NLDS Recap: Bellinger, Dodgers Knock Off Giantsby Alex Kielar October 15, 2021 1 comment
The two teams with the best records in all of Major League Baseball met up for a battle of heavyweights in the National League Division Series. The Los Angeles Dodgers (106-56), after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Wild Card Game, met up with the San Francisco Giants (107-55). The series did not disappoint as it went the full five games with a total barn burner coming in Game 5.
Game 1: Giants 4, Dodgers 0
It was all Giants in Game 1 and it started with a bang. With two outs and a runner on, Buster Posey launched a two-run homer in the bottom of the first off of Walker Buehler. There was no more scoring until the seventh, as Buehler shut down the bats until then, while Logan Webb absolutely shoved for the Giants. Webb gave up a leadoff single to Mookie Betts in the first inning, but then set the next 11 down in order and 18 of the next 20. He wound up pitching 7 2/3 innings while striking out 10 and allowing just five hits. Buehler allowed four more hits after the first inning but didn’t allow anything on the scoreboard. With the score still 2-0, Kris Bryant led off the seventh with a homer to left-center. Following a lineout, Buehler was replaced by Brusdar Graterol, who retired the next two.
Webb retired the first two of the seventh before Betts lined a single. That prompted Gabe Kapler to go to the bullpen. Taylor Rogers came on and retired the next batter on a grounder. Alex Vesia struck out the first two batters of the eighth. Brandon Crawford launched the first pitch to center to pad the Giants lead, giving them a 4-0 lead going into the ninth. Rogers set the side down in order in the bottom half to give San Francisco the first game.
Game 2: Dodgers 9, Giants 2
The Dodgers returned the favor in Game 2, as they poured it on. The scoring started in the second, with Julio Urias helping out himself. After a lineout, a Chris Taylor double, and a strikeout, Kevin Gausman intentionally walked AJ Pollock in front of Urias. The 20-game winner lined a single to right to score Taylor, then Betts had an RBI single of his own. The Giants got on back in the bottom half on a Donavan Solano sac fly that scored Wilmer Flores after Flores led off with a walk. That was all the scoring until the sixth, while Gausman struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings and Urias struck out five in 5 innings.
Trea Turner led off the sixth with a double, and Gausman was knocked out after a strikeout and walk. Dominic Leone came on and walked Taylor to set up Bellinger for an RBI double. After a mound visit, Pollock added on two more with a double to increase the lead to 6-1. Joe Kelly pitched the bottom frame, where he gave up a leadoff walk to Lamonte Wade Jr. That was followed by a Posey single, a forceout, and then a Crawford RBI single. The Dodgers added three more in the eighth, as Will Smith homered, while Matt Beaty and Trea Turner each added RBI singles. A Posey single in the ninth was the only offense the Giants could muster over the final six outs. The series went to Los Angeles tied at 1-1.
Game 3: Giants 1, Dodgers 0
The only pitcher’s duel of the series came here, with Alex Wood and Max Scherzer going at it. Scherzer struck out the side in the first inning, while Wood set the side down in order on one strikeout. Both pitchers set down the side in order in the second inning, and the Dodgers’ ace did the same in the third. Scherzer had six strikeouts through three and ultimately wound up striking out 10 in seven innings of three-hit ball. To break the scoreless tie, Evan Longoria led off the fifth with a homer to dead center.
That was all the scoring for either side, as three Giants relievers combined to allow just three hits – all by Taylor Rogers – in 3 2/3 innings following Wood. The Giants’ started surrendered just two hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings while striking out four. Blake Treinen and Kenley Jansen each pitched a perfect inning, as Jansen struck out the side. But the Giants grabbed the series lead going into Game 4, with Gavin Lux barely missing a game-tying homer in the ninth.
