Logan Webb might not have been a national name heading into Friday’s Game 1 of the much-anticipated National League Division Series between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. However, after he shut out the Dodgers for 7.2 innings in the Giants’ 4-0 win, he certainly is now. Webb was dominant against a really good Los Angeles lineup and was backed by a first-inning Buster Posey home run that gave San Francisco an early lead to hold.
Now, the Dodgers have to draw even or risk going down 2-0 to the team that had the best record in baseball. They’ll rely on Julio Urías to pitch better against San Francisco than Walker Buehler did and, considering how good Urías was all season, he’s a good pitcher to put your faith in for LA
In Game 2, the Giants will go with Kevin Gausman who, like Webb, had a career-best campaign in 2021 and was one of the best pitchers in baseball. He was named to his first All-Star team and helped San Francisco leave the rest of the NL in its dust. But, after a few postseason relief appearances with the Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves, Gausman will be making his first MLB playoff start on Saturday night.
First pitch from Oracle Park on Saturday is at 9:07 p.m. ET. The BetUS Sportsbook has the Dodgers as -116 moneyline favorites and as +145 favorites on the runline. The Giants are +106 moneyline underdogs and -165 underdogs on the runline. MLB playoff odds have the over/under at 7½ runs.
Urías as Reliable as it Gets
The Dodgers were almost unstoppable when Urías was on the mound in 2021, going 26-6 in his 32 starts and winning each of his final 11 starts. Of course, Urías had nothing to do with the run support he got or how well the Dodgers’ bullpen pitched in his starts, but it shows how he gave Los Angeles a good chance to win basically every time he was on the mound.
Urías had a 2.96 ERA on the season with a 1.018 WHIP and nearly 10 strikeouts per nine innings. He held opponents to a .219 batting average and only allowed 18 home runs in his 185.2 innings. It was a pretty great all-around season in which he only improved upon his big 2020 postseason, when he was one of the Dodgers’ most trusted arms both in the rotation and out of the bullpen.
Urías also finished off the regular season well, posting a 2.06 ERA in his six starts in September and October. Once Los Angeles traded for Max Scherzer at the trade deadline, he settled in very nicely as one of the No. 3 starters in all of baseball. If you’re betting online, look for the Dodgers to draw even in this series behind a trademark strong Urías outing.
Gausman Hasn’t Been Pitching as Well Lately
It’s tough to point out any flaws in Gausman’s 2021 season because, like with Urías, he was pretty good all the way through. He compiled a 2.81 ERA in his 33 starts, struck out a remarkable 227 batters in his 192 innings, and held the opposition to a .210 batting average (and arguably more impressive .264 on-base percentage). He improved on his solid shortened 2020 season with his unquestioned best year as a pro, giving the Giants more ace-caliber production from an unexpected source.
If there is any place to criticize Gausman, it’s with his relative lack of postseason experience and his recent trend of not pitching particularly deep into games. Gausman has only thrown 10 innings in the playoffs, spread out over a couple of seasons in Baltimore and Atlanta, when he was a far less accomplished pitcher than he is now. Still, though, playoff baseball is a much different animal than regular season baseball and Urías is playoff-tested and playoff-proven in a way that Gausman just hasn’t been.
Also, Gausman has only gotten outs in the seventh inning twice since the beginning of July. The Giants would be ecstatic to get six solid innings from Gausman and then throw the game to their strong bullpen. However, Gausman routinely went seven or eight innings earlier in the season and did so much less often as the year went on, which could be a sign of fatigue or just of declining production.
In the first half of the season, he had an eye-popping 1.73 ERA with an opposing batting average of .159 (and slugging percentage of .258). In the second half of the season, his ERA climbed to 4.42, the opposing batting average was .276, and the slugging percentage was .458. Those are concerning trends which is why you should go with the MLB lines and take the Dodgers as the favorites.
If you’re making MLB picks, resist the temptation to take the Giants at home and the juice. Of course, San Francisco has been bucking expectations all season and has as versatile a lineup as it gets. But, the Dodgers — even without Max Muncy — aren’t going to fade away easily. They’ll make this a series and bounce back on Saturday night in the Bay.