Dodgers struggle at the plate in 4-0 loss to Giants in Game 1 of NLDS

Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler, left, sits in the dugout with pitcher Clayton Kershaw.
Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler, left, sits in the dugout with pitcher Clayton Kershaw during a 4-0 loss to the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Buster Posey, Kris Bryant and Brandon Crawford each hit home runs to power the San Francisco Giants to a 4-0 win over the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLDS.

Dodgers’ offense goes missing in shutout loss to Giants in NLDS Game 1

Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler reacts after giving up a solo home run to San Francisco's Kris Bryant.
Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler reacts after giving up a solo home run to San Francisco’s Kris Bryant during the seventh inning Friday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

SAN FRANCISCO — A defeated Walker Buehler put his hands on his knees and looked away, down at the grass, as the hysterical, orange-towel-waving crowd rumbled along a frigid San Francisco Bay. Game 1 of the National League Division Series wasn’t over. The Dodgers had two turns to claw back, six outs for the offense to display some semblance of life and topple the San Francisco Giants on Friday. It just felt over.

Buehler understood the moment. Kris Bryant’s solo home run to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning put the Giants ahead three runs and three runs felt like 30 the way the Dodgers were faltering at the plate.

The Dodgers’ offense — a formidable entity on paper even without the injured Max Muncy — was nowhere to be found at Oracle Park. Logan Webb was toying with them in his first playoff start. The Giants’ bullpen, perhaps the best in the majors, loomed. Runs were precious, and the prospect of the Dodgers scoring any seemed remote.

The Dodgers wound up not plating any, falling 4-0 in the first postseason game in the fabled rivalry’s history five days after the Giants beat them out by a game for the National League West crown. They produced five hits and five groundouts back to Webb. They didn’t have a runner reach third base after the first inning. They’ve scored three runs in 18 innings across two games thus far this postseason.

“We just chased a lot more than we should have,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “If you don’t make adjustments then they’re going to keep going to the well. That was the story.”

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Final: Giants beat Dodgers 4-0, take first game of NLDS

VIDEO | 02:22
Walker Buehler and Dave Roberts talk about what went wrong in NLDS Game 1 loss

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler and manager Dave Roberts talk about the struggles that led to a 4-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday.

The Giants completed their Game 1 win over the Dodgers with a 4-0 win, handing the Dodgers their first postseason shutout since Game 3 of the 2018 NLCS.

The Dodgers finished with just five hits and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. The Giants scored did all their scoring via the long ball, with Buster Posey hitting a two-run blast in the first and Kris Bryant and Brandon Crawford adding solo shots in the seventh and eighth, respectively.

Logan Webb was the winning pitcher. Walker Buehler was charged with the loss.

Game 2 is tomorrow at 6:07 p.m.

Dodgers lose to Giants in Game 1 of NLDS.
(Wally Skalij; Jason Clark / Los Angeles Times)


Bottom 8th, 4-0 Giants: Another home run, this time by Brandon Crawford, extends Giants’ lead

The Giants led all of baseball in home runs this year. Tonight, they’ve shown why.

Brandon Crawford just hammered a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth off reliever Alex Vesia, who was making his postseason debut, to make it 4-0.

The Dodgers go to the ninth needing a lot of magic. They’ve have Trea Turner, Justin Turner and Will Smith due up.

End 8th: Giants lead 4-0


Mid 8th, 3-0 Giants: Logan Webb completed scoreless gem, exits to standing ovation

Logan Webb’s gem has come to an end with two outs in the eighth, after a Mookie Betts single and with a left-handed Corey Seager coming to the plate.

Webb, a 24-year-old who grew up near Sacramento watching the Giants, walking off the mound a long standing ovation, giving the sold-out crowd a wave before descending into the dugout.

Side-arm reliever Tyler Rogers ended the inning, getting Seager to ground out, ensuring Webb finished without being charged with a run.

His final line: 7 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 5 hits, 0 walks, 10 strikeouts, 92 pitches.

