The Dodgers open a three-game series Tuesday night with the Giants, winners of eight straight games and possessors of hope that they can make an improbable run to the playoffs. That puts the Dodgers in the role of spoilers, which is just another layer to the longtime rivalry between the two teams.
I took a look back at 1982 and 1993 for SB Nation Los Angeles, when the Giants and Dodgers took turns eliminating each other from the playoffs on the final day of the regular season.
In 1982, the Dodgers needed a win at Candlestick Park to force a one-game playoff at Dodger Stadium with the Atlanta Braves. The game was tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, and relief pitcher (and lifetime .397 hitter) Terry Forster faced Joe Morgan with runners on second and third base with two outs.
Forster got ahead of Morgan 1-2, but hung a slider that the Hall of Famer hammered over the right field fence for a 5-2 lead. "I still remember watching Joe between first and second base," teammate Duane Kuiper said of Morgan, per the San Francisco Chronicle. "He raised his right arm as if to say, 'If we're not going to win it, you're not either.' "
Eleven years later, the Giants needed a win at Dodger Stadium to force a one-game playoff at Candlestick Park with the Braves. The Dodgers, however, had other ideas:
The Dodgers knocked out Salomon Torres in the fourth inning, then hit four home runs off the Giants bullpen as they cruised to a 12-1 win. Mike Piazza hit two of the home runs, ending the greatest rookie season ever for a catcher (.318/.370/.561, 35 home runs, 112 RBI).
For the Dodgers, it ended their season at .500, but was worth celebrating since they eliminated their hated rivals. "We had a little meeting before the game and Tommy [Lasorda] gave us a little pep talk," outfielder Cory Snyder told the Los Angeles Times. "Tommy came in and started reciting the stats and times that the Giants had knocked the Dodgers out of the pennant, and that seemed to be all the incentive we needed."
The Dodgers can't eliminate the Giants from the postseason, but they can potentially officially end San Francisco's hopes of winning the National League West. At the very least, the Dodgers can deliver a crushing blow to the already dim (4.4%) playoff hopes of the Giants.