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It’s hard to pick either team to lose. The Giants are 54-27 at home this year, 7-1 in the playoffs the last 8 times they were favored and 8-3 against L.A in the last 11 head-to-head meetings.
But the Dodgers seemingly never lose. They’re 44-13 in their last 57, have won more than 70 percent of their past 21 playoff games (15-6) and are 7-3 in their last 10 road games.
It feels like there’s no way this game isn’t close and while home-field advantage is huge, the most talented team in baseball is Los Angeles.
We’re taking the Dodgers money line and the under.
As NL West foes these teams met 19 times in the regular season. By going the distance in the NLDS, they will meet for the 24th and final time of the 2021 season Thursday evening in San Francisco with the best of series tied 2-2.
These have been the two best teams in baseball from the start, we just didn’t realize it then because, admittedly, it was hard to believe in this mis-fit group of Giants back in May. By getting to this point, they’ve already proved everyone wrong, but that won’t help any of the hearts in San Francisco if it doesn’t win Game 5 at home.
This series has been as tightly contested as expected heading in, yet it hasn’t happened in the way many thought. For example, there hasn’t been a single lead change through four games. Whoever has scored first, has won, in fact the Dodgers have been shut out in both of their losses.
The Giants lead the season-long series 12-11 but all that matters now is this final game. As far as what will likely determine Game 5, it feels like the absences of the biggest stars have impacted both teams.
For San Francisco, Brandon Belt’s absence from the middle of the order has been glaring. After scoring four runs in a series-opening win, the Giants have scored just five over the past three games.
Some vets like Buster Posey, Evan Longoria and Kris Bryant have stepped up in the process, but slumps from Darin Ruf, Mike Yastrzemski and Lamonte Wade Jr. have counter-acted that production.
As for the Dodgers, yes they’ve been shutout twice, but their offense has been explosive in the other games, scoring nine in one and seven in another.
The Dodgers don’t have Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler or Clayton Kershaw on the mound and their other ace, Trevor Bauer, has been away from the team while mired in scandal for months.
Yet the Dodgers are so deep, they still have Julio Urias on the mound, which feels every bit like he can go toe-to-toe with San Francisco’s Logan Webb who has a chance to etch himself into Giants history with a win tonight.
Webb, just 24-years and 330-days old will become the youngest Giants player to start a do-or-die game. He already out-dueled Buehler in Game one, throwing 7.2 shutout innings, giving up just five hits and no walks while striking out 10 and is out to show he has what it takes.
Urias counters for Los Angeles, coming off of an MLB leading 20-win season. He had a sterling 2.96 ERA, with a 1.02 WHIP and 195 strikeouts in 185.2 innings — he is unquestionably one of the most underrated pitchers in the league.
And he’s not some silver-haired fox — Urias is just 25, but already has years of postseason experience.
For Los Angeles, we’re watching Gavin Lux.
The Dodgers prized prospect is making an impact on the biggest stage and doing so because of Max Muncy’s injury. Lux is 2-of-5 this postseason and hasn’t let the moment get too big for him. Something to keep an eye on.
For San Francisco, a table-setter has to start getting on base. Wade Jr. is just 1-of-9 — and the Giants need him on the basepaths.
He’s been ice cold since Sept. 24th, going just 3-of-36 in that time.
|Teams||Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants|
|Location||Oracle Park, San Francisco, CA|
|Time||Thursday, Oct. 14, 9:07 p.m. EST|
|How to watch||TBS|
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Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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