The Giants and Dodgers play Game 5 on October 14th 2021. Their first ever playoff matchup was always going to end this way. Two franchises forever tied together were destined to go the distance in this best-of-five Division Series. The only downside is that it has to end here for either a team with 107 wins or a team with 106.
Giants vs Dodgers Game 5 Preview
These teams know each other better than anyone. Both analytics departments have their work cut out to find a fresh angle.
Perhaps one of the teams has a masterstroke, leaving opposing hitters baffled by a change in pitch mix or tweaking the pitcher usage. More likely, though, is the key factors for Game 5 of the NLDS will take from what we’ve already seen in this matchup.
The Giants vs Dodgers is arguably MLB’s greatest rivalry. It’s already been a classic playoff series, and we are inevitably in for further drama on Thursday in The Bay.
Here are our keys to Game 5 of the Giants vs Dodgers NLDS.
Dodgers laying off Webb
Logan Webb shone in Game 1. Throwing more changeups and with his stuff looking as good as ever, the Dodgers could not cope. They chased too much. They gave him easy outs. He got deep into the game, holding the Los Angeles offense to no runs.
He threw a season-high 38 changeups and drew a season-high swing and misses, too. While a repeat of that is unlikely, Webb’s change will go a long way to deciding Giants vs Dodgers Game 5. If Webb’s third pitch is elite along with his sinker and slider, even this potent Dodgers offense could be facing down the barrel.
Incredible night for Logan Webb 👏 👏 👏 pic.twitter.com/sXznAerbX1
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) October 9, 2021
The Giants starters haven’t been going deep in the second half of the year. San Francisco’s bullpen was clearly fatigued down the stretch. Getting length from Webb is huge on Thursday, particularly with how their middle relievers have struggled in this series.
Kevin Gausman’s availability is a factor too, of course, but he’s had his own issues with Los Angeles.
Webb has put up consecutive gems in big games – can he make it three in a row?
Where are those Giant bats?
San Francisco led the National League in homers. They were an elite offense from start to finish on their way to a franchise-record win total. Gabe Kapler’s team have scored just nine runs in these four Division Series games.
Sure, the Dodgers pitching has been immense. Sure, Brandon Belt’s injury is a massive blow. Yet these Giants should still be able to muster more, and they will need to find their regular season form on Thursday night.
THE WORLD HAS MISSED PLAYOFF BUSTER POSEY SO MUCH AND HE IS BACK BABY
— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) October 9, 2021
Both of their RBIs in Game 4 were on groundouts. All five of their runs in their two wins came on the long ball, and while that has served them well until this point, a twitchy Oracle Park crowd would love to see some hits with RISP.
Early success against Urias is key for San Francisco. The Dodgers bullpen has been lockdown so far this series, and they could even have Max Scherzer available on short rest.
Dodgers All-Stars stand up
The production of the Dodgers lineup is obviously tied to Logan Webb’s performance. Dave Roberts bemoaned his team’s lack of discipline in Game 1, though, and it will be interesting to see if the Dodgers can get back to their usual selves against Webb in Game 5.
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) October 9, 2021
Los Angeles were at their best at the plate in Game 4. Barely chasing and making solid contact in the zone, they tortured Giant pitching all night. It also saw Trea Turner and Justin Turner return to a normal level of production.
The Turners are the engine room of the Dodgers offense. If they start hitting again with Mookie Betts on fire, Cody Bellinger finding his swing and Will Smith doing damage, it’s going to be a long night for Webb and co.
Even without Max Muncy, the Dodgers offense is the best on paper in the sport. They could blow the Giants away in Game 5 of this NLDS. Webb’s record at Oracle is exceptional, though.
Giants vs Dodgers prediction: Giants outlast Dodgers in pitching duel, win 4-3
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