It is hard to entwine two teams more tightly than these Giants and these Dodgers, and no, this isn’t about the they’ve-been-archrivals-for-every-day-of-the-last-140-years arglebargle we’ve been subjected to this last month. They are genuinely the same people doing the same things, cloned for your enjoyment until the next bunch of emails the NFL says it didn’t leak get leaked.
And now they have forced themselves to eat a 24th game together Thursday night, as God, Ernie Banks, and the cast of Eight Men Out intended. The Dodgers, hoist on their own considerable petards Monday night by hitting mostly fly balls in an incoming hurricane, modified their behavior to hit line drives on a calmer evening and plow through eight of the 11 Giants pitchers in a clinical 7-2 victory that forced a win-or-golf game between the two best pitchers you haven’t been paying attention to this year, Los Angeles’ Fearless Fly impersonator Julio Urias and San Francisco’s shovel-faced squintmaster Logan Webb.
Who says no to this argument between conjoined twins, especially when the alternative is more Tom Freaking Brady? OK, who other than Comrade McQuade, who would watch the Eagles if the alternative was letting feral weasels claw at his eyes?
The Giants and Dodgers have been peddling the notion that they are different based on preseason expectations, but expectations become meaningless on Day 2. After that, it’s actually about the deeds and those who do them. Yes, the Dodgers could have the Cy Young and MVP winners in the only Washington-based items not involved in the destruction of Jon Gruden, Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, while the Giants have only the Manager of the Year in chess club secretary Gabe Kapler, but in all other ways they do the same stuff at largely the same time. Neither was more than five games separated from each other at any point in the season, in part because the Giants were 43-14 against the Padres, Rockies, and Diamondbacks while the Dodgers were 41-15, and the idea that either team could sweep or even dominate the other was mostly based on payroll comps.
And while knowing that past performance is rarely a useful guide to future earnings, the Dodgers have crushed the Giants in their two wins, 9-2 and 7-2, while the Giants have white-knuckled through 4-0 and 1-0 wins, the 1-0 win coming only because Evan Longoria was the only person to hit a fly ball through the wind the entire night while the rest of the Giants struck out or hit feebler fly balls.
Webb, though, is a grand equalizer, by far the Giants’ best pitcher, which will come in handy given the way Kapler has had to break the bullpen gate from overuse. The trick being, of course, that Urias has started 20 games since his last loss in June, his old-school numbers are 11-0 with an ERA of 2.05, and allowed only six home runs after allowing 13 in the first 15 starts. This game could actually last forever, if we play our viewing cards correctly, and given that the other three series ended in relative calm after four games apiece, we may need that to get our couch money’s worth. Say, like this. Or at least this.
It may be our last best chance to go all night in a series that deserves to do so. Besides, nothing else will satisfy until we get the WFT email that provides the irrefutable story of the JFK assassination. I mean, it’s the only historical item that people haven’t suggested can be found in the 650,000 books of this new NFL bible, so anything less will seem like a disappointment. In other words, we need this game, just to prove that these two teams were actually the split squad game on crank we all have come to believe they are.