It was the Giants’ fourth NLDS game against the Dodgers on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, not what San Francisco was used to.
Giants coach Gabe Kapler had to hit his record-breaking bullpen early and often in a 7-2 loss, using seven pitchers after starter Anthony DeSklafani failed to emerge from the second half in a potentially decisive game in the series.
The Giants’ offense was not much better against Dodgers rookie Walker Buhler, who started his first three-day break for the first time in his career, and five Los Angeles-based Peters.
The series now returns to San Francisco on Thursday night, where the winner will face the Atlanta Braves for the National League pennant.
Here are some highlights from Tuesday night’s post-game media session with manager Gabe Kapler and players Buster Posey and DeSclafani.
As for Posey: Buster, you’ve obviously played a lot of games that are sure to win in the history of the Giants. How do you see this team and how do you think they will react to this situation on Thursday in the fifth game?
Posey: Yes, I mean, I feel like both our team and the Dodgers have been playing meaningful games for some time now. Obviously, this coming Thursday is the most significant moment for this moment, and it should be fun.
For Kapler: Could you summarize the upcoming Game 5 with a team you’ve played so evenly throughout the season (the Giants won the 10-9 season streak and finished one game earlier than the Dodgers in the West NL) and going downhill?
Kappler: I definitely think this is what we’ll be getting soon. I don’t think we’re going to spend a lot of time analyzing as a team in this game. I think we’re going to get on the plane, we have a day off, a real day off. We’ll schedule our workout a bit later. We’ll start preparing for game 5. (Logan, starting player of the first game) Webb will start this game for us. We are going, he is ready for this, and also prepare the rest of the Club.
From Dodgers manager (and former Giants player) Dave Roberts: After you guys won the Wild Card game, you said that was what baseball, the Dodgers-Giants, wanted. Do you think a 109-109 draw is what baseball wants, Game 5?
Roberts: This is what baseball wants. I mean, I think as far as I understand, all the shows are ready and so we will be the only show in town. So if you have a pulse or are a sports fan, you better watch Dodgers Giants. So it will be great.
For Kapler: What did you see at DeSklafani tonight and was it a command issue or was it just not the same life as his field?
Kappler: I think the Dodgers did a good job at him, first of all. And we’ve seen the Dodgers do some good shots against DeSclafani in the past, and basically here we just admitted it, admitted it and made the decision that we’re going to get through this and try to stay in the game with our bullpen. You asked what I see, what I saw with DeSklafani. I don’t think he had the best stuff. I don’t think he had the best team and I think the Dodgers got good hits from him.
For DeSklafani: Anthony, it looks like you’ve been a star player this season against every other team in this league, but the Dodgers seem to just know your number. Why do you think this is this year?
DeSklafani: They just get good players together, they have a good game plan. I don’t have a specific answer. It’s just that I’m just trying to stick with my game plan and attack, and I just haven’t made enough adjustments, I think.
Regarding Kapler: I think going back to the last home position, there were times when the squad might not have looked as effective as they did all year. Do you see anything different in their approach?
KaplerA: I would point out that some of the recent ones, I won’t even call them fighting, but lately we haven’t been explosive enough offensively to face some really good pitchers. I think that’s exactly what happens in the postseason. You just get a quality hand over a quality hand, and sometimes you have one big inning and you can win the game with that one big inning. Sometimes you have to go through a run like we did yesterday and that’s the one hit that makes all the difference and we’re going to cut our work against (Juilo) Urias in game 5 and we’ll be ready for that.
Regarding Kapler: You used a lot of weapons tonight. Do you expect the weekend to be pretty fresh for Game 5?
Kappler: I think everyone will stand up. It’s nice that while (Tyler) Rogers did throw after a longer run yesterday, he didn’t throw a ton of passes. Jake McGee didn’t throw a ton of passes. Zach Littell could probably go and serve some more, but we also wanted to keep him. Obviously, as good as it looks, it would be nice if it was available. I think that with our bullpen we will be in really good shape. I expect everyone to be ready to serve.
For Kapler: Logan Webb will be the youngest winner-take-all pitcher in franchise history. I know he has been doing this all year, but I think that in him, as a person or as a pitcher, gives you the confidence that he meets the requirements?
Kappler: I mean we can build on the track record of the last four months. It’s a long time, it’s a lot of starts, and it’s a few starts in some of the big games. He is a fully rested, prepared and confident reliever. I mean, that’s enough.
For Kapler, Thursday will be the 24th and will definitely be the last when you meet the Dodgers. It’s curious what you found out, what surprised you about them at the time, and how you think this acquaintance will somehow be played out.
Kappler: I think because it is such a great, balanced team, I don’t think there is anything that really stood out during this season when there was a moment when we learned something. I think their lineup was very well built in the end. This team is difficult to fight. They have a lot of options in their bullpen. All this, I think, was true throughout the season, but the lineup in the postseason is not bad.
From Kapler: What do you expect from the atmosphere given how strong this rivalry has been throughout the entire time, but especially this season and then this series?
Kappler: I am sure there will be a lively atmosphere. It would be great to come back to Oracle and get the support of our fans. And yes, we are looking forward to it.