Video Credit: MLB

FSM Essential Recap: Dodgers vs Giants – Series 44

Los Angeles Dodgers (86-51  |  San Francisco Giants (87-50)


“Listen, if you start worrying about the people in the stands, before too long you’re up in the stands with them.”

– Tommy LaSorda


Game 3:

Dodgers vs Giants
Photo Credit: Sergio Estrada/USA TODAY Sports

Walker Buehler had his worst and shortest start of the season, the Giants capitalized on opportunities while the visitors did not in a 6-4 San Francisco triumph. The Dodgers leave town in second place in the National League West.

The Giants are up in the division by one game, with 25 left on the schedule. Sunday night gave San Francisco the season series win over the Dodgers, 10 games to nine, which means should the two teams end up with the same record through 162 games, Game 163 would be right back at Oracle Park.

If the Dodgers are in position to be able to line up their rotation how they want, Buehler would likely still be the pitcher they’d want starting such a game, with his 2.35 postseason ERA and his Game 163 brilliance in 2018.

But on Sunday, it just wasn’t Buehler’s night. He gave up six runs in all, one more than his total in his five previous starts against the Giants this season.

“They were on him tonight,” manager Dave Roberts said. “There were some missed locations, there was some tough luck, and also some quality contact. There just wasn’t a lot of swing-and-miss stuff.”

The second inning offered a glimpse of how this game would go. Two hits and a walk gave the Dodgers their first run, tying the game, and a wild pitch put runners at second and third with nobody out.

Chris Taylor popped out in the infield, Cody Bellinger struck out swinging, as did Buehler, stranding both runners.

In the bottom of the frame, Brandon Crawford walked and Mike Yastrzemski doubled, putting the Giants in the exact same position, with runners on second and third and nobody out. Steven Duggar, called up before Sunday’s game, tripled to right field, scoring both runs, then scored on a single by pinch-hitter Darin Ruf.

The Dodgers scored none after that two-on, none-out situation, and the Giants scored three.


Dodgers vs Giants
Photo Credit: Sergio Estrada/USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco hit the ball hard all night against Buehler, though “all night” was shorter for the Dodgers ace than at any point this season. Buehler only lasted three innings, allowing at least a run in all three innings.

Buehler allowed a home run, a triple, and three doubles. The five extra-base hits are a season-high, and the third-most he’s allowed in any game in his career.

That Buehler got hit around was surprising not just because he’s a National League Cy Young contender, and even with his clunker on Sunday still leads the majors in ERA (2.31). But it underscores just how excellent Dodgers pitching has been, with a 2.30 ERA in 31 games since the beginning of August. Buehler was the first Dodgers pitcher to allow more than three runs in a game since all the way back on July 29.

This was a big game, but there’s a month left to play,Buehler said. “It boils down to playing a better month of baseball than they do. That’s our goal and that’s my goal.


Game 3 Boxscore:


WP: Zack Littell (2-0)

LP: Walker Buehler (13-3)

HR: Albert Pujols (16); Brandon Belt (21)


The Dodgers have a quick turnaround with a trip to St. Louis for a four-game series against the Cardinals. Max Scherzer flew east ahead of the team to start Monday’s series opener with right-hander Miles Mikolas starting for St. Louis. The first pitch is at 1:15 and can be seen on SportsNet LA.



Game 2:

Dodgers vs Giants
Photo Credit: John Hefti/AP

The Dodgers rode the stability of Julio Urías, turned on the power, and utilized a rejuvenated Mookie Betts to beat the Giants 6-1 on Saturday night in San Francisco, pulling back into a tie atop the National League West.

After Friday night’s loss, manager Dave Roberts said he felt the team was playing from behind all night. They had no such issues on Saturday, outdoing the 11-inning output in the opening frame alone on Saturday.

Trea Turner started the game with a home run to center, his third since joining the Dodgers and 21st long ball of the season. Betts followed with a one-out walk and stole two bases, the second coming on a double steal with Justin Turner.

Those were the first stolen bases for Betts since June 25, with two different injured list stints for his right hip taking up the bulk of time in between. Those steals, plus Tuesday’s mad dash around the bases, scoring the winning run from first base on a double, have Betts looking much more like his dynamic self of late.

