For the last time this season, the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers are squaring off in a series. It’s a three-gamer in San Francisco’s Oracle Park. Amazingly, the two teams have not only split the previous 16 games, but both had scored an identical number of runs against each other in 68. They also entered the game tied for the best record in baseball at 85-49, obviously also meaning that they were tied atop the NL West. The loser of this division is going to be stuck in a veritable play-in game hosting the wild card.
Late Friday night, the Giants won, 3-2, but that didn’t even come remotely close to telling the story. Here’s what went down.
Giants starter Anthony DeSclafani lasted only three innings last time out, giving up three runs on six hits. It could’ve been far worse, but he left with the bases loaded and no out and the bullpen didn’t allow any of those runners to score. DeSclafani actually had a 6.04 ERA in his last seven starts and the Dodgers had tagged him for a 9.43 ERA in his five previous starts against them this season.
The proverbial script was flipped this time. DeSclafani got through six scoreless innings, giving up just two hits (both singles) while striking out five.
Given that these teams don’t play any more head-to-head games after Sunday, it’s fair to bill this as the biggest series of the year for both teams. DeSclafani went out and did his job for the Giants, setting the tone for the game.
Dodgers tie it in ninth
The game got through eight innings with just one run, as it was 1-0 Giants. The Dodgers ended up threatening to take the lead, but instead settled for simply tying it up. After a Mookie Betts groundout, Justin Turner singled and Corey Seager doubled. It was a tenuous situation for the Giants, but they cut down the runner at home on a Will Smith grounder to make things a bit more palatable. Chris Taylor singled home the tying run, but the damage stopped there. It could have been so much worse.
Giants squander opportunity in ninth
The Dodgers brought on closer Kenley Jansen in the bottom of the ninth with the game tied at one. Jansen promptly walked the leadoff man on four pitches. Then he threw two more balls to start off against Brandon Belt. Belt flew out harmlessly to center on the 2-0 pitch and then Kris Bryant worked a walk. Alex Dickerson then got to a 3-2 count before his fly out and Buster Posey grounded out to end the inning. Given Jansen’s command issues, it really felt like the Giants should have capitalized.
Dodgers squander opportunity in the 11th
With a runner starting on second, Corey Seager singled to start the Dodgers’ 11th. So they had runners at the corners with no out. Turner got pegged at the plate on the next play and then there were two strikeouts. It was yet another wasted opportunity.
The game ended on a walk-off review
For real! And it was Buster Posey legging out a grounder.
With one out in the bottom of the 11th, Brandon Belt was intentionally walked to set up a double play. The problem was Kris Bryant followed with a walk (remember, a runner started on second). So the bases were loaded when Mike Yastrzemski hit into a fielder’s choice that cut down the runner to home. Posey followed with a grounder to deep right and beat it out, upon further review, thanks to Trea Turner’s throw pulling Will Smith off the bag.
The Dodgers used a bullpen game
With a few starters hurt and one on administrative leave, the Dodgers decided to just go with all relievers on Friday. Corey Knebel started the game, but, most importantly, the Dodgers used an absurd 11 pitchers in the game. That should have an impact on the rest of the series. Check the roster moves tomorrow, because the Dodgers will surely bring in some fresh arms from the minors.
Julio Urías (15-3, 3.17) takes the ball for the Dodgers in Game 2 of the series at 6:05 p.m. Pacific time. The Giants haven’t announced a starting pitcher and the rotation is depleted, so the smart money is on them doing exactly what the Dodgers did on Friday and going with a bullpen game. Lefties Sammy Long and Jose Quintana are capable of getting length and neither pitched Friday.