How history can repeat itself in epic, winner-take-all showdown between SF Giants-LA Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — The first modern-era playoff matchup between the Giants and Dodgers seemed destined to come down to a winner-take-all game.

A 107-win Giants club won the National League West by the narrowest of margins over a 106-win Dodgers club in large part because it won the season series between the clubs 10-to-9, so of course their NLDS showdown will come down to one game.

“This is what baseball wants,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday. “I think, as I understand, all the series are done and so we’re going to be the only show in town. So if you have a pulse or you’re a sports fan, you better be watching Dodgers-Giants.”

Thursday’s matchup at Oracle Park will be billed as the biggest in the history of the rivalry, but depending on your viewpoint, that’s not necessarily the case.

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In 1951 and 1962, the Giants and Dodgers met in best-of-three tiebreaker series at the end of the regular season to determine which club would represent the National League in the World Series. Those series were officially recorded as regular season games, but they came with the same type of pressure and intensity San Francisco and Los Angeles have brought to this year’s postseason matchup.

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And if history repeats itself, Giants fans will leave Oracle Park late Thursday evening with the memory of a lifetime.

In 1951, the New York Giants took a 1-0 lead in the tiebreaker with a 3-1 victory over Ralph Branca and the Brooklyn Dodgers before Jackie Robinson’s club bounced back with a 10-0 blowout win in Game 2.

The winner-take-all Game 3 was played at the Polo Grounds and the way it ended lives on in baseball lore 70 years later. With the Giants trailing 4-1 entering the bottom of the ninth inning, Whitey Lockman hit a RBI double off Dodgers starter Don Newcombe before Brooklyn called on reliever Ralph Branca to finish the job against third baseman Bobby Thomson.

The rest is known as the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World.”

Thomson’s three-run walk-off home run sent the Polo Grounds into a frenzy as his blast carried …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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