Three of the four Division Series were decided in four games, but the best matchup of them all will come down to a winner-take-all Game 5. The Los Angeles Dodgers were able to salvage Game 4 at home in order to push their highly-anticipated clash against the San Francisco Giants to a do-or-die Game 5 back in the Bay Area. The two NL West rivals will go toe-to-toe for the 24th and final time on Thursday night at Oracle Park.
It just had to end this way, didn’t it? The Dodgers have spent the vast majority of the season chasing the Giants. San Francisco ultimately edged out Los Angeles by a game in the final division standings, but both teams come into this one on even footing. Thanks to LA’s Wild Card win over the Cardinals, the Dodgers and Giants have each won 109 games (playoffs included) entering tonight’s finale.
Both teams will have the pitchers they would want on the mound in this one, too. The Giants will turn to Logan Webb, who stifled the Dodgers back in Game 1. The Dodgers, meanwhile, will start lefty Julio Urias, who was the winning pitcher in Game 2. The Dodgers have spent the majority of the season as betting favorites to win the World Series, but they’re actually underdogs on the road in this one. BetOnline has the Giants as -109 moneyline favorites to move on to face the Braves in the NLCS.
Dodgers vs. Giants Betting Odds
Los Angeles Dodgers
Over 7 runs (-104)
San Francisco Giants
Under 7 runs (-116)
The Dodgers have one of the most loaded rosters in the history of the sport, which is no small feat. LA added to its embarrassment of riches by trading for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner ahead of the deadline, but it still wasn’t enough to lift them over their archrivals in the division standings at season’s end. That said, LA was able to take care of business and win Game 4 with their backs against the wall.
Scherzer and Walker Buehler may be the headliners in this rotation these days, but Julio Urias is just as good as either of them. Buehler’s teammates said all the right things about how he was the guy they wanted on the mound facing elimination in Game 4, but they should feel pretty good about Urias getting the ball in Game 5.
Urias was MLB’s only 20-game winner this season, which is noteworthy for a few reasons. The Dodgers have taken it easy on the young lefty’s workload in the past, but this was the first year in which he was able to gain Dave Roberts’ full trust as a reliable starter. The 25-year-old logged a career-high 185.2 innings, which marked the first time in his major league career he’d even topped 80. The left-hander posted a tidy 2.96 ERA with a career-best 26.2 percent strikeout rate.
You don’t win 20 games in the show by yourself. Urias was also the beneficiary of good run support. The Dodgers scored an average of 6.12 runs in Urias’ starts during the regular season, which was the fourth-highest mark in the majors. Only Chris Paddack, Jose Urquidy, and Alek Manoah got more support from their offenses, but none of them started more than 22 games. The Dodgers did that kind of damage in 32 starts for Urias, and that doesn’t even include the nine runs of support he got back in Game 2. Playoffs included, Los Angeles is now 27-6 in the 33 games started by their young ace on the year.
The left-hander went 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA in five regular-season starts against San Francisco. Back in Game 2, he struck out five while yielding just a run on three hits in five innings of work. He threw just 72 pitches in that game, so he should be fresh for his outing tonight. He’s also no stranger to big moments, as he was one of Roberts’ most reliable relievers during last year’s World Series run. In six postseason games last year, Urias went 4-0 with a 1.17 ERA. He also pitched 2.1 innings of perfect relief and closed out the series-clinching win over the Rays in last year’s Fall Classic.
The Giants would have surely preferred to win the series at Dodger Stadium, but they have to feel pretty good about themselves coming into this one. San Francisco is a home favorite for the first time in the series with Webb back on the mound. The young right-hander quietly became the Giants’ ace as the season progressed, and he is pretty clearly the most trustworthy option for Gabe Kapler in a winner-take-all game.
The Dodgers couldn’t do anything the last time they faced Webb in Game 1. The 24-year-old turned in one of the best games of his career, striking out 10 Dodgers while scattering five hits over the course of 7.2 dominant innings. LA didn’t come particularly close to scoring in that game, either.
When he’s not striking guys out, Webb generally keeps the ball on the ground. That makes for an awfully tough combination for opposing offenses. Webb induced 12 ground balls to go along with his 10 Ks in the first game, while just six balls were hit in the air against him. During the regular season, Webb posted a ground ball rate of 60.9 percent, which would have been the highest mark in baseball among starters if he had logged enough innings to qualify for the leaderboard. The same can be said of his 18.5 percent fly-ball rate.
When he’s right, he’s a pitcher that won’t allow many extra-base hits. Webb went 6-0 at home during the regular season with a 1.96 ERA. He allowed just nine home runs in 148.1 total innings, as well. Los Angeles mustered just five total runs on seven hits in 16 regular-season innings against Webb over the course of three games.
The Dodgers’ chances of pulling the upset in this game hinge on whether they can alter their approach against Webb. He was pounding the strike zone in Game 1, and LA’s hitters could do almost nothing with what he was throwing. Webb threw his sinker more than any other pitch during the season (37.7 percent), which makes sense given his elite ground ball numbers. He threw his four-seam fastball just 9.7 percent of the time, as well.
Dodgers vs. Giants MLB Pick
The fact that both starters will be making their second consecutive start against the same lineup should bode well for both offenses. Familiarity is key in short series, and I’d expect both offenses to have better approaches against these starters. The Dodgers should be well aware of the fact that Webb is going to try and pound them with sinkers, sliders, and change-ups down in the zone. LA has to take advantage of the few mistakes he’ll make higher in the zone if they want better results in Game 5.
Webb is excellent, but I have a hard time believing he’s going to stifle this high-octane Dodgers offense for a second time in a row. I’d expect LA to come into this game more focused on the task at hand. The Dodgers have a slight edge in this one when it comes to postseason experience, especially on the mound. The Giants had to rely heavily on their bullpen to help them navigate Game 4, so Los Angeles’ cavalcade of relievers should be the fresher of the two relief corps coming into this one.
We don’t often get the chance to bet on the Dodgers as an underdog. If they can do some early damage against Webb, I like their chances of adding on against what should be a very familiar cast of characters in the Giants’ bullpen. Take the Dodgers’ moneyline on the road in Game 5.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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