Posey to retire on Thursday; Three time World Champ hangs it up after 12 seasons

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey is seen here playing just one of a handful of games during spring training on Feb 24, 2020. Posey did not play in the 2020 regular season and returned in 2021 and is announcing his retirement Thu Nov 4, 2021 at Oracle Park in San Francisco (AP News file photo)

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO–Buster Posey, the last player to win all three World Series Championships with the San Francisco Giants in 2010, 2012 and 2014 will be announcing his retirement on Thursday, according to sources.

Posey, who was drafted by the Giants with the fifth overall pick in the 2008 MLB draft, and when he signed with the team on August 16 of that year, he was given a $6.2 million signing bonus, the largest up-front bonus in team history.

After beginning the 2009 season with the San Jose Giants, Posey was promoted to the Fresno Grizzlies, then the Giants Triple-A and after 35 games, he was called up to the big leagues on September 2 of that year and eventually made his debut on September 11 at AT&T Park and struck out in his first career at-bat against Hiroki Kuroda of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Eight days later, Posey picked up his major league hit off of Jeff Weaver of the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

Posey began the 2010 season with the Grizzlies, and was called up on May 29, 2010, and went three-for-four at the plate with four runs batted in. On June 9, Posey hit his first MLB home run off of Aaron Harang of the Cincinnati Reds.

Then Giants General Manager Brian Sabean traded Bengie Molina to the Texas Rangers on June 29, 2010 and after the trade, Posey became the Giants starting catcher.

After helping the Giants to their first World Series Championship over the Rangers later that season, Posey would be named the National League Rookie of the Year.

Just one month after the 2011 season began on May 25, Posey sustained a broken fibula, and torn ligaments in his left leg after a home plate collision with Scott Cousins of the Florida Marlins.

Posey returned to the team for the 2012 season and became the first National League catcher since Ernie Lombardi of the Cincinnati Reds in 1942 to win the batting title, and helped the Giants to their second World Series Championship in three years, when the swept the Detroit Tigers.

During the post-season awards circuit, Posey won the NL MVP, the Silver Slugger Award for catchers and the NL Comeback Player of the Year. Posey also won the Willie Mac Award from his teammates.

Posey would help lead the Giants to their third World Series Championship in five years in a thrilling seven-game series against the Kansas City Royals in 2014.

Once again, Posey and the even year magic of the Giants would come into play again in 2016, as the Giants defeated the New York Mets in the NL Wild Card game; however, they would lose in the National League Division Series to the eventual World Champion Chicago Cubs.

With the 2020 season being shortened due to the coronavirus, Posey opted out of the season to help his wife Kristen take care of their twins Addison and Lee, and two premature born twins.

Posey returned to the field for the 2021 season, and helped the Giants to their first NL West Division Championship since 2012, as the Giants won a franchise record 107 games.

During the season, Posey batted .304 with 18 home runs and 56 Runs Batted In.

The organization said last month that they would exercise the $22 million club option for the 2022 season.

While playing the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, Posey showed hints of retirement to be at home with his wife and four children.

Eventually, Posey will be a member of the Giants Wall of Fame, probably get a statue at Oracle Park, have his number 28 retired and most definitely head to Cooperstown and into Baseball Hall of Fame.

Bellinger wins it for Dodgers ends season for Giants 2-1

The Los Angeles Dodgers Mookie Betts connects for a single in the fourth inning in front of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey in game 5 of the NLDS at Oracle Park in San Francisco (AP News photo)

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO-Of the series between the two best teams in Major League Baseball in 2021 came down the final at-bat and it was the Los Angeles Dodgers standing in the end.

Cody Bellinger hit a seeing eye single in the top of the ninth inning that scored Justin Turner from second base, helping the Dodgers to a 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants in Game Five of the National League Division Series before a crowd of 42,275 at Oracle Park.

I actually did think he had a fastball and I thought the slider was and Bellinger was not able to get underneath it until that one swing, said Giants manager Gabe Kapler.

The Bellinger single gave the Dodgers the lead for good and Game Three starter Max Scherzer came on to close it out for the Dodgers, who move on to their second NLCS appearance and their fifth appearance in the last six years.

Scherzer did run into some trouble in the bottom of the ninth inning, as after he got Brandon Crawford to fly out to Chris Taylor in right field, Turner committed a fielding error at third base that allowed Kris Bryant reach first base that brought LaMonte Wade, Jr., who became the late inning hero for the Giants during the season; however, Wade, Jr., was unable to be the hero, when he struck out for the second out of the inning and then Scherzer got Wilmer Flores on a check swing to end the game, the series and the season for the Giants.

It looked like he did not go. I mean that was my take on it, said Kapler.

Turner reached with one out in the inning after he was hit on the shoulder on a pitch thrown by losing pitcher Camilo Doval, who then gave up a single to Gavin Lux and then Bellinger singled to right field to score Turner with the series winning run for the defending World Champion Dodgers, who will face the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS beginning on Saturday night at Truist Park in Atlanta. This will be the second year in a row that the Dodgers and the Braves will face each other in the NLCS, last season, the Dodgers came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the NLCS in seven games.

The Dodgers finally got to Logan Webb in the top of the sixth inning, Corey Seager hit a flare down the left field line for a double, that scored Mookie Betts from second base to break up the scoreless tie.

