Dodgers to face Giants in divisional playoffs after Wild-Card win

LOS ANGELES – No one was hotter than the Cardinals as they thundered through the 2021 season. Saint Louis won 17 games in a row at one ...


LOS ANGELES – No one was hotter than the Cardinals as they thundered through the 2021 season. Saint Louis won 17 games in a row at one point, setting a franchise record and qualifying for the playoffs.

But with the embers still sizzling a very entertaining National League joker game here at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night, the bottom of the ninth, two outings and two runs from Chris Taylor who sent the Dodgers to a landslide 3-1 victory was a reminder that the Dodgers had been just as hot in the final months of the season .

While trying to hunt down San Francisco and avoid the embarrassing possibility of loss, granting them unique status as a reminder to their World Series title in 2020, they’ve gone 45-15 in their last 60 games.

They also ended the regular season by winning their last 15 straight home games, a franchise record.

Wednesday’s win made it 16 in a row, and it counts. The Dodgers will now open a divisional series as dramatic as baseball for quite some time on Friday in San Francisco, the first time the former rival clubs have met in the playoffs since 1889, when the American Association’s Brooklyn club, a predecessor of the Dodgers, faced the New York Giants of the National League in what was then billed as a World Series.

Games 1 and 2 of the Giants-Modern Dodgers Division Series take place Friday and Saturday at Oracle Park in San Francisco. Next, the Dodgers will look for 17 straight home wins in Game 3 on Monday.

“I think it’s awesome,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said shortly after spraying champagne in the clubhouse, which was banned last year during the height of the pandemic. coronavirus. “That’s exactly what baseball, the Giants and the Dodgers want.

“It’s one of the biggest rivalries in sports, and it’s happening.”

The Dodgers finished 106-56 this year, a second-place record that has sparked many debates. How unfair was it that a 106-game winning team, a club with the second-best overall record in baseball, could see their season potentially wiped out with just one loss?

And what about the Giants? They went 107-55 and now face the Dodgers at 106 wins in a Division Series rather than the National League Championship Series?

With talking points, perceived slights, and story at every turn, this is a clash that has people arguing before it even materialized.

Farhan Zaidi, Giants president of baseball operations for the third year, was hired from the Dodgers, where he was general manager for Andrew Friedman. Intra-state rivalry is in full swing among fans. But there are also undeniable links between the teams that shine. They’re just put on ice for a few days whenever these two face each other.

“I think it’s great for baseball,” said Roberts. “They think a lot about how we think about getting peloton and confrontation advantages. There is a lot of familiarity, which makes it fun, even more stimulating.

“It’s going to be a great series. It will be a fantastic series.

The West Coast versions of these old franchises came closest to meeting the playoffs in 1962, when they tied for first place in the National League and the Giants won a tiebreaker. to the best of three for the right to qualify for the World Series, where they lost to the Yankees.

By 1951, the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants had also tied for first and played a best-of-three series. The Giants won this one too, over Bobby Thomson’s “shot heard all over the world. “

This year’s NL West race was only decided on the last day of the season. In their last 29 games, the Giants have gone 23-6 and the Dodgers 22-7.

“They beat us, but now we have the ability to get them where we want them to be,” said Max Scherzer of the Dodgers, whose four and third innings on Wednesday night kept the Dodgers alive.

The start wasn’t a vintage Scherzer, but it was enough. His command was not as precise as usual and, after giving up a first inning stitch, he said he was “on pins and needles” every lap.

The Cardinals had struck quickly when frontman Tommy Edman landed a right hit, stole second, passed to third on a flying ball, then ran home over wild ground.

The Dodgers tied at 1-1 when Justin Turner led the fourth by throwing a suspended Adam Wainwright curveball at 75 mph into the left field seats.

He remained 1-1 over five innings, thanks to nine combined relief pitchers, several pinch hitters and two starting pitchers – Scherzer (four and a third innings, one run, three hits, three walks and four strikeouts) and Wainwright (five and a third innings, one run, four hits, two walks, five strikeouts) – reluctant to leave the game when their managers waved to the bullpen.

“I don’t think it’s the most popular decision, but it probably made good television,” joked St. Louis manager Mike Schildt.

The crowd of 53,193 spectators spent much of the game from 4 hours to 15 minutes standing in hopes of leading the Dodgers to victory. Then, late in the ninth, Cody Bellinger, a former National League MVP winner who struggled hard all season, worked a walk from a 2-2 count against the left-handed reliever TJ McFarland to set the stage for Taylor, who came on in the seventh inning.

Taylor had struggled too, beating just 7 for 65 in his last 25 games.

“Obviously it’s a little different not to start,” Taylor said. “I was trying to stay ready off the bench, and I knew there was a chance I would come by knowing our way of doing things.”

In the dugout, with Bellinger at home and Taylor in the circle on the bridge as the threat of extra innings loomed, Scherzer stood next to reliever Joe Kelly.

“I looked and Joe and I said, ‘I think Belly is going to get along here and CT is going to hit a home run,” Scherzer said, noting that “I actually had a vision for him there- low. I played with him, faced him and thought he was the right person for the right place.

On a 2-1 count, Taylor unloaded on an 88 mph slider from Cardinals reliever Alex Reyes. It looked like a gunshot through the night, and as soon as the ball left the bat, there was no doubt it was a winning game.

The Dodgers exploded out of their dugout and Dodger Stadium shook with noise. A large blue crowd met Taylor at home plate to celebrate and, after several minutes and some time spent pumping her arms up to raise the noise level of the crowd even more, Roberts found Taylor and raised one of her arms to- over his head like a heavyweight champion.

It was appropriate, not only for Taylor but for this team and the series that they are about to play. In 146 years of National League baseball, only four teams have scored more wins than this year’s 107-55 Giants. A record that is what it took to dethrone the Dodgers from a streak of eight consecutive NL West titles. And even at that, the Dodgers almost chased them down.

Roberts said ahead of the game that losing the division caused him to lose a bet with former San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy, a close friend.

“He had the Giants, I had the Dodgers,” said Roberts. “I lost a dinner and a nice bottle of Bordeaux.”

But with the Cardinals eliminated and the Dodgers getting another delicious crack against the Giants, Roberts was asked late Wednesday night if he would now ask Bochy to double or nothing.

“Yes I am,” said Roberts with a smile. “I’m going to text him tonight.” I am, yeah. We will double or nothing for the series.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Dodgers to face Giants in divisional playoffs after Wild-Card win
Dodgers to face Giants in divisional playoffs after Wild-Card win
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