With resolution at hand, the Giants are running out of time to find their bats

LOS ANGELES — Walker Buehler was pretty good on three days’ rest. On Thursday we’ll see how the Giants’ offense works on four games of sleep.

Only the most distinguished oracle would dare to predict what will happen in Game 5, with the Dodgers and Giants locked in Oracle Park until the winner of this National League Division Series comes out.

But San Francisco did not win 107 regular-season games by swinging the bats as inefficiently as this. Now Julio Urias, the Dodgers’ four-leaf clover, is rested and ready for Thursday.

“I don’t think we could have any more confidence in anybody than we do in Julio,” Buehler said.

Five of the first 10 Dodgers got hits in Game 3, and nine of the first 17 either reached base or launched a run-scoring fly ball. The Dodgers also left five men in scoring position in the first three innings and only led by a nervous 2-0. But Mookie Betts drilled a two-run homer to right field in the fourth inning, and the Giants couldn’t have made up that deficit if they’d borrowed Steph Curry.

Buehler was able to come out after 71 pitches and 13 outs. The final was 7-2, and now the Dodgers go north with Urias. In his 33 starts this year they are 27-6.

“I don’t think we’re going to spend a long time dissecting this game,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said.

For a series between such tightly yoked teams, this is bringing back lopsided memories of the 1960 World Series. In that seven-gamer, the Yankees outscored Pittsburgh 55-27 and still lost, thanks to Bill Mazeroski, who is still alive and still doesn’t have to buy any drinks in Iron City.

After four games the Dodgers are again the kings of run-differential with 16 runs to the Giants’ nine. Logan Webb, the right-hander who dealt the Dodgers the first shutout in the series opener last Friday, is the Game 5 starter for San Francisco.

The second shutout came Monday in Game 3, when the Giants won, 1-0, without having a runner in scoring position in the final eight innings. Nor did they have one in the final eight innings of Game 1, getting their four runs on home runs by Buster Posey, Kris Bryant and Brandon Crawford.

With all the talk about the crippling loss of Max Muncy, the Giants probably miss Brandon Belt, their injured first baseman, even more. He broke his thumb, and the only hits they’ve gotten from a first baseman have come from Bryant, who of course is a third baseman by trade but has played left field, center field, first base and right field in the first four games.

Going into Game 4 the Giants had 16 hits in this series, 12 from Bryant, Posey and Brandon Crawford. Everybody else was 4 for 57. As a whole, the team had four walks and a .230 on-base percentage.

After Game 4 the Giants were hitting .184 for the series, with eight total runs.

“I would chalk up these struggles, if you call them that, to running …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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