The best baseball action this coming weekend is in the Bay. The Los Angeles Dodgers are visiting the San Francisco Giants. This is also one of the best long-standing rivalries in the majors. It goes all the way back to their New York days and both teams moved to the west coast in the same year.
That’s in the past, though, and the present is plenty juicy. The two teams have been among the best in baseball all season, at times the two best in baseball, and are fighting for first place in the NL West. In fact, they are tied with the best record in baseball at 85-49.
In anticipation of this battle, let’s run through some of the storylines coming in.
This is the last time they’ll play
While the Dodgers have seven games left with the Padres and the Giants have a ridiculous 10 left versus San Diego, this series is the last time the Dodgers and Giants meet in the regular season.
That is unless, of course, they end up tied through 162 games. If that happens, there’s a one-game playoff that counts as a regular season game. I hadn’t even thought of it before, but now that I am, I’d just like to say “yes, please.”
The series has been even
In 16 games thus far, the Giants and Dodgers have each one eight. Beyond that, they’ve both scored 68 runs. How about that, huh?
In Oracle Park, the Dodgers have taken four of six overall, but the last time these two teams met was July 27-29 and the Giants took two of three at home.
The Dodgers are scorching hot
Though the Dodgers did lose a series at home to the Rockies last weekend — which is a serious offense given the Rockies’ historic ineptitude away from Coors Field — they are playing incredible baseball in many ways. They’ve won …
- Three in a row
- Seven of nine
- 16 of 19
- 20 of 24
- 23 of 29
Since July 30, the Dodgers have outscored their opponents 141-75.
The Giants are not
One week ago, the Giants were themselves very hot. But now they’ve lost five of their last seven, coughing up what was a five-game lead just back in the middle of August. They temporarily lost first place to the Dodgers for the first time since May 30. They lost a road series to the Braves and then a home series to the Brewers. Two good teams, for sure, but also the types of teams they’ll be facing in the playoffs. With this being their last chance to best the Dodgers in head-to-head play, they’d sure like to get back on track here.
The pitching matchups
The Giants avoid Max Scherzer and the still-injured Clayton Kershaw, but they’ll have to deal with Cy Young frontrunner Walker Buehler (13-2, 2.05 ERA). Buehler hasn’t allowed more than two runs or worked fewer than six innings since July 5. In his last 20 starts, he has a 1.57 ERA. He’s remarkably already faced the Giants five times this year, pitching to a 0.79 ERA and 0.82 WHIP. Somehow, the Giants won two of those games, though, so he isn’t untouchable.
Buehler gets the ball Sunday. David Price starts for the Dodgers Friday against Anthony DeSclafani of the Giants. Saturday it’s Julio Urias for the Dodgers. We don’t know the Giants’ starters for Saturday or Sunday.
Kevin Gausman started Wednesday and Logan Webb started Thursday for the Giants. With Alex Wood and Johnny Cueto on the injured list, DeSclafani is the only healthy starter left in their rotation. Manager Gabe Kapler has said they are prepared to go with bullpen games in the absence of Cueto and Wood. The Giants do have a strong and deep bullpen and two options that could get them length would be lefty Jose Quintana and fellow lefty Sammy Long.
The Giants lead the majors in home runs and the Dodgers are fourth.
On this note, I’ll point out it’s unfortunate that it’s the Sunday Night game. That means we’ll have to listen to A-Rod preach small ball for three and a half hours. You know, the guy who hit 696 career home runs and had zero sac bunts in the last 16 years of his career.
Regardless, this is going to be a really fun series. It’s one of the best rivalries in baseball with first place on the line in September between teams coming in with the best record in baseball. Get excited!