The Los Angeles Dodgers eliminated their hated rivals the San Francisco Giants in five games to win the National League Division series and continue their quest to repeat as World Series champions.
In a tight affair, the Dodgers emerged victorious by getting the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth and then used their ace Max Scherzer to save the 2-1 lead in the bottom half. In their first postseason series of this historic rivalry, there was no way it wouldn’t come down to the wire between the two teams that combined for 213 wins.
The Dodgers’ success was a team effort and they showed again why they are the best team in the league. So let’s dive in and take a look at the team’s NLDS victory by the numbers.
When his team needed him most, Mookie Betts brought his championship mettle to the Dodgers’ Game 5 win. Betts became the first Dodger in postseason history to go 4-for-4 in a winner-take-all game. It seemed Betts was the only Dodger to adjust to Game 1 winner, Giants starting pitcher Logan Webb, and got three of the four hits off of him.
After his third single off Webb, Betts stole second and came home on a Corey Seager double, scoring the first run of the game. If there was an MVP for the NLDS, it would’ve been Betts, who hit .450 and led all batters with nine hits and also drove in four runs. If Betts continues his hot streak, this might be “Mr. October” moment.
The best asset for the Dodgers in October so far has been the collective effort of their bullpen. Combined, the bullpen gave up three earned runs, struck out 20 batters and allowed just one home run in 18.1 innings to completely shut down the Giants.
Game 5 summed it all up, too. The ‘pen sandwiched four innings from Julio Urias to keep the Giants at bay and guaranteed they’d score two runs or fewer against LA’s relievers for the fourth consecutive game. A strong bullpen helped the Dodgers win it all in 2020, and it’s once again carrying them in 2021.
The Dodgers-Giants race for the NL West came down to one game — their head-to-head season series was decided by that — so it’s no surprise that their NLDS matchup came down to the same scenario.
And there it was in the ninth inning. One pitch and one hit. And that base-knock came off the bat of the much-maligned Cody Bellinger. With one out and runners on first and second, Belli came up to bat with a chance to exorcise the terrible regular season he had, hitting just .165 with no power and landing on the IL multiple times due to injuries.
Bellinger gave the Dodgers another October moment by ripping a 1-2 pitch into right field to bring Justin Turner home for the go-ahead run. On one pitch, Bellinger ended the Giants season and brought the Dodgers one step closer to their quest to repeat as WS champs.