Down 1-0 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Gavin Lux connected for the hit of his life. When it landed, his homer would have tied Game 3 of the NLDS and given the Dodgers another crack at the series lead.
And then Boreas, the northern wind, made his San Francisco Giants fandom known.
What would have been a game-tying home run instead landed on the warning track, where the glove of Giants center fielder Steven Duggar waited. The majority of the Dodger Stadium crowd, as well as Lux himself, thought the ball was gone:
Gavin Lux thought he had it but the ball stays in the park! Game over! pic.twitter.com/SARjmBs9IB
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) October 12, 2021
The Statcast numbers really captured just how much the wind saved the Giants. Lux hit the ball 106.9 mph with a 22-degree launch angle, calculated to have an .890 expected batting average. Basically, that ball is a hit, an extra-base hit, nine times out of 10. Even multiple members of the Giants said they thought the ball was a homer after the game.
MLB.com's Mike Petriello showed what usually happens when batters hit a ball with Lux's exit velocity and launch angle: a whole bunch of homers:
Balls like the one Lux hit -- 107 MPH / 22 deg -- are HR 69% of the time, and yes, I absolutely did consider going to try to change the data *just* so i could say 68% or 70% of the time pic.twitter.com/N8NWVnCds2
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) October 12, 2021
Nine innings later, the Giants grabbed a 2-1 lead in an NLDS between a 107-win team and a 106-win team. Adding even more frustration for the Dodgers is the fact that in the seventh inning, Mookie Betts appeared to hit a game-tying RBI single ... until Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford made a leaping grab for the third out. The xBA on that ball: .870.
The Dodgers now face a win-or-go-home Game 4 on Tuesday, by which time the weather will hopefully have died down.