Take away Anthony DeSclafani's stats against the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, and the Giants starter was downright dominant. Without those six regular-season starts, he's 13-4 with a 2.37 ERA. That's the kind of pitcher you dream of giving the ball to in a Game 4 with the chance to take home a series and crush the dreams of your dreaded rival.
The problem is, DeSclafani wasn't facing a different team. He again was going up against those dreaded Dodgers, a team that scored 22 earned runs off him in 27 innings pitched going in Tuesday night. His struggles didn't stop in the postseason, either.
DeSclafani lasted only 1 2/3 innings in the Giants' 7-2 loss, pushing the National League Division Series to a winner-take-all Game 5 on Thursday night in San Francisco. To his manager, it's simple: The Dodgers were just better than DeSclafani.
"I don't think he had his best stuff," Gabe Kapler said after the loss. "I don't think he had his best command and I think the Dodgers were getting good swings off him."
Kapler's starting pitcher allowed two earned runs while giving up five hits in his short outing. San Francisco's skipper was forced to go to his bullpen early and often, trying to find one arm who could close the door. When it was all said and done, eight pitchers, including DeSclafani, toed the rubber Tuesday night.
Game 4 was DeSclafani's first taste of the playoffs, and it couldn't have come with a bigger amount of pressure. It also came after extra rest in between starts. The 31-year-old hadn't pitched in a game since Oct. 1 when he tossed five shutout innings in a blowout win over the San Diego Padres.
He doesn't think the long layoff had much to do with his latest issues in Los Angeles, though.
"Not in particular," DeSclafani said. "I had a full season under my belt and felt pretty good, was trying to stay as fresh as I could just through bullpens and stuff like that.
"But body felt good and all that -- so, no, not really."
DeSclafani first faced the Dodgers this season on May 23. He lasted one more inning but allowed 10 earned runs in an 11-5 loss. Fast forward nearly five months later, and he's still searching for answers against the Dodgers with the Giants' season on the line.
"They're just putting good at-bats together, have a good game plan," DeSclafani said. "I don't have the particular answer. I just try and stick to my game plan and attack. I guess I haven't made enough adjustments."
To go Game 5 we go, where both the Giants and Dodgers will look to find one final answer on each other.