It is time for the San Francisco Giants to play the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLDS, a game that will propel one team into the NLCS, and send the other home at the hands of the team they battled neck and neck all year.
You’re nervous. I’m not here to tell you not to be.
But hopefully the following stats help.
The Giants are undefeated in Logan Webb home starts
Counting the postseason, Webb has made 14 starts at Oracle Park this year. The Giants are 14-0 in those games.
That always requires some luck, not just single-player dominance. The bullpen has to do their part. The hitters have to score runs. Five of those 14 games, after all, were decided by just one run.
But it also requires some dominance, and Webb has been the epitome of dominant at home this year. He’s allowed just 16 earned runs in 81 innings, good for a 1.78 ERA. He’s struck out 96 batters in those games, and allowed fewer than one extra-base hit per outing.
And just to put the cherry on the sundae ...
Logan Webb is a good hitter at home
OK, “good” is doing a lot of work here, so let’s amend that to “relatively good.”
Webb finished the regular season with an OPS of .600 at home this season, thanks in part to a home run on the final day of the season.
Even if we add his 0-3 outing on Friday, Webb finished with a .531 OPS ... better than Billy McKinney, and essentially equal with Cody Bellinger and Steven Souza Jr.
It’s a stretch to say that the Giants have a ninth weapon in the lineup, but if we’re cherry picking stats to make us feel good — and that’s exactly what we’re doing here — don’t discount Webb in the batter’s box.
The Dodgers have won 12 straight Julio Urías starts
This might seem like a stat to give you pessimism, and honestly, if you’re statistically minded, it probably will do exactly that.
But let’s be narrative minded for a moment, and remember that Dave Roberts decided to use Corey Knebel as an opener before handing things over to Urías.
Buster Posey and elimination games are a match made in heaven
This one comes courtesy of the great Andrew Baggarly, who notes that Posey has been behind the dish for 11 elimination games in his career.
The Giants have won 10 of them.
Baggarly notes that Posey has actually hit fairly poorly in those 11 games, save for, you know .... well ...
The Giants, and Webb, have won the season series
It’s been the slimmest of margins between the Giants and Dodgers this season, but they’ve played an odd number of games, meaning someone has to come out on top.
So far the Giants have been that someone.
In 23 matchups the Giants have won 12 games to the Dodgers’ 11. They’re also 3-0 in Webb games, though that number is a touch less exciting when you remember that they’re 0-2 in Urías games.
Kris Bryant is good in general, good right now, and good against Urías
It’s perhaps easy to forget this, seeing as how Bryant ended the season in a slump, but he’s a very good player.
And he’s reminded us of that this series. The Giants trade deadline acquisition has been their best hitter this series, going 6-13 with a home run, a walk, and just 2 strikeouts. Nearly every at-bat has ended in hard contact.
The pessimistic view is that Bryant went 0-4 on Saturday, but even including his 0-2 against Urías, Bryant has hit 4-15 with a home run and a walk against the lefty in his career.
No one has faced Corey Knebel more than Kris Bryant
Conventional wisdom says that the fewer times a pitcher and hitter have faced, advantage pitcher. The more times they’ve faced, advantage hitter.
Knebel, the Dodgers opener, has faced no batter in his professional career (postseason included) more than Bryant. More importantly, Bryant has done really well against Knebel, hitting 3-12 with 2 doubles and 4 walks.
Logan Webb has had a lot of success vs. these dudes
As I was finishing up the article, the Dodgers released their Game 5 lineup.
Here’s how the Dodgers eight position players have fared — past seasons and Friday’s game included — against the Giants ace:
Justin Turner: 3-10, 3 doubles, 1 walk (1.017 OPS)
Chris Taylor: 4-13, 1 home run, 5 strikeouts (.846 OPS)
Gavin Lux: 1-5, 1 double, 1 strikeout (.733 OPS)
Will Smith: 2-8, 1 double, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts (.708 OPS)
Mookie Betts: 2-8, 1 walk, 1 strikeout (.583 OPS)
Corey Seager: 2-10, 1 double, 1 strikeout (.500 OPS)
Cody Bellinger: 3-16, 1 double, 4 strikeouts (.438 OPS)
Trea Turner: 0-5, 2 strikeouts (.000 OPS)
Playing at home still helps
Yes, the Dodgers might have split the games at Oracle Park this series, and the Giants might have returned favor at Dodger Stadium.
But a home field advantage is still a home field advantage.
Postseason included, the Giants have gone 55-28 at home this year. The Dodgers have gone 49-34 on the road.
And most of those Giants home games were played without a full and raucous postseason crowd.
And without Logan Webb.