The Giants and Dodgers played out a dramatic three-game series this week. Los Angeles avoided a sweep in the final game at Dodger Stadium thanks to an extra-inning victory. San Francisco might have won the series 2-1, but they left LA back at .500 again.
The Dodgers are a game-and-a-half back on the Diamondbacks, while the Giants are 5.5 back. A sweep might have given Bruce Bochy‘s club a sniff of contention, but they have been a .500 club all year, rarely swaying more than a couple of games either way.
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This series didn’t help anyone. San Francisco didn’t make it a four-horse race for the division, and Los Angeles did not close the gap to Arizona.
The Giants, for all the drama of their two late victories, struggled offensively again, scoring just eight runs in the series and managing a meagre six hits in 12 innings on Wednesday night. Their bullpen was not the same disaster as their rivals’, but Sam Dyson blew a lead in Game Two and all four runs in Game Three were given up by the ‘pen.
It’s not all bad
Manny Machado being Manny Machado on both sides of the ball, Brian Dozier‘s health and a stellar Clayton Kershaw outing were the positives for Los Angeles. Roberts might be given sleepless nights by his bullpen, but the star power at Dodger Stadium will win plenty of games down the stretch.
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For the Giants, just winning a series away at their fiercest rivals is reason to cheer. It’s not going to be like the even years earlier this decade, but that’s not to say this has been a wasted season. Youth has come to the fore. Dereck Rodriguez, Steven Duggar and Austin Slater all contributed in this series, that’s significant for the 2019 Giants and beyond.
Above all else, this was a brilliant baseball series. It had tension (yes, I’m looking at Nick Hundley and Yasiel Puig), it had late drama, it had excellent pitching, and it was relevant. Plenty of August games are meaningless for this year’s standings. This series was not.
The position of each team in the playoff race has barely changed over these three games. In a way, though, that was the beauty of this hard-fought series. Both teams are – just about – still in contention. Baseball doesn’t get much better than a late season rivalry with all to play for, even more so when all three games are decided late on.
This series was just a great advert for baseball.