It will be the best of the National League West when the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers open a brief two-game series starting Monday at Dodger Stadium.
The short series also could be titled “National League Best.”
The Giants will enter with a major league best 50-27 record and will have right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (8-2, 2.77 ERA) on the mound. The Dodgers enter second best in the NL at 47-31 and have right-hander Trevor Bauer (7-5, 2.57) scheduled to start.
Nearly unbeatable of late, the Giants finally were tripped up Sunday in a 6-2 defeat to the Oakland Athletics. It ended San Francisco’s five-game winning streak and their run of 10 victories in 11 games.
It was projected to be a rebuilding season for the Giants and yet they keep on winning. They got off to a 28-16 start through the middle of May, and when they lost three consecutive home games to the Dodgers, it appeared as if they finally had been exposed.
Since then, though, the Giants are 22-8 and purged the sweep at home against the Dodgers from their system by winning three of four at Los Angeles from May 27-30.
The success has come with third baseman Evan Longoria out since June 5 with a shoulder injury. First baseman Brandon Belt (knee) was just added to the injured list, while catcher Buster Posey missed two games with back tightness before collecting two hits Sunday.
“We faced (the Dodgers) twice already this year,” Posey said. “You know you’re going to have a battle on your hands. We’re going to try to have a good approach and do what we can to try to come out on top.”
DeSclafani had a nightmare of an outing against the Dodgers on May 23, giving up 10 runs on nine hits over 2 2/3 innings. But he returned five days later to give up just two runs at Los Angeles in 4 2/3 innings of a San Francisco victory. He is 1-6 against the Dodgers lifetime in eight starts with a 6.43 ERA.
Since those back-to-back outings against the Dodgers, DeSclafani has given up three total earned runs over his past four outings, all victories.
The Dodgers entered the weekend in the midst of some pronounced offensive struggles. They scored just seven runs in an entire three-game sweep by the San Diego Padres, then were no-hit by four Chicago Cubs pitchers in a 4-0 defeat Thursday.
But they rebounded with three consecutive victories, getting a game-ending home run from Cody Bellinger on Saturday, with a grand slam from rookie Zach McKinstry on Sunday to go with another home run from Bellinger.
Bellinger has just three homers on the season after spending time in the IL first with a hairline fracture in his left leg, then with left hamstring tightness. Now that he feels better, he is excited for meaningful games against the Giants.
“Every division game this year is important; I think we all know that and I think they know that,” Bellinger said on the ESPN broadcast Sunday. “The rivalry seems to be back and they are a really good team so it will be fun for me to be involved in the series (for the first time) this year.”
Bauer’s only career start against the Giants came on May 21 when he struck out a season-high 11 in a 2-1 Dodgers’ victory at San Francisco. Since then, he is 2-3 with a 3.55 ERA over his past six starts.
–Field Level Media