It just had to get over it, didn’t it?
All summer, the Dodgers chased the San Francisco Giants and all summer the underdog Giants were closed favorites, going long enough in the fall to claim the National League West crown on the final day of the regular season and eliminating the Dodgers’ eight. given-year partition rule.
Therefore, it is fitting that the first postseason meeting in the history of the 131-year-old rivalry will be decided in the winner-take-all Game 5 of the National League Division Series on Thursday. It almost seemed inevitable.
“I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said with a smile on Wednesday. “I was hoping we would win three straight.”
The club would take the field at Oracle Park for their most important clash as they moved together from New York to California prior to the 1958 season.
This will be the 24th meeting between them in 2021. For all the hope placed on the Dodgers’ expensive, star-studded roster, the Giants, the surprise contenders this season, hold a 12-11 lead. However, the Dodgers put him 96–87. They would enter with 109 wins, including the postseason. Whichever side reaches 110 will advance to the National League Championship Series to face the Atlanta Braves.
“I think both our team and the Dodgers have been playing a meaningful game for some time,” Giants catcher Buster Posey said. “Obviously this coming Thursday is the most meaningful at this point and it should be fun.”
The Dodgers would give the ball to Julio Uriás a year later, when he played the October hero during his World Series run. The 25-year-old left-hander was only a 20-game winner this season, recording a career-high 2.96 earned-run average in 185 2/3 innings. The Dodgers haven’t lost a single start since the Giants beat them 2-1 on July 27. That was 12 starts earlier.
Urea will pitch at regular rest after tossing off just 72 pitches in five innings in the Dodgers’ Game 2 win. He dropped a run and was knocked off the Dodgers’ first run with a two-out single, which exploded for nine. Thursday will mark his sixth debut against the Giants in 2021 and the fifth post-season start of his career.
“The adrenaline of course changes, and so does the thought process,” Urius said in Spanish. “But it’s the same sport. I’m not trying to do too much, just trying to be myself and relying on the talent we have.
The Giants will face Logan Webb, just a year younger than the Urias, who started the playoffs in Game 1 of the series with 7 2/3 scoreless innings. Webb sliced through the Dodgers with an array of shifts and sliders, requiring only 92 pitches to record 23 outs. He dismissed 10 batsmen without a walk.
After the game, Roberts stated that his team did not make the necessary adjustments to the game. Using a golf analogy, he lamented that the Dodgers kept using their driver, taking big swings, without much success. On Wednesday, he said he believed the offense would use more clubs, “playing for the slugs” and using the entire field.
“We know each other’s playbooks,” Roberts said on Tuesday after his team’s Game 4. “So now we go old school, we’re going to drive the ball to the right and you have to stop us. It’s Vince Lombardi. We’re going to play. We know what we do, they know what we do We do.”
However, the Dodgers hold a potential wild card. Max Scherzer, whom he acquired from the Washington Nationals on a July 30 trade deadline, could be used out of the bullpen on two days’ rest after entering seven innings in Game 3 on Monday. But Roberts said he doesn’t envision the 37-year-old pitching right-handedly in relief.
“It’s highly unlikely,” Roberts said. “The goal is still to win the World Series and Max Starting Game 1 in the NLCS, if we get there, increase that chance, but obviously I’m not immune to the fact that unless you win the game, then Till you won’t get there. 5.”
Does Giants manager Gabe Kapler believe Scherzer won’t be available?
“I’m not going to be surprised by anything,” Kapler said. “The Dodgers aren’t going to surprise anything. There we are.”
Scherzer has experience pitching in relief in Game 5 of a Division Series. It just wasn’t a pleasant experience. Scherzer, then with the Nationals, dropped four runs (two earned) in an innings of relief in Game 5 of the 2017 NLDS against the Chicago Cubs. The Nationals lost 9–8 and ended their season that night.
His last postseason relief appearance was in Game 2 of the 2019 NLDS against the Dodgers. He played the eighth inning with three strikeouts for the Nationals in a win at Dodgers Stadium. The Nations on their way to winning the World Series eliminated the Dodgers in Game 5 with a 106-win.
Two years later, another 106-win Dodgers club would try to avoid the same fate in their third elimination game in eight days. A win on Thursday and, after months of chasing them down, when it matters most, they will eventually outlast the Giants.