It was always going to come down to this.
The Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers battled all summer for the NL West crown with San Francisco finally taking the division on the final day of the regular season. The bitter rivals naturally split the first four games of their NLDS matchup, setting up a winner-take-all Game 5 on Thursday night at Oracle Park, with the winner advancing to face the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS.
It's a historic Game 5, as only four other times in history have two teams that won over 100 games met in a do-or-die postseason game. Unfortunately for the Giants, history isn't in their favor when it comes to the previous four matchups.
While postseason history is tilting the scales in the Dodgers' direction, the Giants have won each of their last five win-or-go-home affairs. However, Madison Bumgarner pitched in each of the past three victories. With the left-hander now calling Arizona home, the Giants will have to find a different October hero Thursday night to vanquish the Dodgers once and for all.
Manager Gabe Kapler will hand the ball to young right-hander Logan Webb. The 24-year-old twirled a beauty in Game 1, tossing 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball as the Giants opened the series with a 4-0 victory.
The Dodgers surprisingly will counter with 29-year-old right-hander Corey Knebel over expected starter Julio Urias. Urias got the win in Game 2 and has not lost a game since June 21. Over the past two seasons including the playoffs, Urias has a record of 28-3. I know wins aren't a perfect stat, but that's still damn impressive.
The 107-win Giants and 106-win Dodgers have been separated by just nine total runs in their 23 games this season, including the playoffs. Recent MLB playoff history says the Dodgers might have the edge Thursday night.
But in a Game
7 5, anything can happen.