The San Francisco Giants set a franchise record with 107 wins last season to claim their first National League West title since 2012. It snapped the Los Angeles Dodgers’ streak of eight consecutive division crowns, who tied a franchise record with 106 wins.
An epic regular season showdown carried over into the postseason as the longtime rivals met in the NL Division Series. Fittingly, the teams’ first ever matchup in the playoffs came down to a winner-take-all Game 5 at Oracle Park, which saw the Dodgers earn a hard-fought victory.
Mookie Betts manufactured the club’s first run after hitting a one-out single in the top of the sixth before stealing second base and scoring on a Corey Seager RBI double.
Betts is no stranger to postseason battles against rivals as he spent the first six years of his career with the Boston Red Sox and faced the New York Yankees in the 2018 American League Division Series.
Betts was on the winning side of that matchup as well as Boston eliminated New York in four games. “Yankees-Red Sox, man, that’s mean. That’s different,” he began when asked to compare the historic rivalries.
“This is definitely different. Maybe the different coasts, East Coast people are different than West Coast. I don’t know. But it’s definitely a lot of fun to be a part of a rivalry like this. Just being a part of it, being able to contribute in it is just fun.”
While the 2021 NLDS marked the first time the Dodgers and Giants squared off in the playoffs, the Yankees and Red Sox have more history during the month of October.
The rivals have met five times in the postseason, with the most recent matchup occurring in this year’s AL Wild Card Game. The Red Sox won that contest and have taken their last three playoff series against the Yankees.
Scully: NLDS Game 5 ‘most important’ in Dodgers-Giants rivalry
Retired broadcaster Vin Scully, who called plenty of memorable Dodgers-Giants contests during his career, deemed Game 5 of the NLDS the most significant in the history of the teams’ rivalry.
“Now I feel pressure. Gosh darn it, Vin,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts jokingly said before the elimination matchup when the tweets were brought to his attention. “I really don’t like to get beyond one game, so thanks for sharing that.
“I mean, yeah, to kind of take my manager’s cap off, it’s a great day, it’s a big game. For Vin to say that, no one knows this rivalry better than he does, so it just gives you the gravity of what it means.
“And it’s bigger than just one game and that’s what’s beautiful about this rivalry, sports in general. So we’re going to enjoy it, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
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