Game 4: Dodgers 7, Giants 2
The Dodgers wasted no time getting off to a good start with their season on the line. In the first inning against Anthony DeScalfani, Trea Turner doubled to drive in Corey Seager, who singled with one out. After two straight singles in the second, Taylor came up with a sac fly that drove in Lux. DeScalfani was knocked out of the game after allowing a two-out single, replaced by Jose Alvarez. Betts smacked a two-run homer in the fourth to extend the Dodgers lead to 4-0. The former Red Sox added another in the fifth as he drove in Steven Souza Jr. on a sac fly.
The Giants had knocked out Buehler in the top of the inning and scratched a run across as Darin Ruf grounded out to score Longoria. Smith homered in the eighth with a runner on to extend the lead to 7-2 after The Giants had added another one in the top half. Phil Bickford pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to send the series back to San Francisco tied.
Game 5: Dodgers 2, Giants 1
The history between these two teams is off the charts, and it was meant to be that this series would come down to a Game 5. Do-or-die and it did not disappoint. After originally planning to go with Urias to start the game, the Dodgers wound up using Corey Knebel as an opener. He pitched the first inning and gave up one hit while striking out one. Graterol followed, and also struck out one in one inning. Then Urias came in and pitched four innings. All while Webb was completely shutting down the Dodgers bats.
After forcing a grounder back to the mound, Webb allowed Betts to single. He promptly stole second, setting up Seager to break the scoreless tie. The free agent to be did just that, doubling to left field and scoring Betts. It didn’t take long for the Giants to answer, as Ruf led off the bottom of the inning with a homer off of Urias. Webb set down the side in the seventh, and so did Treinen who came in for Urias.
Rogers came on in the eighth, and after a flyout, two singles, and a strikeout, Camilo Doval came on. He induced a flyout from Trea Turner. Kenley Jansen struck out two in a perfect eighth to set the Dodgers up with a chance to take the lead in the ninth. With one out, Justin Turner was hit by a pitch, followed by a single from Lux. Bellinger, who had a shaky regular season, came through with an RBI single. In the bottom of the ninth, the Dodgers were leading 2-1.
Scherzer came in to try and save the first game of his career. Crawford lined out, and then things got tense as Justin Turner made an error on a Bryant grounder to third. But Scherzer then got the next two batters, Wade Jr. and Flores, on strikes, not without controversy. On the third and final pitch of the game, Flores certainly appeared to check on a slider below the zone. But first-base umpire Gabe Morales thought differently, as he called Flores out on the swing. The entire baseball world knew it wasn’t a strike, but Morales apparently wanted to go home. Judge for yourself.
— Umpire Auditor (@UmpireAuditor) October 15, 2021
On the Dodgers side, Betts went 11-for-24 (.458) with one walk, one homer, and four RBI. Bellinger went 5-for-17 (.294) with a double, two walks, and three RBI. Smith was 6-for-21 (.286) with two homers, three RBI, and four walks. Scherzer allowed two runs on six hits and four walks while striking out 16 in 12 1/3 innings and earning a save. Urias struck out 10 in nine innings while allowing two runs on six hits and one walk. Graterol pitched 4 2/3 scoreless frames while just three hits and walking none. Treinen gave up one run in five innings while striking out six.
On the Giants’ side, Bryant went 8-for-17 (.471) in the series with one homer and two RBI. Posey was 6-for-20 (.300) with a homer and two RBI. Webb allowed just one run on nine hits and one walk over 14 2/3 innings in his two starts. He struck out 17. Rogers pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings while allowing five hits and one walk with one strikeout. Doval picked up a save in Game 3 while allowing one run on two hits and no walks in three appearances.
The Dodgers head off to face NL East winner Atlanta Braves, who recently took down the Milwaukee Brewers in four games. The Braves’ pitching has been on a roll as they shut down the Brewers lineup and matched up with the Brewers’ aces. This is a rematch of last year’s NLCS in which went the distance, with the Dodgers taking it in seven. The Giants hope to get back on top of the NL West after being bounced in the first round when they won the most games in the majors. Since a wild card team can’t have home-field advantage in later rounds, the series starts at Truist Park in Atlanta.
Teams: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves
Date: Begins on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 8:07 p.m. EST
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