The Brooklyn Bridge, the Great Pacific Coast Highway, two sites that have sundered one of sports longest standing rivalries. That between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. This historic rivalry is about to take on a whole new level, postseason baseball. Despite facing each other for 130 years, the two have never met in an official postseason series, apart from a pennant deciding regular season game. But this series is more historic to the game of baseball as a whole. This years National League Division Series between the two teams will mark the first time that too teams with 105+ wins will be facing off in a playoff series.
The Giants out-edged the Dodgers by one game, in a never-ending division race. This forced the Dodgers to play in that extra one-game wildcard playoff. The Dodgers escaped this game by beating the St Louis Cardinals on a 2-run walk-off homer in the ninth by Chris Taylor.
The defending world series champion Dodgers faced roster turnover and star players underperforming at various points. But they remained resilient throughout, despite the mounting pressure of high expectations. If they are at any real disadvantage going into the series, they are loaded with the talent to overcome those disadvantages in an instant. They have especially proven this through their play in the final months, which earned them a franchise-best 106 wins. It only helps that they have two of the hottest hitters in the game right now in Trea Turner and Corey Seager.
Speaking of being looked at as a disadvantage, going into the season the Giants were looked at a washed-up team of veterans beginning the rebuilding stage, who would win around 75 games at best. Well they not only became the big surprise by making the postseason, but like the Dodgers had a franchise best with 107 wins. This earned them the best record in baseball and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They led the National League with a team-high 241 homers. The production they got at the plate ranged from a mix of young guns and veterans from their previous World Series winning teams.
In the regular season, each team has had fairly identical pitching and hitting stats with the Giants at a slight advantage in most of the categories. Both teams will also be facing uncertainties about the status of a key bat in their lineups, each teams first basemen.
The Giants Brandon Belt is expected to be out until the National League Championship series at best. He landed on the injured list with a fractured left thumb last week, according to CBS Sports. Belt has spent time in and out of the Giants lineup all season. He had a solid year when he did play. He put up a career best and team leading 29 home runs and .975 OPS.
For the Dodgers, first baseman Max Muncy also led the team with his power. He slugged 36 home runs on with a .527 slugging percentage. However, he was run over on the base paths and suffered a left elbow injury in the final regular season game. As a result, he did not play in the wild card game. His status for the division series is also unlikely.
Apart from the injuries to two key hitters, the two teams should matchup fairly evenly, giving baseball fans exactly the type of series they were craving these past several months during the tight division races. With the series set to begin tonight at Oracle Park in San Francisco, fans could be witnessing the preeminent moment in the history of this rivalry.
/ 2 hours ago
MLB front offices are incentivized to keep top prospects in AAA. This is one...
/ 14 hours ago
Jason Kidd has made quite a few lineup adjustments for the Dallas Mavericks through...