The Dodgers hit more ground balls back to him on the mound (six) than they had hits.

The key to Webb’s effectiveness: Early execution of a sinker-slider combination against a right-handed heavy — aggressively swinging — Dodgers lineup that led to a lot of grounders, then a gradual incorporation of a changeup that fooled hitters on either side of plate, helping him rack up punch outs as his outing went on.

Something to keep in mind, especially if the Dodgers don’t comeback: They would likely have to face Webb again in a potential Game 5, if the series gets there.

Mid 8th: Giants lead 3-0


Bottom 7th, 3-0 Giants: Kris Bryant hits solo home run; Walker Buehler exits after 6 1/3 innings

The Dodgers hole just got a little bit deeper.

Back on the mound to begin the seventh inning, Walker Buehler gave up a full-count solo home run to Kris Bryant, with the former Chicago Cubs slugger smashing a 96 mph fastball out to left-center.

As Bryant rounded the bases, Buehler bent over with his hands on his knees. Based on how things have gone at the plate for the Dodgers, a three-run deficit feels like a big hill to climb.

Buehler’s night ended two batters later. His final line: 6 1/3 innings, 3 runs, 6 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, 99 pitches.

It snaps a streak of nine-straight postseason starts in which he’d allowed no more than two runs.

Bottom 7th: Giants lead 3-0


Mid 7th, 2-0 Giants: Logan Webb matches season-high in strikeouts to keep Dodgers off the board

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Logan Webb delivers during the third inning.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Dodgers finally had a golden opportunity to get on the board in the sixth. With one out, Logan Webb made a mistake, hanging a slider that Will Smith hammered into the left-field corner for a double.

Suddenly, the Dodgers had a runner in scoring position, the tying run at the plate and back-to-back left-handed hitters due up against the righty in Matt Beaty and Cody Bellinger.

But then, in the span of eight pitches, Webb struck them both out.

The changeup was key in both at-bats. Webb got a quick strike on Beaty by throwing one over the outer corner, then buried another changeup and slider down and in to get him swinging.

Bellinger also failed to hit the changeup, swinging over the top of three of them to give Webb his 10th strikeout of the night — which matches his regular-season career high.

Oh yeah, and — even though the Giants bullpen began to stir that inning, Webb is still only at 77 pitches.

Mid 7th: Giants lead 2-0


End 6th, 2-0 Giants: Logan Webb through six scoreless innings

Dodgers second baseman Trea Turner walks off the field after striking out to end the top of the sixth inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Updating a stat from earlier: The Dodgers have had 20 at-bats in this game. Still only two have lasted longer than four pitches — and they were still both strikeouts.

Instead, Logan Webb is mowing through the order, completing a sixth scoreless inning by striking out Trea Turner and stranding Corey Seager at second after he had doubled.

Webb has only thrown 65 pitches so far, 45 for strikes.

An observation: Webb only threw seven changeups the first time through the order. Since then, he’s thrown that pitch 15 times, four of which led to whiffs and two that finished off strikeouts.

To this point, the Dodgers haven’t had any answers — through they do have a lefty bat on the bench in Gavin Lux (lefties were much better against Webb this year, and four of the Dodgers’ seven hardest hit balls so far have been from left-handed hitters).

Meanwhile, Walker Buehler is doing all he can to keep the Dodgers close. He just retired the side in order in the sixth and is at 91 pitches.

End 6th: Giants lead 2-0


Photos: Dodgers battles Giants in NLDS Game 1

Los Angeles Times veteran photographers Robert Gauthier and Wally Skalij are chronicling Game 1 of the National League Division Series between the Dodgers and Giants at Oracle Park in San Francisco.

Check out some of their best shots of the game.

