Maybe the eighth time, if there is one, will be the charm. The Dodgers have played games with a chance to take over a share of the first seven times since July 5 and lost all of them. That includes Wednesday when the Giants put some breathing room into their NL West lead. Now the Giants look to wrap up a series in the finale of the four-game clash.
San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Thursday, July 22, 2021 – 10:10 PM EDT at Dodger Stadium
Wednesday’s was a wild game with a twist ending, the likes of which we haven’t seen since … well, since these same two teams played on Tuesday. The Giants got revenge for the Dodgers’ walk-off win and comeback from five down the night before, when Wilmer Flores hit a go-ahead, ninth-inning home run to lead San Fran’s comeback.
Now the Dodgers will look to salvage a split of the four-game series and get back to within a game of the Giants, while San Francisco will try to wrap up a series win and push its divisional lead to three games.
Back on Track
The Giants bullpen, which has been a strength all season, got a workout in the first two games of the series and seemed to be showing signs of wear after coughing up the five-run lead on Tuesday.
San Francisco seemed to shrug off any concerns over the pen, however. Closer Tyler Rogers, who gave up Tuesday’s walk-off said after that game, “I'm going to have a Bud Light and rinse this one off and be back out there tomorrow.”
The beer therapy seems to have worked. He pitched a one-two-three ninth on Wednesday, as four San Francisco relievers threw four perfect innings to close out the game. After the successful outing, Rogers declared, “Absolutely, I’m going to have a celebratory Bud Light.”
The pen should get a bit of a break on Wednesday, as the Giants will start Anthony DeSclafani. He has just a 2-2 record in his last four games but has turned in quality starts (at least six innings with fewer than three earned runs) in four of five outings, including coming up an out shy of a complete game earlier this month. DeSclafani is 10-4, 2.78 on the year.
Closer Kenley Jansen got tagged with the blown save on Wednesday, after giving up a pinch hit single to Buster Posey and the Flores blast. He’s blown four saves in 25 opportunities this year, but two of them have come in the last two outings—Sunday, against Colorado, and Wednesday.
From the start of June until the All-Star Break, Jansen didn’t allow an extra base hit. He’s allowed three in the last 11 batters he’s faced. Jansen got just one out in six batters faced on Wednesday and exited to a chorus of boos from Dodger fans. The bullpen struggles come at a time when the starting rotation, wracked with injury, can’t carry the team. In the month of July, Los Angeles relievers have pitched more innings than the starters.
The Dodgers hope to reverse that trend with Walker Buehler on the mound for Thursday’s finale. He is 10-1 with a 2.37 ERA on the year. He’s won his last two starts, allowing just seven hits and two earned runs over 13 innings. He also beat the Giants at the end of June, allowing three hits over 6.2 shutout innings.
L.A. is still without Mookie Betts, who missed his fourth straight start with a hip problem. Manager Dave Roberts mentioned the “possibility” of a trip to the injury list on Wednesday, making it seem unlikely he’ll return for Thursday’s game.
With Buehler on the mound, the Dodgers have a big edge in the pitching matchup, but DeSclafani is no slouch. He’ll keep the Giants in the game until the late innings, and, as we’ve seen the last two nights, anything can happen then. The San Francisco pen seems more reliable than the Dodgers’ at this point. The Dodgers may be favored, but they aren’t worth the moneyline price it would to make them my MLB pick.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.