Betts was the star of the game for the Dodgers, as he went four-for-four at the plate, including a double in the top of the sixth inning that came right before Seager dropped the double down the left field line that gave the Dodgers the lead for a short period of time.

The four hits by Betts were a postseason career high.

He is one of the best players in baseball for a reason. He is a pretty incredible player and pretty incredible guy, honestly, said Logan Webb.

Darin Ruf tied up the game with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the sixth inning, as he launched a solo home run over the center field wall. It was the first career post season home run for Ruf.

Julio Urias, who pitched a masterpiece on Saturday in the 9-2 win by the Dodgers gave up the home run to Ruf. Urias, who went five innings on Saturday night, as he allowed one run on three hits, walking one, striking out five and threw 72 pitches looked unhittable until Ruf unloaded on the 3-2 pitch that tied up the game.

In all, Urias went four innings, allowing one run on three hits, walking no one and striking out five on four days rest.

Webb, who struck out 10 in the Game One victory for the Giants, came back to throw seven innings, allowing one run on four hits, walking one and striking out seven in his second career postseason career start.

I felt good. Everything was moving the way I wanted to, and yeah it was good. Buster caught a great game, said Webb.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who originally stated that he was going to start Urias instead started Corey Knebel, who pitched the first inning, where he allowed just a double to Buster Posey and nothing else before turning the ball over to the bullpen.

Brusdar Graterol then came up on to replace Knebel, as he also went one inning, allowing two hits and was able to strand two runners on base, when he struck out Webb to end the threat and the inning.

Tyler Rogers came on to replace Webb in the top of the eighth inning, and he got into a jam after he led off the inning by getting Taylor to fly out to Bryant in center field, but then A.J. Pollock came off the bench to pinch hit for Blake Treinen and reached on an infield single that went off the glove of Wilmer Flores.

Betts then came up with his fourth hit of the game to put runners on first and second with one out, but then Rogers struck out Seager for the second out of the inning and that was end of the night for Rogers, who was replaced by Camilo Doval, who on one pitch got Trea Turner to fly out to Austin Slater in right field to get out of the inning and the jam.

NOTES: This was the 27th postseason appearance for the Giants and the 13th since they moved to California in 1958, and it was the first time that the Giants and Dodgers ever faced off versus each other in the postseason.

Kapler is the fifth consecutive Giants manager to lead his team to the postseason, joining Roger Craig (1987, 1989), Dusty Baker (1997, 2000 and 2002), Felipe Alou (2003), Bruce Bochy (2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016) and Kapler (2021).

UP NEXT: The season is over for the Giants, who will meet up again in Spring Training in February of 2022 at Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Arizona.

On the other hand, the Dodgers will head to Atlanta, where they will face the Braves beginning on Saturday night in the NLCS.

This is the 15th trip to the NLCS for the Dodgers, breaking the tie with the St. Louis Cardinals for the most trips to the NLCS since divisional play began in 1969.

San Francisco Giants/NLDS podcast with Michael Duca: Battle comes down to historic game 5 tonight in SF

San Francisco Giants starter Logan Webb is pumped up after striking out the Los Angeles Dodgers Trea Turner in the top of the sixth inning during game 1 of the NLDS on Fri Oct 8, 2021. Webb will get the start in game 5 Thu Oct 14, 2021 at Oracle Park in San Francisco (AP News photo)

On the SF Giants/NLDS podcast with Michael:

#1 Tonight’s game the deciding and final game of this five game NLDS boils down to two great starting pitchers tonight the Los Angeles Dodgers Julio Urias (1-0 ERA 1.80) and the San Francisco Giants Logan Webb (1-0 ERA 0.00) a 6:07 pm start at Oracle Park.

#2 The Giants who lost on Tuesday night at Dodgers Stadium 7-2 saw a Dodger line up awaken and Mookie Betts well and bat alive with some potent offense in game 4.

#3 The Giants will be facing a 20 game winner in Urias what will Giants manager Gabe Kapler have to be concerned with most in facing one of the most prolific pitchers in MLB who can mix up his pitches against this Giant line up.

#4 You’ve seen the Giants drop two of the four games thus far with Brandon Belt out and looking at this series how badly to the Giants miss his bat?

#5 Logan Webb opened the series in game one last Friday with a brilliant performance going 7.2 innings, five hits, and ten strike outs. The Dodgers had a rough time touching up Webb how do you see Webb coming into this game 5 tonight.

Join Michael for the Giants podcasts each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Familiarity and Execution: The two, foremost themes heading into NLDS Game 5 between the Dodgers and Giants

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–The biggest game in the long history between the Giants and Dodgers is here. Twice, the Giants struck first, and the Dodgers answered emphatically both times. Now in Game 5, only one statement remains to be made. Which team will win this epic series with all of the baseball world focused on Oracle Park Thursday night?

The Dodgers took the first, and biggest gamble of the series on Tuesday, in bringing back Walker Buehler on short rest to start Game 4. And Buehler delivered. That allows Los Angeles to now start Julio Urias on regular rest, opposite the Giants’ Logan Webb in Game 5. Manager Dave Roberts said he eyeballed Buehler, and what he saw made the manager’s decision easy.

“I would feel really weird not pitching a game that we could lose a series,” Buehler said in explaining the vibe he sent to Roberts.

