SAN FRANCISCO – Giants manager Gabe Kapler did not announce his lineup ahead of the fifth winner-take-all NLDS game against the Dodgers, but he decided he was mostly guessing.
“There won’t be anything to surprise anyone here,” Kapler said ahead of the Giants’ short training session at Oracle Park on Wednesday night.
On the way, at least for a start, against the Giants and a trip to the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves is Dodgers’ tough left-hander Julio Urias, who beat the reliever in a 9-2 Los Angeles win in Game 2. weekend.
The Giants have been an active and efficient platoon team all season and they are not going to change their approach now. So this means that Kapler’s squad will likely include just one left-handed striker – Brandon Crawford – for the series’ decisive game.
“I think you can expect to have the guys we usually meet tomorrow against quality left-handers,” Kapler said. “I mean there are some ordering and positioning things that we always have to work on, but I don’t expect any big surprises.”
That points to the return to the starting lineup of Wilmer Flores, Austin Slater and Donovan Solano against Urias, the only 20-game Majors winner this season. If Kapler doesn’t change his mind, they’ll be joining Darin Roof, Chris Bryant, Buster Posey, Evan Longoria, Crawford, and Game 5 starting pitcher Logan Webb.
Aside from Webb, this is the same group that managed three hits and one run and hit Urias five times on Saturday night at Oracle Park. It has been speculated that the Giants might prefer a left-handed shot over Slater to Steven Duggar to provide better defenses in the far field.
Urias, 25, is no stranger to the Giants. He went 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA in five starts against San Francisco during the regular season. In 20 career matches against the Giants, he has a 2.61 ERA and averages more than an inning strike.
In late July, the Giants beat the Dodgers in two starts for Urias, but those were victories on a comeback against the Los Angeles bullpen. The Giants did make it to Urias in an 11-6 defeat on May 29 at Dodger Stadium, scoring seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits in five innings. Solano scored against Urias and Flores had three of the Giants’ 11 hits.
The Giants offensive clashed with the Dodgers, scoring just nine runs in their first four games.
It was a particularly tough streak for Flores (0 out of 8), Rufa (0 out of 7), Longoria (2 out of 14) and Solano, who lost five hits in bats.
Kapler thinks the lack of results is a little misleading.
“I can imagine all of our right-handed hitters and I feel like some of those who have struggled lately have really started to come back a bit and there have been guys who have been pretty consistently good throughout the season,” Kapler said. “There are opportunities. The quality at the bat was there. Sometimes this is not shown in the counter of the box. This is baseball.
“Even if everything goes close to being right, it doesn’t necessarily show up in the table. We want this to happen in Game 5 and we will do everything in our power to make it happen. ”