Sports

The Two Best Teams In MLB Set To Face Each Other

Corey Seager #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers trots around the bases after hitting a solo home run off Sammy Long #73 of the San Francisco Giants in the top of the ninth inning at Oracle Park on September 04, 2021 in San Francisco, California. The Dodgers won the game 6-1.
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

 

After the Los Angeles Dodgers got rid of the tough St. Louis Cardinals in dramatic fashion on Wednesday night, MLB’s best and most attractive playoff matchup was on.

The San Francisco Giants and the Dodgers will face each other in a best-of-five Division Series, a fitting culmination for a season-long battle for supremacy in the National League West.

Only three teams achieved 100 victories or more in the MLB regular season.

One of them was the Tampa Bay Rays, the only club in the American League to reach the mark: they finished 100-62.

Which were the other two?

Yes, the Dodgers and the Giants.

Both teams fought hard for the division crown all year long, and the Giants, against all odds, ended up prevailing with a 107-55 record.

The Dodgers are not far behind, with a 106-56 mark.

Both teams are incredibly close to each other in talent level and roster quality.

 

Two Premier Organizations

This is a huge victory for the Giants: the Dodgers, for years, have been recognized as MLB’s premier organization at getting the best out of their players.

They rescued several careers and maximized their own minor leaguers: now, Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Chris Taylor, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, and Will Smith, just to name a few, are considered stars.

They also brought in quality players via free agency (AJ Pollock a few years ago, for example) and via trade (Trea Turner, Max Scherzer come to mind).

However, the Giants worked hard and produced their own recipe for success.

Offseason acquisitions didn’t include much more than Jake McGee and Anthony DeSclafani, and both have been amazing.

But the real victory has been a fantastic coaching, analytics, and player development staff that has resurrected several careers: Brandon Crawford, Evan Longoria, Buster Posey, Darin Ruf, LaMonte Wade Jr., Alex Wood, and many more.

Both teams are talented and resourceful, and it’s a shame one of them will have to go home after the series.

By the numbers, both teams are absolutely elite.

Besides the obvious conclusions we can draw from their records, they also have the best run differentials in MLB: the Dodgers ended the season at +269, and San Francisco at +210.

Los Angeles had the fourth-best offense in runs scored per game, with 5.1, and were fifth in OPS (.759), fourth in home runs (237), and fourth in OBP (.330).

Pitching-wise, they were absurdly good.

Los Angeles allowed only 3.5 runs per game, the fewest in baseball, and had the lowest ERA at 3.01.

The Giants, on the other hand, were equally good at both aspects of the game.

Their offense was the sixth-best in MLB with 5.0 runs per game, and they were fourth in slugging with .440.

They had the second-best pitching staff behind the Dodgers, with 3.7 runs allowed per game.

 

Crucial Injuries On Both Sides

Injuries are, sadly, part of the game.

Brandon Belt, who suffered a thumb fracture late in the season, said his goal is to return for the Championship Series, but it’s not a given.

On the Dodgers’ side, slugger Muncy and ace Clayton Kershaw won’t pitch in the NLDS and are iffy for the rest of the playoffs.

Muncy (elbow) will be immobilized for the next couple of weeks.

Kershaw, who reported renewed discomfort in his left elbow, has already been ruled out for the postseason.

It’s a huge blow for the pitching staff.

Both teams will try to overcome these key injuries and win against their arch rivals.

Everything is ready for a showdown for the ages.



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