Sports

Giants stymied by LA; NLDS evened up

7:16 AM UTC

SAN FRANCISCO — On paper, at the very least, the Giants are constructed to crush left-handed pitching. In actuality, they’ve appeared mortal towards lefties in current weeks, a flaw that was on show on Saturday evening at Oracle Park.    

The Giants had few solutions for Dodgers left-hander Julio Urías, who allowed solely three hits over 5 innings of one-run ball in San Francisco’s 9-2 loss in Game 2 of the National League Division Series, night this best-of-five showdown between the longtime rivals at one sport apiece.

San Francisco trailed, 2-1, heading into the sixth inning, however the Dodgers broke the sport open with a four-run rally that was sparked by Cody Bellinger’s two-run, bases-loaded double off Dominic Leone. The Giants acquired one run again on Brandon Crawford’s RBI single within the backside of the sixth, however their momentum fizzled when Wilmer Flores bumped into the third out of the inning at third base following a spectacular throw from Dodgers proper fielder Mookie Betts.

Los Angeles tacked on three extra runs within the eighth to show what had as soon as been an in depth affair right into a blowout.

“It wasn’t our greatest effort tonight,” supervisor Gabe Kapler stated. “The Dodgers simply swung the bats higher than us, made extra pitches than us, made extra performs than us. So as we have finished all season lengthy, we’ll flip the web page, prepare for an off-day of preparation and prepare for Game 3.”

The collection will now shift to Los Angeles, the place the Giants and Dodgers will meet for Game 3 on Monday evening at Dodger Stadium. Left-hander Alex Wood, a former Dodger, will begin for the Giants and oppose right-hander Max Scherzer.

In Division Series with the present 2-2-1 format, groups which have break up the primary two video games of their opponent’s house ballpark, earlier than returning house for Game 3, have gone on to win the collection 23 of 36 instances (64%). This excludes 2020 (Division Series performed at impartial websites).

While dealing with Scherzer — a three-time Cy Young Award winner and future Hall of Famer — will probably be a tall job, the Giants have established a observe report of success towards righties this 12 months. They’ve gone 80-35 (.696) towards right-handed starters, most just lately tagging Dodgers ace Walker Buehler for 3 runs over 6 1/3 innings of their 4-0 win in Game 1 on Friday evening.

Against lefties, although, their offense has been spottier. After being held in examine by Urías, the Giants fell to 27-21 (.574) towards left-handed starters, together with 11-11 for the reason that All-Star break.

The Giants’ current struggles towards lefties are a bit confounding, as they often stack their lineup with right-handed bats after they face southpaws. Crawford and starter Kevin Gausman had been the lone left-handed hitters within the Giants’ lineup on Saturday, which featured a deep pocket of lefty killers — Darin Ruf (1.007 OPS vs. LHP throughout the common season), Kris Bryant (.910 OPS), Austin Slater (.894 OPS), Buster Posey (1.051 OPS) and Flores (.803 OPS) — on the high half of the order.

Still, Urías managed to restrict the Giants to just one run, which got here by way of Donovan Solano’s sacrifice fly within the second.

“Every time we have put our right-handed-hitting lineup on the market towards a left-handed starter, we at all times really feel actually good about it as a result of for those who go man-for-man up and down our lineup, we simply have good numbers, significantly towards lefties,” Kapler stated. “So you form of assume that is going to point out up in video games towards left-handed starters, nevertheless it actually hasn’t occurred for us constantly all through the season. It’s been one of many areas that we form of struggled. And final 12 months it was most of these lineups that simply produced a lot.”

Saturday put an even bigger highlight on slumping third baseman Evan Longoria, who posted a 1.088 OPS towards lefties throughout the common season, however went hitless in 4 at-bats to stay mired in a 3-for-44 funk over his final 13 video games.

“I assumed his swing appeared a bit bit higher tonight,” Kapler stated. “I actually have a ton of belief in Evan. He’s only a skilled hitter who has finished it very efficiently for a really very long time, had a superb 12 months for us, and goes by a time period and a stretch of at-bats that are not going his means.”

The excellent news for the Giants is that the Dodgers’ rotation will not be fairly as left-handed now that Clayton Kershaw is out with a left elbow harm. Los Angeles’ bullpen additionally options solely two lefties — Alex Vesia and David Price — so the Giants will like their probabilities as they head to Southern California and try and reset from their lackluster exhibiting on Saturday, particularly with one other right-hander, Tony Gonsolin, looming as a possible Game 4 starter for the Dodgers.

Still, it’s doable that the Giants may not have seen the final of Urías, who would probably be accessible to pitch in some capability in a possible Game 5 together with Buehler.

“I [have] by no means seen him not having his stuff,” Flores stated of Urías, who improved to 3-1 with a 3.15 ERA over six begins towards San Francisco this 12 months. “He’s at all times had it. Personally, I really feel like I took good at-bats, I hit the ball laborious; generally you simply do not get a consequence. But I assumed he had his stuff.”

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