Dodgers second baseman Trea Turner throws to first after forcing out San Francisco's Kris Bryant.
Dodgers second baseman Trea Turner, left, throws to first after forcing out San Francisco’s Kris Bryant to as part of a double play in the second inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler tosses the ball.
Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler tosses the ball after giving up a two-run home run to Buster Posey in the first inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
San Francisco, CA - October 08: Los Angeles Dodgers' Will Smith looks up after hitting a single during the fifth inning.
Dodgers catcher Will Smith singles against the Giants in the fifth inning.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

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Barry Bonds get raucous ovation between innings

Star watch: During the middle of the fifth inning, the Oracle Park scoreboard showed Giants legend Barry Bonds and basketball Hall of Famer Chris Mullin sitting side-by-side in the front row.

The crowd immediately started chanting Bonds’ name, and he stood up and gave them a wave. They responded with a raucous ovation.

In other news, the Dodgers are still not having against Logan Webb, who is through five scoreless innings on just 53 pitches.


End 4th, 2-0 Giants: Walker Buehler settling down with fastball-heavy attack

Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler stands on the mound during the second inning Friday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Walker Buehler has bounced back from the first-inning home run by Buster Posey, retiring nine of his last 12 with the only exceptions being two softly hit singles and a misplay by shortstop Corey Seager.

A big key: Buehler has dialed in his fastball command, an important development considering he’s thrown it on more than half of his 69 pitches.

During the regular season, the Giants were one of the better teams in baseball at hitting fastballs, ranking fourth in the majors in batting average (.280), first in slugging (.499) and third in home runs against four-seamers, two-seamers, sinkers, and cutters.

But the fastball is one of Buehler’s biggest strengths too. And since the first inning, he’s been using it to effect.

End 4th, Giants lead 2-0


Mid 4th, 2-0 Giants: Tommy La Stella turns impressive double-play as Logan Webb keeps on rolling

Dodgers leadoff batter Mookie Betts runs out to first on a groundout in the third inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Logan Webb ground ball machine kept humming the fourth. Despite Webb failing to cleanly field a tapper to lead off the inning from Corey Seager, he rebounded by striking out Trea Turner, then getting Justin Turner to hit into an inning-ending double play.

Second baseman Tommy La Stella made a spectacular effort to initiate the turn, making a backhanded stab at the ball then flipping it with his glove to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who then fired to first and beat Turner by a step.

So far, all eight of the balls the Dodgers have put into play have been grounder, with only Mookie Betts’ shift-beating roller in the first inning leading to a base hit.

Mid 4th, Giants lead 2-0


Mid 3rd, 2-0 Giants: Logan Webb off to strong start against Dodgers lineup

San Francisco starting pitcher Logan Webb delivers against the Dodgers in the second inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

This might be his first playoff game, but Logan Webb hardly looks bothered by the stage.

The right-hander has dominated so far, taking advantage of an aggressive approach from the Dodgers by inducing one groundball after another with his sinker-slider combination.

So far, only two Dodgers at-bats have lasted longer than four pitches — and they both ended in strikeouts.

As a result, Webb has retired nine in a row and is through three scoreless innings on only 33 pitches.

Mid 3rd, Giants lead 2-0


Jerry Rice and Steve Young kick off ‘Beat L.A.’ chant just before game

When they’re not crashing weddings or waiting out lightning delays at SoFi Stadium, Jerry Rice and Steve Young are tireless supporters of all things related to San Francisco pro sports.

Before the start of Game 1 of the NLDS, the two San Francisco 49ers legends got the Giants’ faithful fired up for the battle ahead by leading a “BEAT L.A.” chant.

Suffice to say it raised the decibel level at Oracle Park quite considerably, but will it be a game-changer?


End 1st, 2-0 Giants: Buster Posey opens scoring with two-run homer

San Francisco's Buster Posey follows through on a two-run home run against the Dodgers in the first inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Giants starter Logan Webb escaped trouble in the first inning, stranding a Dodgers runner at third after fielding a comebacker that hit off his leg.

Walker Buehler, on the other, did not.

After walking leadoff batter Tommy La Stella, Buehler got two outs before falling behind to catcher Buster Posey 3-and-0.

