The first postseason series between the Dodgers and Giants will be hard to top. Five games between the two best MLB teams, bitter rivals fighting it out until the very last pitch of the very last inning. The Dodgers won and moved on to the NLCS for the fifth time in six years, but before we look ahead to Atlanta, let’s consider just how compelling the NLDS was.
I’m a sucker for newspapers the day after a big sports event, especially with a great headline. Here are a few from Friday morning, with “CODY TO THE MAX” at the Los Angeles Daily News my clear favorite.
The @OCRegister’s front page and sports cover for Friday morning features coverage of the Dodgers’ #NLDS Game 5 victory over the Giants.— Inside SoCal Sports (@InsideSoCalSpts) October 15, 2021
The #LADodgers will play the Braves in Atlanta this Saturday for Game 1 of the #NLCS. pic.twitter.com/D5UMT4gq1o
Tonight was a classic, worthy of its famous predecessors in ‘51 and ‘62.— Chris Stone (@LAT_ChrisStone) October 15, 2021
Will miss @latimessports series-long collab with @ChristinaKahrl and her @SportingGreenSF crew. Over too soon.
Tomorrow’s covers tonight, the views from LA and SF, one last time. pic.twitter.com/c8xialqw6Y
- “We poured everything we could into this series and it took everything we had to beat these guys,” said manager Dave Roberts, from Bill Plunkett’s Game 5 recap at the Orange County Register.
- Andy McCullough at The Athletic goes deep inside the Dodgers’ collaborative decision to use openers Corey Knebel and Brusdar Graterol before Julio Urías in Game 5. “It’s a gamble,” pitching coach Mark Prior told McCullough. “But you’ve got to do some unorthodox things sometimes in the playoffs.”
- A tense Game 5 was the perfect end to the Dodgers-Giants tug of war, says Tim Keown at ESPN.
- An otherwise classic and excellent series ended with the stain of an inexplicable check-swing call, writes Brendan Gawlowski at FanGraphs.
- “It was fitting that this series, and an entire season that has been so competitive between these ancient rivals, would be decided by the smallest of margins and the most difficult of calls,” wrote Jim Alexander at the Orange County Register.
- Trea Turner on Cody Bellinger, who struggled mightily in the regular season but came up with the NLDS-winning hit in Game 5: “It only takes one swing of the bat to be forgiven,” from Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic.
- From John Trupin’s Game 5 recap at Baseball Prospectus: “As he ran down the first base line, pointing at his dugout, he was Cody Bellinger again, at least for one moment.”
- The Dodgers’ faith in Gavin Lux is paying off, especially after a 3-for-9 NLDS with a pair of walks. Mike DiGiovanna at the Los Angeles Times has more.
- Grant Brisbee at The Athletic offers perspective from the Giants side: “Not every team’s fan base gets to collect pain stamps on a punch card and trade it in eventually for a free championship, but every so often it works. And, hot dang, do those fans earn it, three-hour punch to the mound after three-hour punch to the mound, over several years, if not decades, until the punches stop coming.”
- Hannah Keyser at Yahoo Sports on the incredibly narrow margin between two excellent teams in a highly competitive series: “That’s sort of the funny thing about being an athlete: The goal is always the same, and even after you’ve reached it once, it stays just as alluring and just as far away. And if you come up just short? There’s no such thing as a consolation prize.”
- Brady Klopfer at McCovey Chronicles offered another Giants perspective, ably recapping both the game and a 109-win season in one fell, late-night swoop.
- From Alden Gonzalez in a video essay for ESPN: “Of course the Dodgers and Giants, two historic rivals in the midst of two dominant seasons, were tied until the very last inning.”