It’s time for the fourth round between the Giants and Dodgers.
There’s not much to say about this series. The San Francisco Giants are hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers, and it’s very important. The Giants hate the Dodgers, the Dodgers hate the Giants, and yada yada yada. That’s the fun fan stuff.
What really matters is the intensity of what’s at stake. These teams just played a four-game series, with three of those four games having dramatic ninth-inning heroics. They have the two best records in the National League, at the part of the season where it’s time to start really keeping an eye on these things.
The Giants lead the Dodgers in the standings by two games, meaning that a Giants sweep gives them a five-game lead, a 2-1 Giants win gives them a three-game lead, a 2-1 Dodgers win leaves the Giants with a one-game lead, and a Dodgers sweep puts LA up by a game for the first time in a long while.
There’s a lot at stake here. So Beat LA.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Where: Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
When: Tuesday (6:45 p.m.), Wednesday (6:45 p.m.), and Thursday (12:45 p.m.)
National broadcasts: Thursday (MLB Network, out of market only)
Where they stand
San Francisco Giants
Record: 62-37, 1st in the NL West
Run differential: +120, 2nd in the NL
Postseason standing: 1st seed
Momentum: 1-game winning streak, 5-5 in their last 10 games
Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 61-40, 2nd in the NL West
Run differential: +146, 1st in the NL
Postseason standing: 1st Wild Card, 2 games out of the NL West
Momentum: 2-game winning streak, 5-5 in their last 10 games
Season series: Dodgers lead 7-6
Three Giants to watch
Anthony DeSclafani: DeSclafani has already made four starts against the Dodgers this year, and he’ll make it five on Wednesday. In those four starts he’s pitched 18.1 innings, and allowed 25 hits, 6 home runs, 10 walks, and 18 earned runs. In his 16 starts against teams not named the Dodgers, Disco has pitched 101 innings, and allowed 64 hits, 8 home runs, 20 walks, and 20 earned runs. He probably would have been an All-Star were it not for the Dodgers, and would likely earn some Cy Young votes as well. But it’s never too late to flip the script.
Tyler Rogers: Similarly, Rogers has given up 2 home runs, 2 walks, and 6 earned runs against the Dodgers in just 2 innings. In his other 44 innings this year, Rogers has given up 1 home run, 7 walks, and 4 earned runs. Wow.
Austin Slater: The Giants haven’t faced many lefties, and thus Austin Slater hasn’t received much playing time. He’s struggled as a result. Slater’s OPS against lefties is .775, which is respectable, but not great — and his lowest since 2018. The Dodgers are using a pair of lefties in this series, and Slater showing up sure would help.
Three Dodgers to watch
Max Muncy: I am tired of talking about Muncy, but what am I supposed to do, not talk about him? The lefty has 8 home runs in 50 plate appearances against the Giants this year, compared to 14 home runs in 301 plate appearances against everyone else. Come on, dude.
David Price: The former Cy Young winner only has 6 starts this year, compared to 20 relief appearances, but he’s settling into a starting role with Clayton Kershaw injured and Trevor Bauer on leave. He has a 3.35 ERA and 3.95 FIP on the season, and stretched it out in his last start to 5.2 innings, his longest start of the year. He’ll be a fun matchup for the Giants on Thursday.
Walker Buehler: The Giants simply cannot figure out Buehler, who starts on Wednesday opposite DeSclafani. Like DeSclafani, Buehler has appeared in each of the four series that these teams have played. Unlike DeSclafani, it’s gone really well for Buehler. He’s thrown 27 innings, and allowed just 17 hits, 1 home run, 6 walks, and 3 earned runs. The Giants have their work cut out for them in that matchup.