“Sometimes when you might be a little bit more fatigued and not too amped up or too strong, you kind of try not to do too much,” Roberts said of his ace’s Game 4 performance. “And all night long he stayed in his delivery. All the stuff — the velocity, the characteristics of his secondary pitches — was really good.”

Both starters for Thursday have already won a game in the series. Logan Webb was spectacular in Game 1, pitching into the eighth inning and forcing the Dodgers’ hitters into uncharacteristic mistakes. Urias had a shorter stint in Game 2, pitching five innings and allowing three hits and a run. But when Urias departed, the Dodgers were already in control, leading 2-1 in a game they would break open in the sixth, and win 9-2.

For the Giants, the questions are clear: Can Webb summon the magic a second time? And can the San Francisco bullpen support him when he departs? The odds of both happening are good.

Webb remains a problem for any ballclub that steps into Oracle Park. He’s yet to lose a ballgame at home (6-0, 1.96 ERA in 73 1/3 innings in 2021, not including his 7 1/3 scoreless innings in Game 1), and his unwavering demeanor and penchant for dialing up strikeouts will energize the sold out crowd on Thursday. The only issue? Los Angeles’ hitters were undisciplined in Game 1. This time, they will challenge Webb to be at his absolute best this time by only swinging at baseballs in the strike zone.

Overall, the Giants’ pitching staff has done some good things. They’ve kept the Dodgers’ best hitters from leaving the park. Only two Dodgers have homered in the Series: Will Smith has two, and Mookie Betts greeted Giants’ reliever Jarlin Garcia with bad news in the fourth inning on Wednesday night. A host of other Los Angeles sluggers have been left frustrated trying to drive one out, especially in Game 3. For the Giants, that needs to continue.

Also, the Giants’ pitchers that have shown some vulnerability most assuredly won’t throw in the deciding game. Starters Kevin Gausman and Anthony DeSclafani both must turn the page, and get ready for the next round if the Giants advance. Dominic Leone and Garcia have both had a pair of substandard appearances.

So that leaves Camilo Doval, the re-emerging Jake McGee, and Zach Littell as top options for Gabe Kapler if the Giants’ are fortunate to reap high-leverage situations in Game 5 after Webb departs. Littell–awful in Game 2, but lights out in Game 4–is the most intriguing. He’s a trusted arm, and Kapler is likely to forget his Game 2 hiccup, and remember his four strikeouts in an inning plus on Tuesday.

The Dodgers also will be in great shape to unearth a well-pitched game in the decider as well. Urias, the 20-game winner will start, and the best bullpen in baseball will follow. All signs point to a tense, low scoring game.

From a hitting standpoint, the Giants will have all-hands on deck, but they’ll likely depend on the most familiar suspects against Urias. Both Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey had hits off Urias in Game 2, and Austin Slater will likely earn another start in right field against the Dodgers’ left handed starter. Slater, too, doubled off Urias in Game 2.

Darin Ruf (left field) and Wilmer Flores (first base) will likely be in Kapler’s starting lineup, as will Kris Bryant, who has picked up his game after a lackluster end of the regular season, giving his manager tremendous versatility.

“A bat of that caliber and that quality, and knowing that they can play anywhere and they are going to be ready to go gives us the flexibility to do a lot of things,” Kapler said of Bryant. “So I guess it’s not just Kris, but also what that does for the rest of the roster and how we can construct our lineups.”

The defending champion Dodgers are easier to decipher. Betts, Trea Turner, Corey Seager and the youthful, but dangerous Smith can each be the one to individually or collaboratively ruin the evening for San Francisco fans on Thursday. And don’t forget Justin Turner either. He’s done almost nothing in the series thus far–hitting .059–but he undoubtedly will be in the Roberts’ lineup and a serious threat to come up clutch in a big spot.

Dodgers stave off elimination with big victory 7-2; LA forces game 5 at Oracle Thursday

Bottom of the fourth inning the Los Angeles Dodgers cracks a bottom of the fourth inning home run against the San Francisco Giants on Tue Oct 12, 2021 at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles (AP News photo)

By Jeremy Kahn

If you thought that the reigning World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers would go away quietly into the off-season, you were wrong.

Anthony DeSclafani lasted just 1.1 innings, and Mookie Betts hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning and the Dodgers forced a decisive Game Five in the National League Division with a 7-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium.

Gabe Kapler saw enough from his starter just 28 pitches and the Dodgers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead against the Giants, who were trying to close out the series and move on to the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves, who closed out the Milwaukee Brewers after Freddie Freeman hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning, helping the Braves to a 5-4 victory at Truist Park in Atlanta.

DeSclafani gave up a run-scoring double that scored Corey Seager in the bottom of the first inning, and then Chris Taylor just missed a home run in the bottom of the second inning, as his sacrifice fly was caught by LaMonte Wade, Jr., that scored Gavin Lux, who just missed tying up the game in the bottom of the ninth inning on a fly ball that was caught by Steven Duggar on the warning track that gave the Giants a 1-0 victory and a 2-1 lead over the Dodgers in the NLDS.

In that 1.2 innings of work, DeSclafani allowed two runs on five hits, did not allow a walk and struck out two in his post season debut for the Giants.

Walker Buehler, who lost Game 1 to the Giants on Friday night at Oracle Park went just 4.1 innings, allowing one run on four hits, walked two and struck out four and did not fare in the decision.

