The Giants-Dodgers rivalry did not disappoint this season ... and it might not be over.
Clinching a 10-9 season series victory over their arch-rivals, the Giants will finish the season with the head-to-head advantage over Los Angeles.
Though San Francisco had success over the Dodgers this season, it certainly didn't begin that way. Two of the first three series between the two teams resulted in a Dodgers sweep.
On June 21, MLB implemented a rule change to combat the use of foreign substances on the mound. A week after that rule went into place, the Dodgers had a 6-3 season series lead over the Giants. Since that point, the Giants went on to win seven of the next 10 games against the Dodgers.
Coincidence? Giants broadcaster Dave Flemming doesn't believe so.
"I’m not accusing anybody, because they’re not the only ones," Flemming said on 95.7 The Game's "Morning Roast." "This isn’t a controversial statement, but the rule change about the sticky substances, that changed the Dodgers team.
"They’re still good, still really really good," Flemming added. "Walker Buehler can no longer throw a fastball one after another by the Giants. Julio Urias can no longer blow the Giants away with pure stuff. It changed those guys, it did. That, to me, changed this season. The Dodgers have been impacted by that more than anybody."
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The Dodgers aren't the only team impacted by the rule change, Flemming believes.
"The Padres have been impacted by it, too. Yu Darvish’s performance has fallen off a cliff, basically to the day that rule change was made and several other pitchers have struggled since then.”
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It was well documented that the use of certain foreign substances -- such as Spider Tack -- was pretty widespread throughout the game. It wasn't an absurdly taboo thing to be associated with by any means, but it did impact certain pitcher's spin rates, velocity, break, etc.
“I’m not blaming anybody, MLB wasn’t enforcing it," Flemming said. "This is not an accusatory thing, but I'm just saying that it did change their season and it didn’t change the Giants. The Giants were not reliant on that stuff and they have held the line with their performance.”
The regular season campaign between the Giants and Dodgers is over. The Giants came out on top. The fight for the NL West crown, though, is far from over.
And should the two teams meet in the postseason for the first time ever, the Dodgers will have unfinished business to attend to.
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