SAN FRANCISCO – Mookie Betts decided to forget about all the victories the Dodgers and Giants had in their intense close to the regular season.
San Francisco led the defending World Series champions by a single game to take first place in the NL West: 107 wins to 106.
Thus, both teams totaled 213 wins combined.
Now the pair of baseball’s most entrenched clubs face off in the next phase of the postseason and the winner will be the one who wins three of five games in the Division Series. The first game will be played this Friday night in the Bay Area.
“It seems to me that the 106 games are already out of the picture. They didn’t help us win the division, they are irrelevant,” Betts said after the Dodgers they beat 3-1 the Cardinals in an electrifying wild card game to set up the instant classic of the NL Division Series.
“Now we are here. We have to play as we play. Obviously we have to take advantage of what we have learned in 106 victories. We have to try and apply that now. Without further ado, those 106 victories are irrelevant.”
There is no doubt that this rivalry gets more interesting even before the first ball is thrown because the Dodgers and Giants meet for the first time in the October phase.
“This series is going to be crazy in both places,” Giants third baseman Evan Longoria said Thursday.
The bitter rivalry between the two teams dates back to their memorable days of yore in New York.
In 1951 and 1962 they played the last tiebreaker game in the series to win two of three in the National League. The Giants were victorious both times.
Needless to say, they are technically tied for their decisive game this year: The Giants won the season series 10-9, but the Dodgers beat San Francisco 80-78 in runs.
Los Angeles had won the previous eight division titles.
“I thought the competition was going to end like this anyway,” Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski said. “It seemed to me that I didn’t even have to watch the game to imagine who we would play against.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts knows this is the series of series everyone wanted to see in the playoffs after what both teams accomplished to reach this stage of the competition.
“There is quite a bit of familiarity, which makes it fun, even more challenging,” said Roberts. “This series will be fantastic.”