Logan Webb dominated in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, keeping the Giants in a spot they’ve been familiar with for most of the season: ahead of the Dodgers. San Francisco took the first game of the best-of-five series, 4-0, behind their 24-year-old ace.
The Dodgers were shutout for the first time in 33 postseason games, dating back to Game 3 of the 2018 NLCS.
Webb confounded the Dodgers with a slew of changeups and sliders, accounting 67 of his 92 pitches (72.8 percent), and why not? He induced 19 swinging strikes on those pitches alone, and 21 in all. Webb struck out 10 — five finished by the slider, four by the changeup — keeping the Dodgers off balance all night.
Logan Webb, 82mph Slider and 86mph Changeup, Overlay/Slow. pic.twitter.com/sqWuUNs4jC— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 9, 2021
In addition to the strikeouts, Webb induced five grounders back to the pitcher. That was the recipe for scoreless baseball into the eighth inning.
“To be quite honest, we didn’t make adjustments,” manager Dave Roberts told reporters. “We chased a lot, more than we should have. If you don’t make adjustments, they’re going to keep going to the well.
“I thought we had the same club all night long, and that was the driver.”
Webb in four 2021 starts against the Dodgers has a 1.52 ERA with 27 strikeouts and four walks in 23⅔ innings.
The Dodgers managed five hits off Webb on Friday, including doubles by Corey Seager and Will Smith, but everyone was stranded, thanks to Los Angeles going hitless in 11 at-bats with runners on base.
San Francisco had one hit with a runner on base, but it was a biggie.
Both teams had similar starts to the first inning: leadoff hitter reached, runner on second with one out, and a runner on third with two outs. Justin Turner grounded a ball off pitcher Webb’s foot, but not far enough away to reach base, keeping the Dodgers scoreless in the opening frame.
It didn’t look like Buster Posey would even get the chance in the bottom of the inning, with \Buehler staying away on his first three pitches to the cleanup hitter. But the fourth pitch caught enough of the plate for Posey to drive a rocket over the high wall in right field, his two-run home run landing in McCovey Cove on a bounce.
Into McCovey Cove! pic.twitter.com/W5EbHBDNbi— MLB (@MLB) October 9, 2021
It’s the first extra-base hit Buehler has ever allowed on a 3-0 count in either the regular or postseason. In previous plate appearances that ended on a 3-0 pitch against Buehler, hitters had one single in five at-bats, and 26 walks.
Buehler allowed only four singles after the Posey home run though the next five innings, and none of those Giants advanced past first base. But Kris Bryant pulled a full-count pitch over the wall in the seventh to give San Francisco some insurance.
It was the first time in his last 10 postseason starts Buehler allowed more than two runs, and his career postseason start (out of 12) allowing two home runs.
Brandon Crawford another insurance run with a solo shot off Alex Vesia in the eighth. The Giants, who led the National League with 241 home runs during the regular season, hit three in Game 1 of the NLDS.
Now, the Dodgers find themselves in a position they were in for 147 different days during the regular season: trailing the Giants.
NLDS Game 1 particulars
Home runs: Buster Posey (1), Kris Bryant (1), Brandon Crawford (1)
WP — Logan Webb (1-0): 7⅔ IP, 5 hits, 10 strikeouts
LP — Walker Buehler (0-1): 6⅓ IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Julio Urías starts Game 2 for the Dodgers on Saturday night, a half-hour earlier (6:07 p.m., TBS), with right-hander Kevin Gausman on the mound for the Giants.
Roberts said Chris Taylor will start in centerfield and Cody Bellinger at first base in Game 2.