The Giants and Dodgers franchises played their first-ever official game on Oct. 18, 1889. Could it be that 125 years later, on Oct. 18, 2014, the clubs meet in a seventh and deciding game in the National League Championship Series? It’s not a total stretch.
One of the teams will win the division title, and it seems likely that the other will play in the do-or-die wild-card game. If the Giants/Dodgers win the wild-card game to reach the five-game division series, the clubs would likely meet either St. Louis or Washington based on the current races. Assuming both were victorious, the Giants and Dodgers would play each other in the NLCS, and game seven, if necessary, would fall on and near the historic Oct. 18 date.
The Giants franchise, formed in 1883 in New York, and the Dodgers franchise, formed in 1884 in Brooklyn, began with the teams in different leagues, so it wasn’t until 1889 that both won their titles so they could meet in a best-of-11 championship series. Brooklyn took the opener 12-10, and built a 3-1 lead in the series, but New York then won five in a row to win the championship. One of the keys for New York is that they twice beat Brooklyn’s 40-game winner Don Caruthers and 22-game winner Adonis Terry, a workhorse who started five of the games.
Price is wrong: The Giants will either be two or three games out going into this weekend’s three-game series against the Dodgers, based on the outcome of today’s Giants-D-Backs game. It will be interesting to see if Dodger Nation has a big presence at AT&T this weekend, as was the case when the clubs met in San Francisco in July. Giants management is to blame, as it jacked up prices for the games, which had the effect of making it attractive for its fans to profit by putting their seats on the market. The cheapest ticket for this series is $51.50 (Friday), $68.75 (Saturday) and $51.50 Sunday. That doesn’t even include those handling and convenience charges, and aren’t we thankful that there are handlers who are so nice to make buying a ticket so convenient for us. The Dodgers, on the other hand, are making the Giants-Dodgers series at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 22-24 more conveniently affordable for their fans, with tickets as low as $25.
Mismatch?: The pitching matchup for the Giants-Dodgers finale of the three-game series Sunday looks like a mismatch — Clayton Kershaw vs. Yusmeiro Petit. I mean, how can poor Clayton compete with a guy who missed a perfect game by one out a year ago, set a major league record for consecutive outs this year and is coming off an 84-pitch complete-game shutout with nine strikeouts and no walks. Petit for MVP? While this is written in jest, who would have thought at the start of the year that a Kershaw-Petit matchup in a September Dodgers-Giants pennant battle would be one of the sexiest in baseball?
Wild card: Here’s an interesting decision the Giants might have to make. If they can’t chase the Dodgers down and win the West, they have a good chance to be the top-seeded wild-card team and host the win-or-go-home game against probably the Pirates, Brewers or Braves. Assuming the Giants hold on to their comfortable wild-card lead and clinch the spot early, they can set up their rotation as they wish for the wild-card elimination game and five-game division series against probably the Cardinals or Nationals. So who would pitch the wild-card game? Everyone’s first response would be Madison Bumgarner, but if that’s the case, and the Giants advance, he probably couldn’t pitch until game four. If the Giants were swept, that means their ace never got a shot. Sunday could be an audition for that wild-card game. If Petit can dominate on the big Dodgers-Giants stage by beating Kershaw and establishing himself as one of the hottest pitchers in the game, he might give manager Bruce Bochy all the confidence needed to give him the ball for the wild-card showdown. Another option would be to start Jake Peavy (I’d take him over Tim Hudson), with Petit in the wings ready to step in at an early sign of trouble. I just think the Giants have enough, especially at home, to get past the wild-card game so Bumgarner can possibly go twice in the division series.