IN THE HEAD: Dodgers-Giants in NLDS winner’s Game 5

Sooner than many baseball fans wanted, perhaps, but the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers will meet in a win-win Game 5 of the NL Division Series at Oracle Park.

A look at what’s going on around the majors today:

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A GRILLED CTE

Sooner than many baseball fans wanted, perhaps, but the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers will meet in a Game 5 winner of the NL Division Series at Oracle Park.

Logan Webb, who dominated the Giants’ opener, faces Julio Urías, who led the majors with 20 wins and took the win in Game 2.

At this point, both teams have recorded 109 wins this season. Perhaps this clash would have been even better in the NL Championship Series with a trip to the World Series on the line – whatever, Mookie Betts and defending champion Dodgers are set to take on Buster Posey and the Giants.

“I think it’s totally appropriate,” said Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler.

Longtime rivals who began playing against each other in 1884 share a long history of dating in all-around games.

In the decisive third game of a 1951 National League pennant tiebreak, Bobby Thomson hit what many consider to be the most famous homerun of all time when he logged in for the “Shot.” ‘Heard Round the World,’ a three-point workout late in the ninth that lifted the New York Giants over Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers 5-4 at the Polo Grounds.

The franchises had moved to the West Coast when they played a best-of-three game for the 1962 NL pennant. After defeating Los Angeles ace Sandy Koufax in Game 1, San Francisco lost the next day. Mays then scored a four-run rally in the ninth inning to win 6-4 in Game 3 at Dodger Stadium.

ON THE BRIDGE

Kiké Hernández, JD Martinez and the Red Sox train at Minute Maid Park a day before they start the AL Championship Series against the Houston Astros.

The Red Sox jokers and AL champion West Astros each ended their Division Series clashes in four games. Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and their Houston teammates beat Boston 5-2 in the season series.

Neither team has announced their rotation for the best-of-seven series.

Boston manager Alex Cora is sure to get a lot of attention ahead of Game 1 on Friday night.

Cora was the coach of the Houston bench when he won the 2017 World Series, then became the manager of the Red Sox and guided them to the 2018 championship. Cora was fired by the team and suspended by the Major League Baseball in 2020 for his role in the Astros sign-stealing scandal and rehired for this season.

AGAIN TOGETHER

After a performance in the middle of the field at batting, the Phillies hired Kevin Long as their batting coach. The move reunites him with both manager Joe Girardi and star hitter Bryce Harper.

Philadelphia fired batting coach Joe Dillon on the final day of the regular season. The Phillies were second in the NHL East with an 82-80 record and were seventh in the NHL in points and ninth in batting average.

Long, 54, worked with Harper at the national championships in 2018. Long was under Phillies manager Joe Girardi for seven years while with the Yankees and won the World Series in 2009.

“I have a long-standing relationship with Kevin and have seen his work up close and in person for years,” Girardi said. “I really believe he’s the best in the business and will have a huge impact on our offense.”

Girardi and Long weren’t so cordial during a game at Citizens Bank Park in late June. After then-Nationals star Max Scherzer was checked by the referees for sticky substances, Girardi and Long embarked on a screaming match.

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