Betts hit a two-run home run off of Jarlin Garcia, just after Buehler reached on a fielding error by Garcia.

The Giants scored their lone run in the top of the fifth inning, when Darin Ruf grounded out to Trea Turner that allowed Game Four hero Evan Longoria to score easily from third base.

With a chance to tie up the game, Brandon Crawford, who came up with one of the biggest defensive play of the win on Monday night grounded out to Justin Turner to end the inning and the threat for the Giants.

Joe Kelly, who came on to replace Buehler in the top of the fifth inning, picked up the win for the Dodgers, as he went 0.2 innings, allowing one hit and the rest zeros before turning the game over to Brusdar Graterol, Anthony Vesia, Blake Treinen and then Phil Bickford and the Dodgers forced the decisive Game Five on Thursday night at Oracle Park in San Francisco.

Betts drove in his second run of the night in the bottom of the fifth inning, as he hit a sacrifice fly off of Tyler Rogers that scored Cody Bellinger from third base with the bases loaded.

It was in that fifth inning, that the Dodgers basically put the game away, as Lux walked, then went to third on a Bellinger hit-and-run single thru the middle of the infield. Chris Taylor, who sent the Dodgers into the Division Series against the Giants after he hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning off of Anthony Reyes to give the Dodgers a dramatic 3-1 victory on Wednesday night hit into a force play that saw Leone throw to Longoria, who threw to Buster Posey, who tagged out Lux for the first out for the first out of the inning.

After Steven Souza walked to load the bases, Betts hit a sacrifice fly to Kris Bryant in left field to score Bellinger. Rogers then got Seager to fly out to Mike Yastrzemski to end the inning.

The Giants cut the lead down to 5-2 in the top of the eighth inning, when Crawford led off the inning with a double to the base of the right field wall off of Treinen. Posey then sent to his longtime teammate to third, when he grounded out to Trea Turner, and then Bryant grounded out to Justin Turner to score Crawford and down to his last position player, Kapler called on Curt Casali, who struck out to end the inning.

Will Smith put the game out of reach in the bottom of the eighth inning, when he hit a two-run home run off of Jake McGee with one out in the inning. Seager led off the inning with a single, then after a fly out by Trea Turner for the first out of the inning, Smith launched the two-run home run into the bleachers.

NOTES: When the Giants took Game Three by the final score of 1-0 on Monday night, it was the 15th time in postseason history that a game ended with a score of 1-0, with the lone run being scored on a solo home run. Greg Bird of the New York Yankees was last player to accomplish the feat in the 2017 American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians.

This was the second time in Giants that this occurred, and the first time since October 12, 1923, when Casey Stengel hit a solo home run to give the Giants a 1-0 win over the New York Yankees in the World Series.

With the shutout on Monday night, it was the 27th shutout in Giants postseason history, the second most in MLB history, trailing the Yankees, who have 32 shutouts in postseason history. Of those 27 shutouts, Posey has caught 14 of the 27 shutouts, the most by a catcher in MLB postseason history.

UP NEXT: Logan Webb will take the mound on Thursday night for the Giants, as they look for their first appearance in the National League Championship Series since 2014, while the Dodgers will send Julio Urias to the mound, as they look for their second consecutive appearance in the NLCS and their fifth appearance in six years.

Longo Takes Scherzer Out And It Stands Up!: Giants take Game 3 of epic, LA-SF showdown

San Francisco Giant hitter Evan Longoria swings for the game’s only run in the top of the fifth inning for the Giants second win of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles on Mon Oct 11, 2021 (AP New photo)

By Morris Phillips

On an unusually windy night in Los Angeles, pitching ruled the evening in Game 3 of the NLDS. Heaters, thrown by numerous pitchers, darted, dashed and overwhelmed hitters, especially up in the strike zone. Those that were hit all came to rest near the warning track in a subdued Dodger Stadium.

Only one man on either team stood up: Evan Longoria.

“I didn’t want to get beat by another fastball,” Longoria said of his fifth inning confrontation with the incomparable Max Scherzer.

He didn’t. Scherzer threw an 0-2 fastball that grabbed too much of the plate, and Longoria launched it… 407 feet into the left field bleachers. Incredibly, that one run stood up in a 1-0 Giants’ win that has them one victory from taking the series with Game 4 in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and a potential, winner-take-all Game 5 in San Francisco on Thursday. There were 20 strikeouts in the game (14 suffered by San Francisco hitters), only one extra-base hit (Longoria’s) and after the Giants’ third baseman gave the Giants the lead, they never saw the base paths again: the last 15 Giants’ hitters were retired, most without a fuss.

So what had to happen for the NL West champions, did. Giants’ pitchers–starter Alex Wood and relievers Tyler Rogers, Jake McGee and 24-year old Camilo Doval–ruled the evening, shutting down the Dodgers for nine innings, despite some base traffic, and quite a few anxious moments.

Scherzer, who was previously foiled by the Giants in the 2012 World Series, was great again. The surefire Hall of Famer went seven, striking out ten, and walking one, but he couldn’t corral Longoria in the fifth. That one pitch unraveled his whole evening.

“He’s just a professional hitter who has done it very successfully for a very long time,” manager Gabe Kapler said of Longoria.

