This is the series we all wanted and needed.
The top two teams in baseball meet tonight in San Francisco to kick off an NLDS matchup between the Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers.
The surprising Giants held off the Dodgers by a single game atop that NL West in the regular season, earning home field in advantage in the process, while they took the season series by another tiny margin 10-9.
This should be an absolute beauty of a series, so let’s get in on the action with a Dodgers vs. Giants NLDS Game 1 pick from Oracle Park!
Dodgers vs. Giants NLDS Game 1 Betting Odds
|Dodgers||-113||-1.5 (+153)||Over 7.5 (+101)|
|Giants||+103||+1.5 (-173)||Under 7.5 (-121)|
Dodgers vs. Giants NLDS Game 1 Starting Pitching Breakdown
After Max Scherzer pitched the Wild Card game and with Clayton Kershaw sidelined for likely the entire postseason, Game 1 was always going to go to Walker Buehler who is coming off another phenomenal season that put him into the thick of the NL Cy Young race.
Buehler posted a 2.47 ERA this season, the third-best mark in all of baseball behind Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes (2.43) and teammate Max Scherzer (2.46). Buehler’s peripherals aren’t quite as good as those two arms, but a 3.15 FIP, 3.08 xERA, 3.57 xFIP and 3.73 SIERA are certainly nothing to sneeze at.
Buehler’s strikeouts dipped to 9.19 K/9 this season, but the control remained excellent with a 2.25 BB/9 while he held home runs to just 0.82 HR/9.
The results have been inferior on the road, however. While he pitched to a stout 2.05 ERA at home, Buehler posted a 3.08 mark on the road which is obviously still a fantastic number. That said, he also posted a 2.86 FIP and 4.56 K/BB on the road, both of which are superior to his numbers at Dodger Stadium.
Amazingly, Buehler made six starts this season against the Giants. He was fantastic in those six outings, posting a 2.19 ERA across 37 innings of work. That said, the aforementioned home/road splits are back at it here as he posted a 3.71 ERA in three starts at Oracle Park compared to a 0.90 ERA across three starts against the Giants at home.
In his seven starts, eight appearances and 40.1 innings for his career at Oracle Park, Buehler has pitched to a 3.35 ERA, so he’s still been successful in this venue, but not as lights out as he’s been at home in his career at Dodger Stadium.
In a season where plenty of Giants players surprised to the upside, perhaps no one stepped up in a bigger way than 24-year-old Logan Webb who enjoyed a fantastic season.
After pitching to a 5.47 ERA in 54.1 innings during the shortened 2020 season, Webb came out and hurled a 3.03 ERA/2.72 FIP in his 148.1 innings this season between 26 starts and a lone relief outing. Webb also worked to a 3.22 xERA, 2.79 xFIP and 3.13 SIERA.
Webb put forth a healthy K-rate at 9.59 K/9 while limiting walks to just 2.18 per nine, both of which were major improvements from a season ago. He actually only allowed 0.66 HR/9 last season, but bested that mark this time around with an elite 0.55 HR/9 that ranked second only to the aforementioned Burnes (0.38) among pitchers with at least 140 innings pitched on the season.
The work gets even better at home. While he posted a 4.08 ERA on the road, Webb dazzled to the tune of a 1.96 ERA/2.35 FIP at home this season where the punchout jumped to 10.55 K/9, the walks dropped to just 1.84 BB/9 and the home runs to only 0.49 HR/9. Webb’s 5.73 K/BB at home was notably better than his 3.43 mark on the road.
Three of Webb’s 26 starts this season came against the rival Dodgers, and Webb was on point with a 2.25 ERA in those 16 innings of work. His best start against the Dodgers this season happened to be his lone start against them at home. Webb hurled six innings of one-run ball while allowing just three hits and a walk against five punchouts on July 27, taking a tough-luck no decision in the process.
Offense and Bullpen Notes
The Dodgers may not have been the best offense in baseball this season, but they were no slouch, either. They tied the Reds for the sixth-best offense in baseball as per their .327 wOBA while their .185 ISO sat alone in sixth spot.