Trying to get back in the count, Buehler threw Posey a fastball over the upper-outside corner. But, Posey swung at it, launching a two-run opposite field blast that ricocheted off the bricks in right field and splashed into McCovey’s Cove.

End 1st, Giants lead 2-0


Scenes from Oracle Park as the NLDS gets underway

SAN FRANCISCO — It’s packed house in San Francisco as we get ready for first pitch, and we’ve already had plenty of “Beat LA” chants from the crowd.

There are a few smatterings of blue in the seat, especially down the first-base line near the Dodgers’ visiting dugout. But they were drowned out by boos when the Dodgers were introduced — Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger and Walker Buehler were met with the most visceral reaction — and cheers for when the Giants took the field.

After Giants broadcasters Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper threw out the first pitch, former 49ers stars Jerry Rice and Steve Young took the field to lead another “Beat LA” chant.


Clayton Kershaw won’t need surgery, declines to comment on future

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw watches as players warm up before Game 1 of the NLDS.
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw watches as players warm up before Game 1 of the NLDS against the Giants at Oracle Park on Friday.
(John Hefti / Associated Press)

SAN FRANCISCO — Clayton Kershaw knows he won’t be pitch again in 2021. The left flexor strain he suffered a week ago is too severe to return in time to help in the postseason. He knows he won’t need surgery, at least for now. His hope is that the platelet-rich plasma injection he recently received in his left forearm will suffice.

What he doesn’t know is whether he’ll throw a pitch for the Dodgers ever again, or so he reiterated Friday when he addressed a group of reporters before the Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the San Francisco Giants.

“I think I said a while ago I have no idea,” Kershaw said. “Still have no idea. So, we’ll win the World Series and go from there.”

Kershaw is a free agent once the season is over. He has had opportunities to publicly say whether he’ll re-sign with the Dodgers. He has declined to share his desires every time. On Friday, he said he was focused on helping the Dodgers repeat as World Series champions as a spectator.

“This month. This is all I care about right now,” Kershaw said. “So, I don’t want to distract anybody, take anything away from that. right now, we need to focus on the Giants and that’s what I’m focused. It’s obviously from a different vantage point right now, which is frustrating. Just going to try to be a good cheerleader for now.”

The Dodgers’ Trevor Bauer will insist that his sexual assault accuser pay his attorney fees; he contends she misused the restraining order process.

Oct. 8, 2021

The initial fear was that Kershaw tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow when he left his start against the Milwaukee Brewers in the second inning. He recalled instantly thinking the injury was more severe than the two setbacks he experienced in July that sidelined him for over two months. He assumed his season was over.

“We have tons of time so we’re going to be cautious this time,” Kershaw said. “I’ve never given it the rest that it needed. I’ve always for whatever reason -- whether trying to get back for the postseason or just really came back too early the first time so we’re going to be cautious this time. It’s going to be a little while, though, for sure.”

Kershaw said he should be ready for spring training because he doesn’t need Tommy John surgery, but he isn’t when he’ll be cleared to throw a baseball again. He’ll have all winter to work back into baseball shape for 2022. The future Hall of Famer turns 34 in March. Next season could be 15th with the Dodgers or his first on another team.

For now, he said, that isn’t on his mind. A year after heaving the load of a World Series off his shoulders, he’ll watch his team go on without him as they strive to win back-to-back championships for the first time in franchise history. He said it’ll be more stressful watching the games than pitching in them. It’s more frustrating, too. Whether they will be his final games in a Dodgers uniform remains a mystery for the offseason.


What to know about Dodgers-Giants NLDS Game 1

SAN FRANCISCO — An hour out from first pitch, here’s what you need to know about tonight’s game.

First pitch: 6:37 p.m. PDT.



Lineups for Game 1 in the NLDS

Dodgers notes: Starting pitcher Walker Buehler is back in the postseason, looking to add to his sterling reputation in big games. In 11 career playoff starts, Buehler has a 2.35 ERA with 83 strikeouts in just 61 1/3 innings. In his last nine playoff starts, going back to the 2018 NLCS, he has allowed more than one run just once.

