The Dodgers and Giants have never met in the major league playoffs, but two of the club's Class-A affiliates will face off in the California League Finals beginning Thursday night, with the Rancho Cucamonga hosting the first two games of their best-of-five championship series against the San Jose Giants.
The last time the Quakes reached the Finals was in 1994, when they were a Padres affiliate. The last time the Dodgers had their Cal League affiliate in the Finals was in 2000, when the San Bernardino Stampede beat Visalia in three games for its second straight championship.
One year before, San Bernardino beat San Jose in five games, the last time Dodgers and Giants affiliates have met in the Cal League playoffs. That 1999 San Bernardino team was led by league MVP Chin-Feng Chen, who hit .316/.404/.580 with 31 home runs, 31 steals, 98 runs and 123 RBI.
Chen was the first Dodgers minor leaguer to put up 30/100 in the Cal League until Cody Bellinger did so in 2015, hitting .264/.336/.538 with 33 doubles, 30 home runs, 103 RBI and 97 runs scored.
Bellinger scored the winning run on Wednesday night after singling in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the South Division Finals against the High Desert Mavericks (Rangers), during a stunning comeback rally by the Quakes in their 6-5 win. Bellinger hit two home runs and drove in four runs in the five-game series.
The full series rotation hasn't yet been announced, but the Quakes will go with Chase DeJong and Scott Barlow in the first two games. Those two started the first two games against High Desert as well. Trevor Oaks, Rob Rogers and A.J. Vanegas started the final three games of the division finals.
San Jose, who beat Visalia in 11 innings in Game 5 on Wednesday to complete a comeback from down two games to none in the series, will go with either Martin Agosta or Jordan Johnson in Game 1. In their division final series, they started Johnson, Christian Johnson, Jason Forjet, Andrew Suarez and Samuel Coonrod, in order
Angel Villalona, a former top Giants prospect who missed the 2010 and 2011 seasons while facing a murder charge in the Dominican Republic, is back and hit the game-winning home run in the 11th inning of Game 5 on Wednesday night. He has four home runs and nine RBI in eight playoff games this season for San Jose.
The schedule for the Cal League Finals is a 2-3 format which rotates every year. This season, the first two games are at the South Division champion, giving Rancho Cucamonga the first two games, with the final three, if necessary, in San Jose.
California League Finals schedule
Game 1: Thursday, San Jose at Rancho Cucamonga, 7:05 p.m. PT
Game 2: Friday, San Jose at Rancho Cucamonga, 7:05 p.m.
Game 3: Saturday, Rancho Cucamonga at San Jose, 7 p.m.
Game 4*: Sunday, Rancho Cucamonga at San Jose, 5 p.m.
Game 5*: Monday, Rancho Cucamonga at San Jose, 7 p.m.