stadium thought so. And there was good reason to believe it: Most swings like this during the season were home runs.
Of course no one in the stands knew that; they weren’t mentally calculating the launch angle as the ball flew off the bat. It just looked like a fucking home run. What the hell possibly happened? Well, it turns out the wind hates the Dodgers. Nature taking revenge for destroying a neighborhood to build Dodger Stadium? That would mean nature took its sweet old time, so it’s probably just a coincidence. But the Dodgers were sad.
The game featured cold, 45-mph wind gusts, per the Los Angeles Times, and Max Scherzer was blown off the rubber after just three pitches. He only gave up one run, a fifth-inning homer to Evan Longoria, but it was enough for the Giants in their 1–0 win. They lead the series 2–1. The Dodgers, who won 106 games this year, are a loss away from elimination.
Longoria was one of those people who thought it was headed out of the ballpark. “My stomach pretty much sank when he hit it,” he said postgame. “I can’t believe that it didn’t.” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had a similar thought: “Any other night, the CT ball, the Gavin Lux ball would have been home runs… Those two balls right there, it would have been a different outcome.” (Chris Taylor also had a long, loud fly out.)
But one Dodgers veteran is not upset with the wind. It’s just a part of life, says Albert Pujols.
The Dodgers and Giants play again tonight. Winds are expected to be calmer.