Someone once said that a man hated his neighbor so much that he would be sure to go to his funeral—just to be certain that his enemy was dead.
That sort of enmity exists between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, their fans, and the two cities, separated by less than 400 miles, but divided by culture, attitude, and history.
The Giants have despised the Dodgers since both teams shared Manhattan in New York. They were the NEW YORK Giants and BROOKLYN Dodgers back when they started facing each other in the 19th century. That iron-hot hatred hopped a plane to the west coast in the late 1950s. It’s never abated.
On Friday, the two teams will meet for Game One of their National League Division Series, a best-of-five slugging match between baseball’s two best teams. The game will broadcast on TBS at 9 PM EST.
Remarkably, this will be the first time the rivals have played each other in the postseason. It shapes up as an epic battle.
Dodgers vs Giants Series Odds
- Dodgers -160
- Giants +140
Game One Matchup
Logan vs Buehler
The host Giants will send right-hander Logan Webb to the mound for Game One. The Dodgers have yet to announce a starter, but it’s likely to be Walker Buehler, who was left off the wild card game roster.
Players To Watch in the NLDS
San Francisco Giants
As so often happens in these short playoff series, the bullpen will be key. The Giants have six relievers who pitched at least 50 innings and had an ERA under 3.00, twice as many as the Dodgers. The two teams were 1-2 in team ERA (Dodgers first).
As unsexy as it sounds, it will be guys like Tyler Rogers, Jarlin Garcia, and Zack Littell who will be prove most pivotal in these games. When the Giants need a crucial out after the sixth inning, like coaxing Corey Seager into a popup or a getting Justin Turner to hit into a double play, the guys in the pen will be front and center.
Kris Bryant is new to this whole Giants/Dodgers feud, but he has the credentials to make LA fear him. Bryant has 10 homers in only 40 games against the Dodgers.
Los Angeles Dodgers
We can be confident that Max Scherzer and Walker Buehler and will be primed for their assignments against the Giants. But how will The Forgotten Arm do? I’m referring to lefty Julio Urías, who won 20 games for LA. He’ll most likely start Game Two, and if the series goes five, would be tapped to either start on short rest or pitch out of the pen.
Don’t snooze on Albert Pujols, who may be forced into duty at first base with Max Muncy sidelined with a forearm injury.
Is This The Real World Series?
Sometimes the world shrinks to a manageable size. After a regular season that saw the Giants and Dodgers combine to win 213 games, are we looking at the best teams in baseball in this first round series? Is this NL Division Series set in earthquake and smog-laden California actually the World Series weeks before the Fall Classic is scheduled to be played?
The answer is: possibly. The winner of this series may very well end up being crowned World Series champs. But a few teams will have something to say about that. Namely, last years’ runner-ups, the Tampa Bay Rays, as well as the pitching-rich Milwaukee Brewers, powerful run-scoring juggernaut Houston Astros, and the pesky Boston Red Sox.
How Do High-Win Teams Perform in the Post-Season?
There have been 20 teams who have won at least 106 games in a season, in a season when a World Series was played. Twelve of those teams went on to win the World Series, or 60 percent. That’s a decent result, but hardly convincing that lots of wins in the regular season equates to a championship.
It’s even less impressive to look at the modern era, when baseball has had multiple layers of post-season play. Since 1969 (the Playoff Era), eleven teams have won at least 106 games. Six of them failed to win the Fall Classic. That’s right, teams with 106+ wins since ’69 are 5-6 in converting that success into a title.
There’s no guarantee that the Giants or Dodgers will run the table after winning this series. We only have to go back to 2019 to when two teams won lots of games (Astros with 107 and Dodgers with 106) and failed to win the World Series.