October 17, 2021

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Dodgers Will Face Rival Giants in Division Sequence

Dodgers Will Face Rival Giants in Division Series

LOS ANGELES — No one was hotter than the Cardinals as they thundered down the stretch of the 2021 season. St. Louis won 17 in a row at one level, setting a franchise report and streaking into the postseason.

However with the embers nonetheless scorching from a extremely entertaining National League wild-card game right here in Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night time, Chris Taylor’s bottom-of-the-ninth, two-out, two-run homer that despatched the Dodgers to a heart-thumping 3-1 victory served as a reminder that the Dodgers had been simply as scorching within the season’s closing months.

Whereas trying to chase down San Francisco and keep away from the embarrassing chance of a loss stamping them with one-and-done standing as an encore to their World Series title in 2020, they went 45-15 over their closing 60 video games.

In addition they completed the common season by successful their closing 15 consecutive house video games, a franchise report.

Wednesday’s win made it 16 in a row, and counting. The Dodgers will now open as dramatic a division sequence as baseball has had in fairly a while on Friday in San Francisco, the primary time the ancient-rival golf equipment have confronted one another within the postseason since 1889, when the Brooklyn membership of the American Affiliation, a predecessor of the Dodgers, confronted the Nationwide League’s New York Giants in what was then billed as a World Sequence.

Video games 1 and a pair of of the division sequence between the trendy Giants and Dodgers are Friday and Saturday in San Francisco’s Oracle Park earlier than the Dodgers look to make it 17 consecutive house wins in Sport 3 on Monday.

“I believe it’s nice,” Dodgers Supervisor Dave Roberts mentioned shortly after the champagne sprayed within the clubhouse, one thing that was forbidden final yr throughout the top of the pandemic. “It’s simply what baseball needs, the Giants and the Dodgers.

“It’s one of many best rivalries in sports activities, and it’s occurring.”

The Dodgers completed 106-56 this yr, a second-place report that inspired a great deal of debate. How unfair was it {that a} 106-win group, a membership with the second-best total report within the sport, might see its season probably worn out with one loss?

And what in regards to the Giants? They went 107-55 and now they have to face the 106-win Dodgers in a division sequence fairly than the Nationwide League Championship Sequence?

With speaking factors, perceived slights and historical past round each flip, it’s a matchup that had individuals arguing earlier than it even got here to fruition.

Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ third-year president of baseball operations, was employed away from the Dodgers, the place he was the final supervisor underneath Andrew Friedman. The intrastate rivalry is in full pressure, with the opposing followers hating one another and the Giants successful the season sequence, 10-9. However there are additionally unmistakable bonds between the groups that shine via. They simply get placed on ice for a number of days at any time when these two face one another.

“I believe it’s nice for baseball,” Roberts mentioned. “They suppose quite a lot of the best way we expect so far as getting platoon and matchup benefits. There’s quite a lot of familiarity, which makes it enjoyable, much more difficult.

“It’s going to be a terrific sequence. It’s going to be a improbable sequence.”

The closest the West Coast variations of those historical franchises have come to assembly within the postseason got here in 1962, once they tied for first and the Giants gained a best-of-three tiebreaker with the Dodgers for the appropriate to advance to the World Sequence, the place they misplaced to the Yankees.

In 1951, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants had additionally tied for first and performed a finest two-of-three sequence with the Giants successful that one as properly.

This yr’s N.L. West race wasn’t determined till the ultimate day of the season. Over their closing 29 video games, the Giants went 23-6 and the Dodgers 22-7.

“They beat us, however now now we have the chance to get them the place we wish them,” mentioned the Dodgers’ Max Scherzer, whose gritty 4 and a 3rd innings Wednesday night time put the Dodgers in place to maintain their season alive.

It wasn’t classic Scherzer, nevertheless it was sufficient. His command was not as sharp as common and, by giving up a first-inning run, he mentioned he was “on pins and needles” at each flip.

The Cardinals had struck shortly when leadoff man Tommy Edman roped a base hit to proper, stole second, moved to 3rd on a fly ball after which raced house on a wild pitch.

The Dodgers tied it at 1-1 when Justin Turner led off the fourth by launching a dangling, 75-mile-per-hour Adam Wainwright curveball into the left subject seats.

It stayed 1-1 over the course of 5 innings, via 9 mixed reduction pitchers, a number of pinch-hitters and two beginning pitchers — Scherzer (4 and a 3rd innings, one run, three hits, three walks and 4 strikeouts) and Wainwright (5 and a 3rd innings, one run, 4 hits, two walks, 5 strikeouts) — reluctant to depart the sport when their managers signaled to the bullpen.

“I don’t suppose it was the preferred choice, nevertheless it in all probability made for good TV,” St. Louis Supervisor Mike Schildt quipped.

The sellout crowd of 53,193 spent a lot of the 4 hour 15 minute sport on its ft hoping to will the Dodgers into motion. Then, within the backside of the ninth, Cody Bellinger, a former winner of the Nationwide League Most Helpful Participant Award who has struggled badly all season, labored a stroll from a 2-2 rely towards the lefty reliever T.J. McFarland to set the stage for Taylor, who had entered the sport within the seventh inning.

Taylor had additionally been struggling, batting simply 7 for 65 over his previous 25 video games.

“Clearly it’s just a little totally different not beginning,” Taylor mentioned. “I used to be making an attempt to remain prepared off the bench, and I knew there was an opportunity I used to be going to come back in understanding the best way we function.”

Within the dugout with Bellinger on the plate and Taylor within the on-deck circle as the specter of extra-innings loomed, Scherzer was standing subsequent to reliever Joe Kelly.

“I seemed and Joe and I mentioned, ‘I believe Stomach goes to get on right here and C.T. goes to hit a house run,” Scherzer mentioned, noting that “I truly had a imaginative and prescient for him proper there. I’ve performed with him, I’ve confronted him, and I assumed it was the appropriate man for the appropriate spot.”

On a 2-1 rely, Taylor unloaded on an 88-m.p.h. slider from Cardinals reliever Alex Reyes. It seemed like a rifle shot within the night time, and as quickly because the ball left the bat there was little doubt that it was a game-winner.

The Dodgers exploded out of their dugout and Dodger Stadium shook with noise. An enormous blue mob met Taylor at house plate in celebration and, after a number of minutes and a while spent pumping his arms to boost the extent of crowd noise even increased, Roberts discovered Taylor and held one in every of his star’s arms over his head like a heavyweight champion.

It was becoming, not just for Taylor however for this group and the sequence it’s about to play. In 146 years of Nationwide League baseball, solely 4 groups have had a greater successful proportion than this yr’s 107-55 Giants. The 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates (103-36), the 1906 Chicago Cubs (116-36), the 1907 Cubs (107-45) and the 1909 Pirates (110-42). A report that stellar is what it took to unseat the Dodgers from a string of eight straight N.L. West titles. And even at that, the Dodgers practically chased them down.

Roberts mentioned earlier than the sport that shedding the division additionally triggered him to lose a guess along with his good good friend, and former San Francisco supervisor, Bruce Bochy.

“He had the Giants, I had the Dodgers,” Roberts mentioned. “I misplaced a dinner and a pleasant bottle of Bordeaux.”

However with the Cardinals eradicated and the Dodgers getting yet another scrumptious crack on the Giants, somebody requested Roberts late Wednesday night time if possibly now he’s going to go double-or-nothing with Bochy.

“Sure I’m,” Roberts mentioned, grinning. “I’m going to shoot him a textual content tonight. I’m, yeah. We’re going to go double or nothing for the sequence.”

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