In the manner that Kapler has employed all season, his team switched roles and convention on the fly. Closer McGee, who had 31 saves this season, but was only pitching for the second time in a month on Monday due to an oblique injury, came on in the seventh in a big spot. With two runners on, McGee struck out Austin Barnes on three pitches, and got Mookie Betts to line out to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who climbed an imaginary wire to make the catch.

Doval, the closer of the moment, then came on to shut the door in the eight and ninth, needing just 22 pitches to retire the side in each inning, and give the Giants the win.

Bucking convention? Sure, but it all made sense, really. McGee was the NL Reliever of the Month in July, and Doval–sensational in 14 1/3 scoreless innings with 20 strikeouts–was the NL Reliever of the Month in September. In a bullpen filled with high-leverage arms, Kapler sensed the shift, and followed his instinct. In both Giants’ wins in the series, Doval was the one to close it, despite only having 29 appearances–all this season–in his career.

Wood, the former Dodger who still participates in fantasy football leagues with his ex-teammates, wasn’t looking around for familiar faces on Monday. He too was fantastic, working through situations and lengthy innings that drove his pitch count up. He pitched into the fifth inning, allowing just two base hits and no walks.

Fly balls populated the outfield throughout as everyone in the park, and watching at home, learned to train their eyes on the sold-out bleachers, and watch the reaction of the fans seated there. Every time, with the exception of Longo’s blast, there was no reaction. The fans in the outfield–and their inactivity–told the story. The final blow from Gavin Lux off Doval may have been the most threating, but it too found a home… in center fielder Steven Duggar’s glove.

“I think any other night, the (Chris Taylor) ball and the Gavin Lux ball would have been home runs,” Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts said.

San Francisco Giants podcast with Marko Ukalovic: NLDS SF @ LA Wood and Scherzer match up in game 3; Who will break the deadlock?

San Francisco Giants pitcher Alex Wood gets the call tonight against Los Angeles Dodgers starter Max Scherzer in game 3 of the NLDS at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles (AP file photo)

On the Giants podcast with Marko:

#1 Marko just going over Saturday’s game 2 at Oracle Park in San Francisco the Los Angeles Dodgers left little doubt why their a playoff contender with six run 9-2 win to even the series.

#2 The Dodgers came back and bit the Giants with four runs in the top of the sixth and three runs in the top of the eighth inning to pretty much put it out of reach for the Giants.

#3 Does this Dodger come back indicate that the Giants in Los Angeles for game 3 tonight have to be concerned about that potent line up?

#4 Starter Kevin Gausman on Saturday gave up two runs in the second inning and two more in the sixth and was lifted. From what you saw Gausman outside of those two innings he did have his command but all it takes sometimes is to have a bad inning.

#5 For tonight’s game 3 the Giants will be going with Alex Wood (0-0) and for the Dodgers Max Scherzer (0-0) after the first two game of this NLDS it’s been a toss up how do you see the pitching match ups for tonight?

Marko Ukalovic is filling in for Morris Phillips who does the Giants podcasts each Monday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Urias comes up huge at the plate and on the mound in Dodgers win 9-2

Los Angeles Dodgers starter Julio Urias leans over the Dodgers dugout railing along the first base side at Oracle Park in San Francisco during game 2 of the NLDS on Sat Oct 9, 2021 (@Dodgers photo)

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO-Julio Urias came with the biggest hit for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and it helped the defending World Champions get even.

Urias singled to right field immediately after Kevin Gausman intentionally walked A.J. Pollock to get Urias, and the plan backfired, helping the Dodgers to a 9-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants before a sellout crowd of 42,275 at Oracle Park.

It’s a good feeling, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. It’s interesting how the narrative changes from game to game. Right now, it’s a three-game series, we have home-field advantage and we have Max (Scherzer) on the mound. I like where we’re at.

With the victory by the Dodgers, it tied up the National League Division Series between the two longtime rivals.

Obviously looking forward to turning the page on tonight’s game and getting ready for Los Angeles,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “It was not our best effort tonight. Dodgers just swung the bats better than us, made more pitches than us, made more plays than us.

Mookie Betts followed up the Urias single with one of his own that scored Pollock; however, Gausman was able to get out of the inning by striking out Corey Seager to end the inning.

Chris Taylor, who sent the Dodgers into the Division Series, when he hit a two-run walk-off home run off of Anthony Reyes on Wednesday night, led off the inning with a double off of Gausman and scored the first run of the game for the Dodgers.

Urias, who went 20-3 during the regular season pitched the first five innings for the Dodgers, as he allowed one run on just two hits, walking one and striking out five, as the series heads to Dodger Stadium tied up at a game apiece.

I felt good, Urias said. I thought the pitches were working really well. It is the fifth or sixth time I have seen them so it is a little bit trickier to get through that lineup, but I felt good Offensively the team put some runs and all in all it was a good game.

Gausman, who was making his first ever postseason start went 5.1 innings, allowing four runs on four hits, walking three and striking out seven. This was not the first postseason appearance for Gausman, as he appeared in four games in the 2014 postseason for the Baltimore Orioles and in 2018 for the Atlanta Braves.

I mean I made, I thought I made a pretty good adjustment after the second inning, Gausman said. After then, I felt like I kind of got in my zone a little bit and retired a lot of hitters in a row. Obviously, I wish I would have got through that sixth inning.