“He just embraces the moment, these big games,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s performed well in these games, so that adds to the confidence in a situation like this. And just the talent. He has very good command, and he has the ability to attack a lot of weaknesses for hitters.”

This regular season, Buehler was one of the best pitchers in the National League, posting a 16-4 record with a 2.47 ERA, the best of his career. He was good against the Giants too, with a 2.19 ERA against the NL West champions in six starts against them — though the Dodgers went only 3-3 in those games.

The Dodgers kept the same lineup as Wednesday’s wild-card game, starting Matt Beaty at first base again and keeping Chris Taylor and Gavin Lux on the bench.

Some recent Dodgers NLDS history: The club has won five-straight Game 1’s in the best-of-five round. They’ve gone on to win four of those series, too, with their five-game defeat in 2019 to the Washington Nationals the only exception.

Giants notes: Right-hander Logan Webb will take the mound for the Giants, making his postseason debut. The 24-year-old was 11-3 with a 3.03 ERA this season.

A former fourth-round pick, Webb uses a mostly three-pitch mix of sinkers, sliders and changeups. He also throws a four-seam fastball and cutter. His fastball velocity sits in the low-to-mid 90 mph range, and his slider was his best pitch this season, generating a 47.1% whiff rate and limiting opponents to just a .156 batting average.

While fellow right-hander Kevin Gausman had slightly better stats overall this season, Webb got the start in part because of his strong second-half to the season (Webb had a 2.40 ERA over his final 20 starts, with the Giants winning 18 of them), his performance at Oracle Park this year (he had a 1.96 in 13 home games, with the Giants winning in each of them), and the team’s preference to give Gausman an extra day of rest.

Gausman on Friday said Webb not only deserved the Game 1 start, but noted that the moment might mean a little something extra for his Sacramento-native teammate too.

“He’s watched the Giants his entire life,” Gausman said. “So have I, but I think it’s just a little bit more special for him that he’s starting Game 1 and very deserving. I think every guy in the clubhouse would agree that he has been our best pitcher, especially in the second half.”

The Giants field a balanced lineup at the plate, with six different players who hit at least 18 home runs this season.


Dodgers, Giants discuss the first postseason meeting in the rivalry’s history

VIDEO | 02:14
Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts talks NLDS Game 1 and Giants rivalry

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts talks to the media ahead of Game 1 of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants.

SAN FRANCISCO — So baseball managers do look at social media after all.

At least one does anyway, with Giants skipper Gabe Kapler answering a question on Friday afternoon about the Dodgers-Giants rivalry by referencing the online activity between the two fan bases in recent days.

“I think what’s happening on social media right now is a good representation of what we can expect over the next couple of days,” Kapler said, admitting his morning routine usually includes a scroll through his social feeds. “Very passionate fan bases on both sides, very excited about this matchup, looking forward to see it unfold on the field, and it’s two very invested fan bases.”

The Dodgers-Giants rivalry — which was heightened this year by a wild division race won by the Giants, and will now include the first postseason meeting between the teams — was a topic of conversation throughout Friday’s pregame news conferences.

Here’s more of what the managers and players had to say:

Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford on the first postseason meeting between the clubs: “I mean, obviously a huge game, a huge series. I think it would have been that way no matter who we were playing. But probably some of the biggest games in this rivalry’s history since we’ve never faced off in the postseason before. But at the same time, I think we want to go out there and continue to be the same team that we were all season and not really treat this series any differently than we have any other series this year.”

Crawford, a lifelong Giants, later smiled when asked if he grew up hating the Dodgers.

