An NLDS between the two best teams in the regular season (and their first-ever postseason meeting) could not have ended any other way; it has to culminate with a winner-take-all Game 5. This matchup between the 106-win Los Angeles Dodgers and 107-win San Francisco Giants was already historic, as it was the most combined regular season wins between two playoff opponents in any round. ESPN Stats & Info explains other reasons why specifically, this Game 5 will be one for the ages.
One team that won at least 108 games (including the two postseason wins) will be going home tonight. Which team will advance to play the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS?
Dodgers and Giants will play a decisive Game 5 tomorrow. It will be the…
– 5th winner-take-all postseason game between 100-win teams in MLB history
– 5th winner-take-all postseason game between teams that had the top two records in MLB in the divisional era (since 1969) pic.twitter.com/l4DpxG0diR
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 13, 2021
Here is my best bet for Thursday’s Dodgers-Giants NLDS Game 5. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)
YTD: 189-159-8 (+13.73 units)
San Francisco Giants ML (-110)
After splitting the first four games of this five-game series, the Giants hold the narrow head-to-head season series edge over the Dodgers 12-11. San Francisco’s two wins in the series have been via shutouts, while the Dodgers exploded for 16 combined runs in their two victories. With a projected total of seven runs, does a lower-scoring game favor the Giants based on how the first four games have played out?
Walker Buehler heroically started Game 4 on three days’ rest in Game 4 for Los Angeles, and his gutsy 4.1 innings and 71 pitches are a big reason why the Dodgers were able to force a game five. Tonight’s starter, Julio Urias, is also pitching on short rest, albeit four days’ rest compared to three. However, His career 1.07 WHIP and 3.37 ERA on four days rest are better than his numbers with five days of rest (1.22 WHIP, 3.70 ERA). Urias earned the win with five solid innings in Game 2, allowing two earned runs and six hits.
Logan Webb may not have been a household name at the start of the season, but he has pitched every bit like the ace of baseball’s best team for the better part of the last four months. Webb was sensational in Game 1, throwing 7.2 scoreless innings while striking out ten and not walking any batters. Since early July, he has pitched to a 2.63 ERA and is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts against the Dodgers this year. In 16 innings against Los Angeles, he pitched to a WHIP of 0.688 and struck out 17.
Many will point to Los Angeles as the right side in this game, citing their playoff experience over the last eight seasons as what will buoy them to a victory tonight. The Dodgers are 3-1 in their previous four elimination games, with the lone loss coming in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series against the Astros. However, this Giants team is not exactly void of playoff experience. Kris Bryant, Buster Posey, and Brandon Crawford have all won World Series championships, and Evan Longoria was the best player on a Rays team that made the World Series in 2008. San Francisco is 3-0 in their last three elimination games, dating back to their 2012 World Series championship year. The Giants have won eight of their last 11 home games, and playing in front of a raucous home crowd will help make the difference tonight.
There is no denying that the Giants need more out of Crawford and Longoria, as Bryant and Posey are the only Giants hitters with more than one RBI in the series. However, to justify Los Angeles is the right side because of a high payroll and playoff experience is looking at this game too myopically. While this game, for now, is viewed as a pick’em, know that the Dodgers are 0-7 in their last seven games as favorites against the Giants following a win, should they end up being favorites. San Francisco has led after three innings in four of their last five games at Oracle Park, and building another early lead should give them the confidence to outlast their rivals tonight.
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