The Giants cut the Dodgers lead in half in the bottom of the second inning, as Wilmer Flores led off the inning with a walk, moved to second on a Brandon Crawford single. Flores then went to third on an Evan Longoria fly out to Taylor in centerfield and then scored on a Donnie Solano fly out to Taylor.

Unfortunately, that is all that the Giants muster against Urias, and finally in the top of the sixth inning, the Dodgers broke the game open from an unlikely source this season; however, a former Most Valuable Player.

With the bases loaded and one out, Cody Bellinger, who won the National League Most Valuable Player in 2019, and who was mired in a season long slump after being injured earlier in the year, came with a two-run double that gave the Dodgers a commanding 4-1 lead and then scored Pollock hit a two-run double of his own that gave the Dodgers a commanding 6-1 lead.

Crawford picked up his second run batted in of the series, as he singled to right field to score LaMonte Wade, Jr., who came off the bench to pinch hit for Austin Slater and drew a walk against Joe Kelly.

Mookie Betts came up with the defensive play of the night that killed the Giants rally that ended the bottom of the sixth inning.

Sometimes you just do things you can’t really explain, Betts said of his play. And that was just one of them.

Crawford singled to score Wade, Jr., however, on the play, Wilmer Flores, who was on first base try to test Betts and go to third, but Betts made a perfect throw to Justin Turner to get Flores and not only end the inning but the threat as well.

Yeah, 100 percent, Flores said. I just thought the ball was more in the corner, No, it was my decision.

Will Smith then greeted Zack Littell rather rudely, as he launched a solo home run deep into the San Francisco night on the first pitch that Littell allowed in the top of the eighth inning.

Taylor and Pollock each picked up singles in between Bellinger, who struck out for the third time on the evening.

Matt Beaty came up with a pinch-hit single that scored Taylor and after Jarlin Garcia came on to replace Littell, Seager singled to right field to score Pollock.

The usual stellar Giants bullpen was anything but that on this night, as the quintet of Dominic Leone, Jake McGee, Littell, Garcia and Kervin Castro pitched the final 4.2 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits, walking just one and striking out just two.

The quartet of Joe Kelly, Brusdar Graterol, Corey Knebel and Phil Bickford pitched the final four innings, allowing one run on three hits, walking one and striking out three.

Buster Posey was a bright spot for the Giants despite the seven-run loss that tied up the series, as the veteran catcher went 3-for-4 on the night against Dodgers pitching.

NOTES: When Posey singled in the bottom of the sixth inning, it was the 54th career hit postseason hit for him, passing former teammate Pablo Sandoval.

When Posey caught the shutout in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers, it was the 13th time that the Giants won a game via the shutout, by far the most in MLB history, this according to Elias Sports Bureau. The 13 shutouts are five ahead of Yadier Molina (8) and six ahead of Yogi Berra (7). In his career, Posey has been a part of exactly half of the Giants postseason shutouts in team history.

Logan Webb became just the fourth Giants pitcher ever to strikeout 10 or more in his playoff debut, joining Carl Hubbell in Game Three of the 1933 World Series versus the Washington Senators, Tim Lincecum in Game One of the 2010 NLDS versus the Atlanta Braves and Jonathan Sanchez in Game Three of the 2010 NLDS. In all of those instances, the Giants won the World Series.

UP NEXT: Alex Wood will start Game 3 for the Giants of the NLDS against the Dodgers on Monday night at Dodger Stadium. During the 2021 season, the Giants were 12-2 with Wood on the mound after a loss. Scherzer will make his second postseason startfor the Dodgers in 2021, as he went 4.1 innings, in the Wild Card game on Wednesday night.

“The Best Night I’ve Ever Had At the Ballpark”: For this Journalist-on-the-Weekends NLDS Game 1 Giants-Dodgers was just that

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–From age six, I’ve been in the ballpark. I’ve been to hundreds of Major League baseball games, as wide-eyed kid to the present as a journalist for a Bay Area-based website. I’ve enjoyed every game, every experience, but none could top NLDS Game 1 Friday night at Oracle Park.

The atmosphere was electric. The stadium was sold out. And the people–from the stadium employees to the players on the field, and everyone in between–were energized beyond belief. At the end of the evening, no one wanted to leave.

And… oh, yeah, the Giants beat the Dodgers 4-0.

For me, the evening unfolded by providing mixed signals. My decision to ride one stop past Oracle Park on the Muni T Line backfired and left me motionless on the train at the corner of 2nd and King for… eight minutes. Finally, the train operator announced that we were going to be turning left.

“Ok, but when?” I thought to myself. Well, after eight minutes was the answer.

Released from the train, I waited to retrieve my credential at the media will-call window for the three home games in the series, a young woman approached in need of a mask. The COVID mantra seemingly never ceases: no mask, no entry.

I reached in my bag and offered her two. Her reply was a mind bender, and temporarily left me stunned.

“How much (do you want me to pay)?,” she said.

Finally–fractions of a second ticked off–I responded politely, “You needed a mask, and I gave you one (two).”

It’s approaching game time at this point, and what do I know about monetizing the endless supply of free masks I’ve unearthed over the last 19 months? Absolutely nothing, especially with the game less than an hour away, and me already thinking about all the conversations I wanted to have once inside the park.

So in the park I went, and talk I did.