“I was taught at a young age to not like them,” he said. “But I think, as a baseball fan, I always respected the other team no matter who it was, even if it was the Dodgers. I mean, I liked plenty of players, didn’t necessarily ever root for them, but respected them and appreciated some of their players throughout my time as a fan.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts on the hostility he thinks his team will face in San Francisco this weekend: “I don’t know about hostility. I do know it’s gonna be very loud. There’s gonna be a lot of black and orange … You’ve just gotta weather the moment. They feed off their crowd, as do we, at home. It’s really helpful and nice to know we have guys that have been in this environment.”

Giants pitcher Kevin Gausman on facing the Dodgers after beating them in the NL West race: “I don’t think anybody in our clubhouse is surprised. We obviously know how good of a ballclub they are. And coming off the season that they had last year, winning it all, have a little bit of experience of what to expect.

But, yeah, I feel like we’ve played them great all year. It’s been, I mean, all those series were really exciting, and especially in L.A., robbed home runs and home runs that we hit. I mean, it was just a roller coaster of emotion every time we played them. So I think everybody’s prepared for that going into this series and we’re expecting a dog fight for sure.”

Dodgers second baseman Trea Turner on his early impressions of the rivalry since joining the Dodgers this year: “It’s those few rivalries in the sport — Red Sox-Yankees, Giants-Dodgers, and a few others — that really stand out. So to be a part of it is really cool. Those games were electric. It blows my mind they’ve never met in the postseason. It blew my mind when I heard that. But I think a lot of that last series [against the Giants in the regular season] we played, we’ll have lots of similar games this next week. Hopefully we get the job done.”


Dodgers vs. Giants is more than a game. It’s California’s ultimate divide

L.A. versus San Francisco in first baseball playoff ever.
(Los Angeles Times)

California is a land mass of 164,000 square miles, spread like a leviathan along the Pacific. You can divide it any number of ways.

Inland versus coastal. Hollywood versus Silicon Valley. The crowded cities and suburbs versus the lightly populated rural expanses, where, given a choice, many would gladly break away to create a new state.

But there is no sharper split, no line dug deeper in California’s sandy beaches, than the divide between those who root for the Los Angeles Dodgers and fans of the San Francisco Giants.

Yes, at bottom it is about baseball. The two teams, who share one of the oldest and deepest-seated rivalries in professional sports, will settle their differences — for this season, anyway — in a best-of-five series beginning Friday night in the city by the Bay. The winner will go on to play for the National League pennant and a place in the World Series.


Clad in their trademark colors — orange-and-black, Dodger blue — the teams aren’t just a collection of players on a baseball diamond but the stand-in for a contest between cities that can’t be measured in balls and strikes, or decided by runs batted in or men left stranded.

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Betting lines and odds for Dodgers vs. Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS

The Giants are 18-2 in pitcher Logan Webb’s last 20 starts and the early betting attention has been in their favor. The Dodgers were a -140 favorite on DraftKings shortly after their wild-card win on Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals, That fell to -120 late Thursday night into Friday morning.

The opening total of seven was stable on Friday morning, though the over went from having -105 juice to -115 at DraftKings.

The Dodgers are 2-6 in their last eight games against the Giants and the season series had nine totals for over, nine go under and one push thrown in for an even split.


Shades of K-Rod, or Eric Gagne? This Giants phenom could haunt Dodgers

San Francisco Giants pitcher Camilo Doval delivers against the Atlanta Braves in San Francisco on Sept. 17
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Buster Posey, of course. Brandon Crawford has been here forever. Kris Bryant and Evan Longoria, All-Stars in other places.

For the most part, however, these San Francisco Giants are a fairly anonymous collection of pretty good baseball players: Wilmer and Wade; Donovan and Duggar; Austin and Ruf.

No disrespect intended, not to a team that won 107 games. If you’re a Dodgers fan, the name you ought to learn right now is the one most likely to put an early end to another blue October.

Meet Camilo Doval.

He is better known around these parts as the second coming of Francisco Rodríguez, the wonder child with lightning in his arm, the one who ascended from the minor leagues in the final weeks of the regular season and emerged as the most valuable pitcher on an unlikely World Series champion.

