Two NL West powerhouses will square off as the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the San Francisco Giants are set to do battle in Game 1 of the NLDS Friday. The Giants will host this one at Oracle Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 9:37 pm ET.
This will actually be a battle of the two best records in baseball this season. The Giants finished atop the MLB standings at 107-55 while the Dodgers were 106-56.
These two teams squared off 19 times this season, with the Giants holding a 10-9 edge. They actually were worse at home, though, as they were just 4-5 against L.A. at Oracle Park.
To get to this point, the Dodgers won a 3-1 nail-biter over the St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card round. Chris Taylor walked it off in the ninth inning with a two-run home run.
The Giants come into the postseason red hot as they won 10 of their last 12 to end the regular season.
Los Angeles is the favorite despite playing on the road Friday. They are -120 to win while the Giants’ moneyline is +102. The runline features San Francisco +1.5 (-178), and the over/under for total runs is seven.
The Dodgers are sending righty Walker Buehler to the mound for the opener. During the regular season, Buehler went 16-4 with a 2.47 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and struck out 212 in 207.2 innings.
He wasn’t quite as sharp to end the regular season as in his last seven starts; he went 3-2 with a 4.42 ERA. In 11 postseason games, Buehler is 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA.
The Giants will counter with 24-year-old Logan Webb. The righty was phenomenal this season, going 11-3 with a 3.03 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and struck out 158 in 148.1 innings.
In the last seven starts for Webb, he went 3-0 with a 3.98 ERA. It will be interesting to see how he responds Friday night, as this will be his first postseason start of his career.
By The Numbers
These were two of the best offenses in baseball this season. The Dodgers ranked fifth overall averaging 5.11 runs per game. The Giants were one spot behind them at sixth, averaging 4.96 runs.
Defensively, these two teams were again neck-and-neck. The Dodgers ranked atop the list in scoring defense, allowing just 3.45 runs per game to opponents. The Giants ranked second, allowing 3.67 runs per game.
Dodgers Continue Quest For Back-To-Back Championships
The Los Angeles Dodgers are trying to defend their championship from last season, and they are trying to prove that their success last year was not a product of the shortened season.
While the second-best record in baseball was good enough for just a Wild Card spot, they are hoping their emotional win Wednesday night carries over to Friday.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers are dealing with a couple of significant injuries as both Clayton Kershaw and Max Muncy are out, but their depth makes overcoming those injuries not impossible.
During the last couple weeks of the regular season, the middle infield pair of Corey Seager and Trea Turner were scorching hot. In their last ten games, Seager hit .500/.545/1.075 with six home runs and 11 runs batted in. Not to be outdone, Turner hit .463/.500/1.000 with six home runs and 15 runs batted in.
Giants Still Trying To Prove They Belong
Despite having the best record in all of baseball, the Giants still aren’t getting any love. They still have just the second-best odds to win the National League (+290), and they have the fourth-best odds of winning the World Series (+650).
Leading the offense for the Giants is All-Star shortstop Brandon Crawford. This season, he is hitting .298/.373/.522 with 24 home runs, 90 runs batted in, 79 runs, and 11 stolen bases.
Like the Dodgers, they did suffer a brutal blow to their offense late in the season with an injury to Brandon Belt. Prior to the injury, Belt was leading the team with 29 home runs.
Still, this lineup is deep from top to bottom with the likes of Mike Yastrzemski (25 HR0, Buster Posey (.304 avg., 18 HR), and Kris Bryant (.265 avg., 25 HR, 73 RBI).
Taking San Francisco On The Runline
If history has taught us anything, it is that this one has a good chance of being close throughout. In fact, of their 19 matchups, ten games were decided by two runs or less.
With the best two records in baseball going to battle, there is a good chance that this one could come down to the late innings to decide the outcome.
For that reason, the smartest bet is to take the runs, which means taking the Giants +1.5.