I’m in a good place mentally, just knowing that I can actually run and go play the game the right way, to play hard and not have to worry about anything,” Betts said Friday. “It definitely helps clear my mind, and it’s easy to just focus on the game.

AJ Pollock capped the three-run first inning with an RBI double, but he was picked off trying to steal third base and suffered a Grade 2 strain of his hamstring. Pollock had to leave the game without ever playing on defense, and is expected to miss at least 2-3 weeks.

The Dodgers added an insurance run in the sixth inning thanks to some help. Justin Turner singled and took second by an airmailed throw by shortstop Mauricio Dubón, advanced to third base on a wild pitch by reliever José Quintana, then scored on a balk.

Corey Seager added a solo home run of his own in the ninth inning, part of a two-run frame-off Sammy Long, the eighth pitcher used by the Giants in the first of two consecutive bullpen games.

Six runs were the Dodgers’ highest total in 15 games since a nine-run outburst on August 18.


Dodgers vs Giants
Photo Credit: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

That Dodgers scored at least six runs for the 15th time in Urías’ 27 starts, which was more than enough on Saturday thanks to another solid outing for the left-hander.

It’s a blessing to have the offense like the one we have, especially when I’m on the mound,” Urías said, through a translator.

Urías scattered eight hits in his 5⅔ innings, his 96 pitches tying his most since the All-Star break. Urías allowed three doubles, though all of them were with two outs. He only allowed one run, thanks to holding San Francisco to 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

The bar has been raised for Julio,Roberts said. “The way he goes deep into games, the expectation to win every time he takes the mound, the ability to navigate and minimize damage. Tonight, he did that.”

He didn’t quite complete six innings, something he’s done just once in his last seven starts, but Urías has pitched at least five innings in all but one of his 27 starts. It’s stability the Dodgers have craved since the beginning of July, when they’ve had between three and four actual starting pitchers at a time.

Since July 1, Urías, Walker Buehler, and Max Scherzer have lasted at least five innings in 27 of 28 starts. In the other 28 games, the Dodgers have just five individual outings of at least five innings.

Since returning from the injured list, Urías has allowed three runs in 16⅔ innings in his three starts, with only two walks to go with his 19 strikeouts. Urías struck out eight Giants on Saturday, and completed a whiff of Darin Ruf in the fifth inning with a 97.2-mph fastball, the fastest pitch Urías has thrown all season.

There were signs of being tired, right when that calf went out a little bit,Roberts said of Urías before the game. “From that point, there has been a recharge.”

Saturday’s start puts Urías at 156⅓ innings this season, 28⅔ more than he’s ever thrown in any year, and with potentially two more months left on the schedule.

In a vacuum it’s going to be considerably more than he’s ever pitched, but I do think with Julio’s work, and another year of age, getting stronger and being more efficient in how he attacks each start, is going to allow us to get through it,” Roberts said. “There’s no more respite. We’re going to go through the end of October, and we expect him to be a big part of it and be fresh.”


Game 2 Boxscore:


WP: Julio Urías (16-3)

LP: Jay Jackson (2-1)

HR: Trea Turner (21), Corey Seager (8)


Walker Buehler is on the mound for the Dodgers on ‘ ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.’ The first pitch is at 4:08 and can be seen on ESPN. The Giants using another bullpen game.



Game 1:


Dodgers vs Giants
Photo Credit: Tony Avelar/AP

Runs were so hard to come by on Friday night at Oracle Park that the Dodgers nearly made two outs at third base on the same play to end the game. After that, just about every box on the weird baseball bingo card was checked before this game was decided on a bad throw to first base.

The Giants outlasted the Dodgers 3-2 in 11 innings, ending L.A.’s two-day residency atop the division.

The final play was a ground ball by Buster Posey to second baseman Trea Turner, who threw high to catcher Will Smith, playing his first professional game at first base.

I got a good grip on the seams and let it go, and it pulled Will off the bag too much,” Turner said. “That play could have given us another chance, and I need to make that play.”

I thought I kept my foot on the bag. The ump thought otherwise, then we went back and looked at the replay, and it was pretty close,” Smith said. “If they would have called him out, he would have been out on the replay.”