“A couple of weeks ago, I heard that for the first time,” Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said. “I said, ‘OK, let’s slow down a little bit.’

“K-Rod, that was just a phenomenon.”

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Dave Roberts and Gabe Kapler’s shared history extends beyond Dodgers-Giants rivalry

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, left, and Giants manager Gabe Kapler exchange lineups before a game in July 2020.
(Katelyn Mulcahy / Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO — Farhan Zaidi once chose the opposing manager over his own.

“The organization made that decision,” Zaidi clarified.

He giggled.

“I think our guy’s going to win manager of the year, so he’s pretty good,” Zaidi said.

Before he was the San Francisco Giants’ president of baseball operations, Zaidi was the general manager of the Dodgers and part of the brain trust that hired Dave Roberts.

The other finalist the Dodgers considered was Gabe Kapler.

Zaidi’s current and former employers will open a National League Division Series on Friday at Oracle Park, with Kapler leading the 107-win Giants and Roberts the 106-win Dodgers.

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Chris Taylor, Gavin Lux stay out of Dodgers’ lineup for Game 1 vs. Giants

Chris Taylor celebrates after hitting a walk-off home run against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

SAN FRANCISCO — The Dodgers will start the same eight position players from the wild-card game win when they open the National League Division Series against the Giants on Friday.

The batting order, however, is slightly different. Left fielder AJ Pollock, who batted sixth and went 0 for 3 Wednesday was dropped to eighth. First baseman Matt Beaty will move from seventh to sixth. Center fielder Cody Bellinger will bump up to seventh from eighth.

That means wild-card hero Chris Taylor and Gavin Lux will start the game on the bench. They’ll be joined by Austin Barnes, Albert Pujols, Steven Souza Jr., and Billy McKinney as the team’s reserves. The team remains without All-Star Max Muncy, who will likely miss the entire postseason with a left elbow injury. The first baseman crushed Giants pitching this season, clubbing eight home runs with a 1.056 on-base-plus slugging percentage in 78 plate appearances.

Without him, the Dodgers will encounter right-hander Logan Webb after scoring run one in eight innings Wednesday before Taylor’s walk-off two-run home run. It will be the 24-year-old Webb’s first postseason appearance, a far cry from his counterpart’s playoff experience.

Dodgers and Giants lineups for Game 1 of NLDS.
(Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

Walker Buehler will make his 12th career postseason start Friday. He owns a 2.35 earned-run average in 61 1/3 career playoff innings. Last year, he gave up five runs in 25 innings across five postseason starts to cement his reputation as a big-game hurler.

The Giants, however, will present a different challenge. No team is perhaps more familiar with Buehler than San Francisco. The right-hander faced the Giants six times this season. He surrendered five runs (three earned) in the first five matchups, but he gave up six over three innings Sept. 5 at Oracle Park.

The Giants won that day to take the season series 10-9. They ended up winning the National League West by the one game, snapping the Dodgers’ streak of eight straight National League West titles and claiming home-field advantage throughout the postseason.


Dodgers vs. Giants: Greatest rivalry in sports is about to reach another level

Los Angeles Dodgers' AJ Pollock, left, scores a run as San Francisco Giants catcher Curt Casali.
Dodgers baserunner AJ Pollock scores past San Francisco Giants catcher Curt Casali during a game on July 28.
(Tony Avelar / Associated Press)

They first met 131 years ago in Brooklyn.

They last met a month ago in San Francisco.

They have played 2,535 games, from sea to sea, through many lifetimes, across three centuries, fighting with bats, brawling with venom, fans chanting, players taunting, cities dancing, cities aching.

It is the greatest rivalry in sports. Nothing compares, nothing comes even close. No other duo can match their enduring animosity, their endless competitiveness, their relentless desire to knock the other one into the Elysian Park hills or dunk them in McCovey Cove.

The Dodgers. The Giants.

And now, for the first time, the postseason.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, heavens to Roseboro, goodness gracious Marichal, it’s really happening.

