San Francisco – Gotta give something. Finally.
The Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants have measured themselves against each other throughout the years. They each have now won 109 games (thanks to the Dodgers’ wild-card victory). They have gone head-to-head 23 times, with only five runs separating both teams (in favor of the Dodgers) from those passionate engagements.
Separating baseball’s two best teams would require a 24th meeting—the 110th win for a team. The winners of Game 5 of the National League Division Series on Thursday night will advance to a best-of-seven NL Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves. The loser has to wonder how a 109 win can feel like a failure.
“I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this. I was hoping we’d win three straight,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts joked Wednesday afternoon. “But I guess if you’re talking about baseball We’re — this is the first time we’re playing in a postseason series, the way the regular season played out… it was inevitable, yeah.”
If a final clash between the Dodgers and the Giants was inevitable, neither is the challenge whether the Dodgers are going to move on to a second consecutive NLCS clash with the Braves. They have to solve Logan Webb’s puzzle.
The 24-year-old right-hander had worked his way up with the Dodgers in Game 1, catching them in five hits while scoring 10 runs in a 7-2/3 scoreless innings in his first postseason start. The Giants have won 19 of their last 21 (including Game 1) and 11 of their last 12, during which Webb has 2.57 ERAs.
Giants catcher Buster Posey said of Webb’s pitch mix, “They have three pitches that are elite, so it’s definitely a luxury on my end.” “They have the ability to take people out in many different ways, and that’s a recipe for success, that’s for sure.”
Webb relied heavily on his off-speed pitches in Game 1, including a slider on which batsmen hit just .156 this season. Of his 92 pitches in the series opener, Webb played just 25 fastballs to the Dodgers, 20 of them sinkers. He threw his slider 29 times and his change 38 (the most at any start in his career).
Later, Roberts criticized his hitters as harshly as he ever would, saying they failed to “adjust”, chasing a lot of Webb’s pitches out of the strike zone – very uncharacteristic of the Dodgers lineup. . No team went outside the strike zone on a lower percentage of pitches than this season (27.8).
Using a golf analogy, Roberts said he stuck with one club – the “driver” – all play. That will have to change in Game 5, he said on Wednesday.
“I think you see what Webb has done to us and obviously he threw baseball against us really well,” Roberts said of Webb, who played three regular seasons against the Dodgers. In the beginning of 16 innings, only five earned runs were allowed on seven hits. . “He has really good stuff. There’s a lot of action in the ball and when he’s right, he has a really good command, and when he’s not, the ball moves a lot. So me Guess it’s the idea to just stay small, use a bigger part of the field, because… so this kind of play is just a bad approach for the Slugs.
“For us, we’re walking when it’s going well. We are counting down. We’re essentially getting the pitcher himself into trouble. We are not very aggressive in the strike zone but aggressive. So that’s like yin and yang. You want your hitters to be aggressive, but more for their territories, when we start expanding — and Logan is an east-west guy, so he’s trying to expand us east-west. If we can stay locked in our field, then only we can do our best. ”
If the Dodgers adjust their approach against Webb this time, Giants manager Gabe Kapler thinks Webb has variety in his pitch mix to counter.
“When the pitcher has two great secondary weapons, they have a nice sinking fastball that they can hit high at times, and they see some adjustments being made either early in the game or later in the game. They can always move on to those other secondary weapons, if they’re doing a better job,” said Kapler. “They can pitch more in the zone if necessary. If you’re looking at a passive approach, So they can try to pick the edges of the zone or go out of the zone for a few swings and misses.
“So it’s true for Logan, but it’s true for all pitchers. They’re going to be able to adjust their pitch usage. They’re going to be able to adjust how often they are in the zone, they How quickly are pitching to contact (in counting), things like that.”
One thing Webb won’t change is his pre-game routine—and that includes an unhealthy amount of Red Bull. He said he drinks three of the heavily caffeinated energy drinks before each start — “right before or after I hit the field, right before starting my stretch with the trainer, and again at the end of my warmup. ”
“I’ve always loved Red Bull,” he admitted during Wednesday’s press conference. “I honestly started drinking it when I was at Travel Ball, when I was really young.
“Don’t be mad about my dad or mom or anything.”