Within our website, sportsradioservice.com, are schedules and a pecking order that anointed my colleague, Jeremy Kahn and I entry for the series, but only one of us is required to write the recap for each game. That schedule, based on the day of the week, gave him both Game 1 and 2. My assignment for the evening was to piggy back Kahn’s story with a feature piece, the subject matter of my choosing. On the occasion of the first Dodger-Giants playoff game ever, I was free to roam.

And while most of the people’s heroes last night were on the field with names like Mookie, Buster, Craw and the like, all my heroes are in the press box. If there’s anything I love more than baseball, it’s the journalism and stories that accompany the game, and the people that chronicle them.

The press box was full Friday night, all familiar faces, many I hadn’t seen since the advent of COVID.

I immediately approached Kerry Crowley, the talented, and youthful, beat writer for the San Jose Mercury News and the Bay Area News Group. Crowley wrote the story on Bryan Stow, the Giants’ fan who traveled to Dodgers Stadium only to suffer a life-threatening injuries in the parking lot after the game at the hands of two perpetrators who were inebriated and violent, Dodgers’ “fans.”

Upon the 10-year anniversary of that tragic evening, Crowley, in February, wrote how Stow soldiers on, in a wheel chair, permanently disabled, and is under the constant care of his immediate family, who quite frankly, are angels. These days, Stow travels to local schools in the Santa Cruz/Soquel area giving speeches to school age children about the pitfalls of bullying, by referencing his story softened for much younger audiences.

I know the Stow story. My 13-year old daughter and her mom live just blocks from Stow in Capitola. We’ve trick-or-treated at his house on Halloween. I’ve seen Stow numerous times over the last 10 years at Oracle Park, when he’s been invited by the Giants’ organization to attend games. His life is difficult, painful as are the lives of his family.

I catch Crowley to ask if he had read the comments section for his article. In this case, for his story, the world of trolls–the people motivated to comment and say almost anything under the cloak of anonymity–goes to a dark, dark place.

Luckily, Crowley said he never reads those comments. Unfortunately, I did.

Underneath the Stow story, a commenter is ranting, and taking on all who find his words objectionable. The commenter says Stow was drinking that evening as well, and had he not encountered two men who attempted to take his life in the parking lot, he may very well have been the subject of a DUI incident in which he injured, or killed, someone else. The dissenters weighed in, as if asking this crazy theorist what planet he was from.

And the troll continued. Next, he claimed that Stow was the instigator in the event, hurling bad language and slurs at his attackers, provoking them. Of course, no proof exists of that, the lengthy court case that followed never crossed such a bridge. Once again, this was a dark place. I finally ran from my laptop that day in February, disgusted.

I took a deep breath, thanked Crowley for his words, and moved on. The rest of my interactions Friday night were far lighter.

I went upstairs to the broadcast level, and encountered Dave Flemming, the ubiquitous Giants’ play-by-play man who must work 200 nights a year (I exaggerate) and is much in demand, and paid handsomely, for his velvet-smooth work behind the microphone.

At the same time, Flem and I are in the bathroom, the only quiet bathroom in the entire building normally, and especially on a night where 41,934 are packed in.

“Flem, we’ve been to three World Series, Barry Bonds hit his 73rd home run here, and this feels like the biggest night the ballpark has ever seen,” I tell him.

Fleming says, “I agree,” and he’s off… back to his booth to interact with John Miller, Kruk and Kuip.

Next, I speak with Thomas Harding, the long time beat writer for the Colorado Rockies. He’s escaped Denver and the substandard baseball that was played there by the home team this summer, and snagged a plum national assignment for MLB.com. Harding, always jovial, complains lightly that younger journalists within his organization are getting assignments that he would prefer, but he soldiers on, happy to be associated with the game, taking what he can get, and grateful for his long run in the press box.

I’m not sure if he exactly remembers who I am, but he acts as if he does, and that’s all that matters. After all, Harding, too, is one my heroes.

John Shea, the local dean of baseball journalists with 33 years stuffed into his notebooks, is next. We interact briefly, and I tell him this postseason is packed with good teams, not just the Dodgers and the Giants, and that the winner of this epic series isn’t in anyway ordained to play their best baseball for another three weeks after this and win the World Series. Not with the mercurial Tampa Rays, the newly “clean” and dangerous Houston Astros, not to mention the quietly-positioned Milwaukee Brewers looming.

Shea agrees with me (wow!) and then references the ’93 Atlanta Braves. He says, remember how the Braves outlasted the Giants that year in the previous, divisional race of the ages, winning 104 games, while the tough-luck Giants faltered on the season’s final day, winning 103? Well, the Braves, he says, didn’t have anything left. The lost to the Phillies, four games-to-two, in the NLCS, falling short of the World Series.

Michael Wagaman, the Associated Press writer, read nationally through numerous outlets–and per AP’s policy, often read anonymously–walks up, and we both start laughing uncontrollably. I’ve recently one-upped Waggs on Facebook, agreeing with his post in which he writes to a friend that he’s “not sure how it’s going to go down” in regards to his postseason assignment.

I wrote, humor in full-bloom, that “Waggs knows how it’s going to go down… AP said, “Wags, we want you to work the NLDS and the potential NLCS but we need you sit in the auxiliary seating behind the left field foul pole and sit in one of the two seats facing away from the field and the temporary TV monitors.”

“Thank God (Waggs) had enough self-respect to say, “I’m not so sure.”