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Everything you need to know about the NLDS

The San Francisco Giants work out at Oracle Park on Thursday.
(Jed Jacobsohn / Associated Press)

Here’s what you need to know about the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants in the best-of-five National League Division Series, which begins Friday:

Game 1 pitching matchup: Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler (16-4, 2.47 ERA) vs. Giants right-hander Logan Webb (11-3, 3.03 ERA).

What’s at stake: Winner of NLDS advances to the best-of-seven NL Championship Series against the Milwaukee Brewers or Atlanta Braves. Loser is eliminated.

How they got here: The Dodgers, who finished second in the NL West with a 106-56 record, beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 in Wednesday night’s NL wild-card game when Chris Taylor lined a dramatic walk-off, two-run homer to left field in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Giants needed a franchise-record 107 wins to stave off the Dodgers in a heated division race that was not clinched until last Sunday’s regular-season finale, when San Francisco beat San Diego 11-4.

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Dodgers, Giants are ready to take rivalry to another level in the NLDS

Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts walks on the field at Oracle Park during a team workout on Thursday.
(Jed Jacobsohn / Associated Press)

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Giants gathered Wednesday night for a poker tournament, splitting the attention between stacking chips and scouting the National League wild-card game for their next opponent.

Giants front-office executive Yeshayah Goldfarb won the tournament, beating manager Gabe Kapler heads-up to outlast the competition. Four hundred miles south, the Dodgers survived the St. Louis Cardinals on Chris Taylor’s walk-off home run to set up the first postseason meeting in a rivalry that has spanned two coasts and 131 years in the NL Division Series.

The ending was heart-stopping, stomach-churning drama. The Giants just nodded their heads, observing the mayhem unsurprised.

“For me, it kind of felt like this was how it was going end up anyways,” Giants 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.”

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Nine reasons the Dodgers should be concerned about the Giants in the NLDS

San Francisco's Brandon Crawford walks onto the field at Oracle Park for a workout on Thursday.
(Jed Jacobsohn / Associated Press)

Most teams that win 107 regular-season games would expect to run away with the division title the way Secretariat did with the 1973 Belmont Stakes, when the great stallion capped a Triple Crown victory with a 31-length win.

The San Francisco Giants were afforded no such luxury despite setting a franchise record for wins this season. They had the Dodgers, baseball’s equivalent of Man o’ War, nipping at their heels all summer, the teams never separated by more than 2½ games from Aug. 20 on.

The Giants held off the relentless, 106-win Dodgers by one game to win their first National League West title since 2012, clinching the division with an 11-4 win over the San Diego Padres in Sunday’s regular-season finale.

The mettle they showed in fending off the defending World Series champion Dodgers — winners of their 107th game Wednesday night with their 3-1 walkoff victory over the St. Louis Cardinals — with a series of clutch hits and late-inning heroics down the stretch should give San Francisco plenty of confidence when the archrivals meet in the best-of-five NL Division Series beginning Friday night.

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Dodgers, Giants announce their NLDS rosters

Dodgers pitcher David Price pitches against the Colorado Rockies.
David Price
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

SAN FRANCISCO — The Dodgers will go with 12 pitchers and 14 position players on their National League Division Series roster against the San Francisco Giants.

David Price, who was left off the club’s wild-card roster, is the only notable addition. Walker Buehler was also added but he’s the Dodgers’ starting pitcher for Game 1 on Friday. That was expected.

Price was a $32 million middle reliever for most of the season, posting a 4.03 ERA in 28 relief appearances and 11 starts. He logged just 6 1/3 innings in September, giving up four runs and a 1.078 OPS to opposing hitters. He and Alex Vesia are the Dodgers’ two left-handed relievers.

Luke Raley and Zach McKinstry were removed from the roster while Steven Souza Jr. and Billly McKinney made it. Souza Jr. lined out in a pinch-hit appearance Wednesday. McKinney entered the game late as a defensive replacement at first base.