Staying alive, the Dodgers forced a game 5 that felt inevitable

LOS ANGELES — Chasing six months into the regular season wasn’t enough. The Los Angeles Dodgers are still trying to beat the San Francisco Giants in October. And now, after 23 games this season between these longtime and bitter rivals, the final call comes with Game 5 on Thursday night.

In Tuesday’s Game 4, in which Walker Buehler worked on short rest for the first time in his career, the Dodgers quickly made it clear that their season would not end that evening. In front of 52,935 roaring – and fearful – fans at Dodger Stadium, they annihilated the Giants, 7-2.

Including the regular season and the postseason, the Giants and Dodgers now have 109 wins each in 2021. So far, San Francisco has a 12-11 lead over Los Angeles. But all it takes is one more win for both teams to advance to the National League Championship Series against Atlanta.

“This is what baseball wants,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts after a grueling 3-hour, 38-minute game that saw the teams combined using 14 pitchers and 25 position players. “All other series are ready. We’ll be the only show in town.

“If you have a heartbeat or are a sports fan, you better watch the Dodgers and Giants. It’s going to be a hit.”

Roberts wasted no time, naming lefthander Julio Urias (20-3, 2.96 ERA) as the Dodgers’ Game 5 starter before Game 4 had even started. Urias was the starting pitcher in Game 2 in San Francisco and held the Giants to one run over five innings in a Dodgers win. Roberts said that as of now, Max Scherzer, who started Game 3 on Monday, will most likely not be available for Game 5, but noted that “I’ve been known to change my mind.”

Giants Manager Gabe Kapler, who burned all but one of the relievers available in Game 4, confirmed that rookie Logan Webb, who was brilliant in Game 1, would start Game 5. Kapler said starter Kevin Gausman would be available to support Webb and “I don’t think the use of Alex Wood is out of the question at some point.”

With a strong pitching matchup in a winner-take-all match, this division series gets the finish it deserves.

The Giants held the best baseball record for 125 days this season and were the first team to score 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 and 100 wins. They can be returned after one playoff series.

The Dodgers had the best run differential in the majors (+269), far better than the second best team – the Giants, at +210 – but they have been knocked out by San Francisco twice in four games and are also on the verge of elimination.

“I feel like our team and the Dodgers team have been playing meaningful games for a while,” said Giants catcher Buster Posey. “Obviously this one coming out Thursday is the most meaningful yet and it should be fun.”

The Dodgers are getting used to this back-to-the-wall thing. They trailed Atlanta three-to-one in last October’s NLCS before storming back, and Buehler was high on a career milestone to save them from extinction on Tuesday. Roberts thought he was stronger on Tuesday than he was in his Game 1 start, and the speed on his fastball early in Game 4 was 96.3 miles per hour, up from his season average of 95.3.

“I felt like if things didn’t go our way yesterday, I’d feel really weird if we didn’t throw a game, we could lose a series,” Buehler said, explaining why he volunteered for the game. short rest shifts.

Buehler made sure the Dodgers got it right on Tuesday to put down one of the most important games in this 133-season rivalry. And as many times as the teams have played this year, there are no secrets.

“We know each other’s playbook,” Roberts said. “So now we’re just going to old school, we’re going to run the ball to the right and you’re going to have to stop us. It’s Vince Lombardi. Let’s play. We know what we do, they know what we do.”

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