It’s Giants vs. Dodgers time, and it either doesn’t get much better or doesn’t get much worse.
I don’t think a lot of lead up is required here. The San Francisco Giants are facing the Los Angeles Dodgers, and you all know what that means. It’s exciting in any year, but it’s especially exciting in this year. It’s been a very long time since we’ve had a battle at the top of the division between these two.
If I told you, back in March, that the Giants would be leading the Dodgers when they met for their first post All-Star Game series, you would have been very happy. I do not say this to soften the blow if the Giants lose this series. I say it because it never hurts to be reminded that what is happening is awesome.
The Giants lead the Dodgers in the standings by a single game, and this is a four-game series. That means that the teams cannot be tied at the completion of the series. A split or better and the Giants leave LA atop the NL West. A loss of any sort means they’ll be looking up in the standings.
My hope, then, is that a lot of Dodgers and Dodger fans are left feeling like this:
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Where: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
When: Monday (7:10 p.m.), Tuesday (7:10 p.m.), Wednesday (7:10 p.m.), and Thursday (7:10 p.m.)
National broadcasts: Tuesday (MLB Network, out of market only)
Where they stand
San Francisco Giants
Record: 58-34, 1st in the NL West
Run differential: +118, 2nd in the NL
Postseason standing: 1st seed
Momentum: 2-game losing streak, 6-4 in their last 10 games
Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 58-36, 2nd in the NL West
Run differential: +154, 1st in the NL
Postseason standing: 1st Wild Card, 1 game back in the NL West
Momentum: 1-game losing streak, 5-5 in their last 10 games
Season series: Dodgers lead 6-3
Three Giants to watch
Buster Posey: Posey is expected to return to the lineup for the series opener, which would mark his first time playing in 15 days since suffering a thumb contusion. The Giants offense scuffled a bit over the weekend, and the return of Posey — the team’s best hitter — would go a long way towards the team finding offensive rhythm against their rivals.
Kevin Gausman: Gausman is also expected to join the team on Monday, and make the start in the series opener. The team’s ace and All-Star selection was initially slated to start on Friday, in the team’s first game of the second half. He missed that start after flying home to be with his wife, who was hospitalized with pregnancy complications. According to the team, all is well with health wise with the Gausman family, which is infinitely more important than whether or not he starts Monday’s game. But from a baseball standpoint, Gausman starting is huge, and can set the tone for the four-game series.
Mike Yastrzemski: Yaz came out of the second half gates firing, with two homers on Friday to lead the Giants to a victory. He’s been having a quite good season, though not on the level that he had last year. Yastrzemski catching fire in the second half could be just what the Giants need to hang onto their spot atop the West — especially if he’s catching fire against the Dodgers.
Three Dodgers to watch
Walker Buehler: The Dodgers are without Clayton Kershaw, who is injured, and Trevor Bauer, who is on leave as the team awaits the conclusions of the investigations into the horrific sexual assault allegations. That makes Buehler their unquestioned ace, and my goodness have the Giants had a difficult time against him this season. The Giants are hitting just .185/.239/.292 against Buehler in three games this year, with one earned run and five walks in 19.2 innings.
Tony Gonsolin: Gonsolin, on the other hand, offers more opportunities. The righty has only pitched 25.1 innings this year, but he’s already issued 15 walks, and we know the Giants love their free passes the way Madison Bumgarner loves drinking six beers at one time.
Corey Seager: The Dodgers star shortstop has been injured much of the year, but is currently making rehab starts and is expected to join the team at some point during this series. Oh boy, one more star Dodger to worry about. Just what I was hoping for!