Smith moved from behind the plate to first base in the 10th inning after the Dodgers ran out of position players. He said he played some first base in fall scrimmages in college at Louisville.

I’m still athletic enough to play anywhere on the field, and tonight they needed me to go to first base,” Smith said.

The Dodgers had Albert Pujols, the oldest player in MLB, as the free runner in the 10th, and he advanced from second base to third on a fly ball. Then he was replaced by pinch-runner Walker Buehler, who is slated to start on the mound Sunday. Buehler scored the go-ahead run on another fly ball, but the lead was short-lived.

Andrew Vasquez, acquired in a minor-league trade from the Twins on Tuesday and added to the roster on Thursday, made his Dodgers debut in the 10th, trying to protect a one-run lead. It was his first major league game in 29 months.

The left-handed Vasquez — the Dodgers’ 39th pitcher of 2021 — got two ground balls, the first of which found its way through to center to score the free runner Posey from second base to tie the game. After Vasquez struck out Mike Yastrzemski, he was pulled in favor of right-hander Evan Phillips, the Dodgers’ 11th pitcher of the night in an impromptu bullpen game.

Phillips escaped the 10th inning without further damage and nearly kept the Giants scoreless in the 11th, as a clean throw from Turner would have ended the inning. But it wasn’t to be, and both teams might need to scramble for the remainder of the series.

Those two were really bright spots,” manager Dave Roberts said of Vasquez and Phillips.For the game to end like it did, I feel bad for Evan. He did everything he could to help us win a ballgame.”

Friday’s game, and really this entire weekend, is about both teams trying to make the most out of what they have.

Both teams used a pinch hitter in the third inning. The Dodgers did it because they deployed a bullpen game, hastened by soreness in David Price’s left elbow. San Francisco, with both Johnny Cueto and Alex Wood sidelined, will use bullpen games of their own on Saturday and Sunday, after using five relievers on Friday.

The Giants’ pinch-hitter in the third inning was Austin Slater, but he wasn’t batting in place of a pitcher. Slater, a right-handed batter, replaced the left-handed Lamont Wade, Jr., San Francisco’s cleanup hitter on Friday. The move paid off in spades when Dodgers southpaw Alex Vesia left an 0-2 fastball up that Slater lined a single to left field to score the first run of the game.

For a long while, it looked like that single run might hold up, thanks to a struggling Dodgers offense.

Since Mookie Betts was activated off the injured list on August 26, the Dodgers have had their full complement of regulars available for the first time. But so far, it hasn’t mattered much, with the Dodgers scoring only 3.13 runs per game, topping out at five runs twice.

Offensively we just really didn’t threaten,” Roberts said.

They managed only two hits in six innings against Giants starter Anthony DeSclafani, who kept L.A. off the scoreboard in by far his best start against the Dodgers this season. The right-hander allowed 22 runs in 21 innings in his first five starts against them in 2021, but struck out five and worked around three walks to get through six scoreless frames.


Dodgers vs Giants
Photo Credit: Neville E. Guard/USA TODAY Sports

After only three hits in eight innings, the Dodgers managed three hits off old friend Jake McGee to tie the game in the ninth. But not before a potential heart-stopping sequence. Corey Seager doubled with one out to advance Justin Turner to third base. A hard Smith grounder to second started a rundown between third and home.

Turner retreated to third base, where Seager already advanced. Posey tagged both Dodgers while they were on the base, and Seager was called out. But then both Seager and Turner walked off the base, thinking they were out.

For a brief moment, it seemed Posey might have been able to tag Turner to end the game, but Turner made it safely back to the bag.

With the game still going, Chris Taylor blooped a ball into short centerfield to tie the game, but they were unable to tack on another run until the 10th-inning exploits of Pujols and Buehler on the bases.

All game it just seemed like all game we were playing from behind, and playing on our heels all night,” Roberts said.


Game 1 Boxscore:


WP: Jarlin Garcia (6-3)

LP: Evan Phillips (1-1)


Julio Urías starts for the Dodgers on Saturday, with a slightly earlier start than the series opener, 6:05 and can bee seen on SportsNet LA or MLB Network. The Giants are going with a bullpen game over the final two days of the series.


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