That said, we have some notable home/road splits on our hands here. While the Dodgers were one of the best offenses in baseball at home, they slipped to 12th with a .315 wOBA on the road where the power took a notable dip to a 20th-ranked .156 ISO.
Making matters worse is that the road work was even worse down the stretch. Over the final 30 days of the regular season, the Dodgers tied for 20th with a .291 wOBA on the road where the power dropped even further to a .141 ISO that sat 24th in baseball. As good as this offense is, they’ve struggled outside of Dodger Stadium mightily down the stretch.
As a final note, keep in mind Max Muncy is out for the NLDS with an elbow issue, removing an elite bat from this Dodger lineup.
As for the bullpen, it was one of the very best in the business, finishing second in baseball with a 3.16 ERA and worked to a 2.61 mark over the last 30 days. That bullpen was a big reason as to why the team got through the Cardinals in Wednesday’s Wild Card game, pitching 4.2 innings of shutout ball between five relievers in that one.
It was more of the same from the bullpen on the road as they pitched to a 3.03 ERA as a bullpen away from home this season.
The Giants made progress at the plate last season and put it all together this time around thanks to some lofty work from their veteran core.
The return of Buster Posey was a big one for this group as he enjoyed his best season since 2014 with a 140 wRC+ at the dish while Brandon Crawford actually led the team with a 5.5 fWAR while posted a 139 wRC+ at the dish. Add in Evan Longoria’s 123 wRC+ and the old guys got it done in San Fran.
Buster Posey out here putting an exclamation point on an incredible season for both himself and the Giants. pic.twitter.com/oP6uhgtj6q
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) October 3, 2021
They were far from the only productive bats in the lineup, however, as the Giants tied the White Sox for fourth in baseball with a .329 wOBA and tied the Braves for the second-most power in the league by way of a .191 ISO. Usually a pitcher-friendly venue in Oracle Park, the Giants made that place look small this season as they ranked eighth with both a .334 wOBA and .185 ISO at home this season.
Certainly not to be outdone, the Giants’ bullpen finished the season as the best in the business with a 2.99 ERA, obviously the only team to finish ahead of the Dodgers in that department. The bullpen work was nearly identical between home and the road with a 3.01 ERA at home, the third-best home bullpen ERA in baseball.
Obviously, it’s a well-rested group after having last pitched in the final day of the regular season on Sunday.
- Dodgers are 5-0 SU & ATS over their last five games
- Dodgers are 13-4 in their last 17 Divisional Playoff games
- Over is 5-1 in the Dodgers’ last six games
- Over is 6-1 in the Dodgers’ last seven road playoff games
- Giants are 8-1 over their last nine games
- Giants are 5-1 in their last six home games
- Over is 5-1 in the Giants’ last six games as an underdog
- Under is 6-2 in the Giants’ last six games versus a right-handed pitcher
Head to Head
Giants are 6-2 in the last eight meetings
Dodgers are 12-5 in the last 17 meetings in San Francisco
Under is 5-2-1 in the last eight meetings
Dodgers vs. Giants NLDS Game 1 Pick
As noted in the opening, the Giants edged the Dodgers by just one game to win the NL West, and man is the ensuing home-field advantage important here.
The main reason as to why is that listless Dodgers road offense down the stretch. To add to the numbers listed above, I’ll also note that the Dodgers ranked 28th with a .272 wOBA and 29th with a .122 ISO against right-handed pitching on the road over the season’s last 30 days. That’s a 329 plate-appearance sample, so it’s not exactly a small dose.
Not only that, but they’re taking on a pitcher that posted a sub-2.00 ERA at home this season in what is a pitcher-friendly venue. It’s just not a great offensive picture for the Dodgers on the road in this one despite the fact that dangerous lineup can obviously go off at any time.
Walker Buehler has certainly been very good, and in terms of postseason experience he already has plenty of it at age 27. Webb and many of these Giants players do not, but that Giants core still knows how to win this time of the year with Posey and Crawford sporting three World Series rings apiece.
In what should be an intensely close matchup tonight, the value here is on the home side at +103 odds.