Wagaman loves my take, but his colleague, Janie McCauley, the only universally revered sportswriter in the entire room, not so much. McCauley, acting as part stepmom, and maybe a bit peeved that my post may have slighted her as she doles out the assignments for AP’s local stable of writers, scolds me when she walks up to my seat a few innings later.

“How dare you say that about Waggs,” McCauley says. “I almost called you.”

I’m rendered speechless, and laughing. Needless to say, given her stature, I owe her an apology no matter what. She’ll be getting that apology within the next 24 hours.

Eric He, a 2019 USC graduate, is sitting next to me. We’ve got as much in common as any two men 35 years apart in age could possibly have: we both love the profession, he’s unquestionably on his way up, and I love asking him questions about his experiences, and mentoring in anyway I can. Already, in less than three years, He has written for the Los Altos Town Crier (local news), sfbay.ca.com (sports) and currently with Patch, the new-age news organization that promises news from any U.S. location, you just punch in the zip code.

We’re chatting like crazy, and when I get all blubber-mouthed about Scott Ostler, Tim Kawakami, T.J. Simer and Bill Plaschke, the super quartet that have fueled the Los Angeles Times sports pages over the last quarter century in different, overlaying stints, He taps me and gets me to pipe down. Eric quickly points out that Plaschke is sitting right in front of us and I should lower my voice.

Andrew Baggarly, formerly of the Mercury News and NBC Sports Bay Area, and currently with the Athletic, is next. Baggarly and I both went to Northwestern University in Evanston, IL at different times with Baggarly going on to big things and me flunking out. I tell Baggarly that Mark Fainaru-Wada was my sports editor at NU that assigned me to cover the women’s softball team my sophomore year. Fainaru-Wada hit it big with the book “Game of Shadows” he co-authored that chronicled the BALCO scandal and outed Barry Bonds. But back in 1984, he was a senior at Northwestern, and he somehow found some extra money in the school paper’s budget to send me to Omaha to cover the softball team at the College World Series.

How could I say no to Fainaru-Wada? He was my editor and an unquestioned big shot, even back then. But I knew the timing of the CWS and final exams weren’t going to bode well for my plummeting GPA. But I went anyway–on Greyhound–to Omaha.

Sure enough, that June, just two weeks after the semester ended, a letter arrived at my home back in San Francisco. The Medill School of Journalism declared I wasn’t studying 10 hours per day and that they were not renewing my financial aid package. The School was right, I wasn’t studying 10 hours a day, but I wondered how they could so definitively say that I wasn’t.

Webb tangles Dodgers in Game 1 win 4-0

San Francisco Giants pitcher Logan Webb seems to be yelling “Your Dog gone right” in the sixth inning after striking out Los Angeles Dodgers hitter Trea Turner in the top of the sixth inning in game 1 of the NLDS at Oracle Park Fri Oct 8, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Jeremy Kahn

In his first ever playoff start, Logan Webb looked like a veteran instead of someone on the biggest stage for the first time in his Major League career.

Webb pitched the first 7.2 innings, allowing zero runs on five hits, not walking a batter and striking out 10 and the San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 in Game One of the National League Division Series at Oracle Park.

The Rocklin native left the mound after he allowed a two-out single to Mookie Betts with two outs in the top of the eighth inning.

Buster Posey hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning off of Dodgers starter Walker Buehler that bounced off the water-spraying pillar on the right field arcade on a 3-0 pitch that gave the Giants an early 2-0 lead.

The home run by Posey was his first in the postseason since Game 4 of the 2012 World Series off of Max Scherzer, then of the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit.

Webb got help from his defense in the top of the fourth inning, as Tommy La Stella mde a dazzling stop with his glove, flipped the ball to Brandon Crawford, who then threw to Wilmer Flores to complete the double play on the ball hit by Justin Turner that ended the inning.

La Stella also came up big at the plate, as he picked up two hits on the evening.

Posey helped out Webb immensely from his spot behind the plate, as the veteran, who sat the 2020 season to care for the twin girls that he and his wife adopted.

Just having him back there, honestly, Webb said. “Hell calm me down.

Webb, who helped lead the Giants to their first division title since 2012, last lost against the Colorado Rockies on May 5 at Coors Field.

Kris Bryant hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Giants a 3-0 lead, and then Crawford closed out the scoring, as he launched a solo home run into the Dodgers bullpen in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Bryant, who helped lead the Chicago Cubs to their first World Championship in 108 years, went 3-for-3 at the plate.

Walker Buehler went the first 6.1 innings, allowing three runs on six hits, walking just one and struck out five.

“Obviously it’s on me to try to create some momentum and I kind of sucked that out of our dugout,” Buehler said.

NOTES: This is the Giants first appearance in the playoffs since they lost to the Cubs in the 2016 NLDS and their 27th appearance since 1900 and 13th time since moving to California in 1958. As for the Dodgers, this is their ninth consecutive appearance in the postseason, as they are the defending World Champions.

In Giants’ playoff history, the team has an overall
record of 26-12 in Game 1 action since 1903 (17-7 in SF era) and 5-3 in Division Series Game 1s…the Giants have won seven of their last eight Game 1s dating back to the 2012 World Series.

UP NEXT: Kevin Gausman will take the mound for the Giants in Game 2, while the Dodgers will send left-hander Julio Urias to the hill on Saturday night.