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Giants, Dodgers not surprised to be meeting in playoffs

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants mixed it up on Wednesday night, holding a watch party away from Oracle Park as the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals faced off in the Wild Card Game. As the innings went by, players, coaches and team executives played a poker tournament to pass the time.

They discussed the game as they tossed in their blinds, but most gathered at the poker tables didn't need to pay too much attention to the action. They had a pretty good idea the Dodgers would be coming to Oracle Park. 

"It kind of felt like this was how it was going to end up," outfielder Mike Yastrzemski said. "I felt like I didn't even have to watch the game to figure out who we were going to play."

That was a theme Thursday at Oracle Park, where both teams gathered for workouts and media sessions. Evan Longoria made it clear he thinks the postseason format should change to make sure teams this good don't play in a Division Series, but he wasn't surprised when it was the Dodgers who advanced. Logan Webb, the Game 1 starter, also expected it.

"The way the series went with those guys this year, you kind of just knew it was going to happen," Webb said. "You knew it was going to be us two, I think. It's been the two best teams in baseball all year and I'm super excited."

 

The Dodgers, the reigning champions, were supposed to be in this round, but not many outside of the Giants clubhouse saw them hosting the start of an NLDS. The Dodgers tried to chase them down the entire second half, but finished a game short. 

"Everybody talks about the Dodgers and the Padres and they have that chip on their shoulder," Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen said of the Giants. "You can see that."

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The teams played each other 19 times this season, with the Giants holding a 10-9 edge that was enough to give them the NL West. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said there are a few Giants pitchers -- most notably Camilo Doval -- that his team isn't all that familiar with, but noted that for the most part, these teams know each other inside and out after those 19 games, most of which were close and intense. Appropriately, Roberts used a poker analogy. 

"They have pretty much seen our hand, I think," Roberts said. "So now it's kind of, there's not a whole lot of tricks. They sort of play the game straight. We play the game straight. It's who is going to be a better team that particular night, who is going to play better baseball that particular night, and who is the first team to win three games."

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