It was a do-or-die outing last night between two California-based teams with a storied rivalry between them. Representing Southern California, the defending World Series champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers; repping the North, the San Francisco Giants. Both teams won over 100 games in the regular season, and could each arguably be considered the best of the best in 2021 baseball.
With the series tied 2-2 going into the Thursday night game, and knowing the winner would be facing the Braves in the NLCS, a lot was on the line. One Cali team would be going into the offseason, while the other would be continuing on in hopes of collecting the Commissioner’s trophy.
At the end of it (and it was a late night for anyone watching in the Central or Eastern time zone), it was the Dodgers who were the winners, ready to go onto the next step, which begins with NLCS Game 1 on Sunday. Of course, the game couldn’t have ended without a little drama (which I’m sure Josh will share a million think-pieces about in Monday’s links), as the game ended with a Max Scherzer save and a blown check-swing call. Just a brutal conclusion to an otherwise perfectly matched outing.
Before all the end-of-game drama, though, I think my favorite comment about the game came from none other than Vin Scully prior to the game’s start.
To my knowledge, tonight's game between the @Dodgers and @SFGiants is the most important game in the history of their rivalry. With nearly identical records, and so much at stake, I believe this to be the case.— Vin Scully (@TheVinScully) October 14, 2021
- Ben Clemens looks at how the Dodgers played with an Opener in game 5.
- Nick Selbe assesses the major rivals meeting up as a Clash of the Titans.
In other news, as we get into links, it’s been a bad week to be a coach or manager on a Wild Card team...
Mike Shildt is out as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 14, 2021
- Michael Shapiro takes a deeper look at the firing of Mike Shildt.
- Bradford Doolittle thinks Cardinals fans deserved better than the sudden exit of Shildt.
- Three coaches have been dismissed by the Yankees, and Gary Phillips breaks down the moves, and what it might mean for Aaron Boone.
- Bob Nightengale has a shortlist of managerial candidates for the Padres, some of whom are likely getting consideration in St. Louis now as well.
- David Schoenfield tries to summarize what we’ve learned in the postseason thus far.
- David Laurila talks to Dillon Tate about his fastball.
- Jay Jaffe looks at the October heroics of Kiké Hernández in Boston.
- Ray Fosse has passed.
Oakland A’s statement on Ray Fosse: pic.twitter.com/88iUI6XEL3— Oakland A's (@Athletics) October 14, 2021
- Rays’ minor league pitcher David Hess will begin treatment for a tumor in his chest, as reported by AP.
- Doug Glanville ruminates over some problematic comments in recent broadcasts, and wonders how he would respond as a Black broadcaster to hearing them in the booth.
- Forever bringing us the wonderful and strange, Michael Clair brings us the history of the terrible Crazy Crab mascot.
- Stephen J. Nesbitt does a deep dive on the popular Twitter account that rates umpire performances. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Ian Browne gets dancy with the Boston Red Sox and their new postseason anthem.
- The Astros may not be able to meet Carlos Correa’s asking price.
- Speaking of the Red Sox and Astros, Ken Rosenthal looks at the two teams and their pasts, and wonders if there’s a road to redemption in the postseason, or if these are even the same teams, and if redemption is necessary. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- I don’t think this looks right...
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.