By Jon Weisman
It’s September showdown time for the Dodgers and Giants. Two or three games apart in the National League West standings, pending the Giants’ game against Arizona today, Los Angeles and San Francisco play six times in the two weeks, beginning with three at AT&T Park this weekend.
But even after September and the regular season end, the Dodgers and Giants might square off for a series of super-heavyweight bouts.
First, there’s the possibility of an NL West tiebreaker game on September 29, should the two teams finish even in the standings. Home-field advantage for that game will be determined by head-to-head records. San Francisco currently holds that advantage, 7-6, with the six games remaining.
Also, if both teams advance to the playoffs — a good possibility, given San Francisco’s 1 1/2-game lead in the wild-card standings — the Giants and Dodgers could meet in the postseason for the first time since … well, technically, ever, although the two teams had their epic NL tiebreaker series in 1951 and 1962.
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Since the wild-card era began in 1994, the Dodgers and Giants have never been in the playoffs in the same year. The 2014 MLB postseason schedule can be found here.
A Giants-Dodgers playoff battle could come as soon as the National League Division Series. Since 2012, there has been no prohibition against teams from the same division playing in the first round of the postseason. As of this writing, the Dodgers are .001 behind Washington for the best record in the NL, with St. Louis 3 1/2 games back and San Francisco in between — whoever emerges on top will play the winner of the wild-card game.
And if the Giants and Dodgers are in separate NLDS contests, they could reunite for the National League Championship Series, a concept that is forcing me to do all I can not to make earthquake comparisons.
I need to catch my breath just thinking about that.
Getting ahead of myself? Sure. The Dodgers themselves are focused on Friday’s game; I can picture Don Mattingly’s eye-roll if you asked him about next month.
But if your heart starts beating as fast as ever in October, don’t say you weren’t warned.
As for Dodgers-Angels in the World Series? Even I won’t start speculating about that yet.