LOS ANGELES – Six months of regular season hunting weren’t enough. The Los Angeles Dodgers are still looking to topple the San Francisco Giants in October. And now, after 23 games this season between these old and fierce rivals, the final call comes with Game 5 on Thursday night.
In Tuesday’s Game 4, with Walker Buehler working on a short rest for the first time in his career, the Dodgers quickly made it clear their season wouldn’t end that night. In front of 52,935 roaring – and anxious – fans at Dodger Stadium, they demolished the Giants, 7-2.
Including the regular season and the playoffs, the Giants and Dodgers now each have 109 wins in 2021. So far, San Francisco holds a 12-11 lead over Los Angeles. But all it will take is one more win for either team to qualify for the National League Championship series against Atlanta.
“That’s what baseball wants,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after a grueling 3 hour 38 minute game in which the teams combined to use 14 pitchers and 25 position players. “All the other series are over. We’re going to be the only show in town.
“If you have the pulse or are a sports fan, you better watch the Dodgers and Giants. It’s going to be awesome.”
Roberts wasted no time, naming left-hander Julio Urias (20-3, 2.96 ERA) as the Dodgers Game 5 starter before Game 4 even started. Urias was the game 2 starting pitcher in San Francisco. , limiting the Giants to one run in five innings in a Dodgers win. Roberts said from now on Max Scherzer, who started Game 3 on Monday, will most likely not be available as a relief for Game 5, but shyly noted “I’m known to change my mind.”
Giants manager Gabe Kapler, who exhausted all but one of his relievers in Game 4, confirmed rookie Logan Webb, who was brilliant in Game 1, will start Game 5. Kapler said starter Kevin Gausman would be available to support Webb and “I don’t think using Alex Wood at one point would be out of the question.”
With a strong pitching showdown in a win-win game, this divisional series gets the finish it deserves.
The Giants held the best baseball record for 125 days overall this season and were the first team to score 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 and 100 wins. They can be rejected after a playoff series.
The Dodgers had the best point differential in the majors (+269), far surpassing the next best team – the Giants, at +210 – but they were shut out twice in four games by San Francisco and are also on the edge. of elimination.
“I feel like our team and the Dodgers have both been playing meaningful games for quite some time now,” said Giants wide receiver Buster Posey. “Obviously, the one that comes on Thursday is the most meaningful at this point and it should be fun.”
The Dodgers are getting used to this back-to-wall thing. They followed Atlanta three-game-one in last October’s NLCS before coming back strong, and Buehler stood up in a career milestone to save them from extinction on Tuesday. Roberts believed he was stronger on Tuesday than when he started in Game 1, and his fastball speed at the start of Game 4 was 96.3 miles per hour, up from his average of the season of 95.3.
“I felt like if things didn’t go like this yesterday, I would feel really weird not to start a game, we could lose a streak,” Buehler said when explaining why he volunteered for a short rest.
Buehler made sure things went in the direction of the Dodgers on Tuesday to stage one of the most important games in the 133-season rivalry. And as often as the teams have played this year, there are no secrets.
“We know each other’s playbook,” said Roberts. “So now we’re just going to old school, we’re going to throw the ball to the right and you’re going to have to stop us.” It’s Vince Lombardi. We are going to play. We know what we are doing, they know what we are doing. “