The Giants are playing a bad team and the Dodgers are playing a good one. This could work out well.
But for as important as the series was, what followed was bound to be equally important. As soon as the paint would dry on the rivalry series, the Giants would welcome to town the Houston Astros, one of the few teams in the league in the same tier as San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Dodgers, on the other hand, would get to take a breather against the Arizona Diamondbacks, holders of baseball’s worst record, by a sizable margin.
The Dodgers series and the Astros series is now in the rear view and, remarkably, the Giants have increased their lead in the NL West to three games, courtesy of beating the Dodgers, and playing Houston as well as LA played Arizona.
And now the tables are flipped. The Giants get a four-game series against the DBacks squad that’s bringing up the rear of the standings, while the Dodgers have a showdown with the Astros, whose record is only topped by, you guessed it, the Giants.
Admittedly LA only ha to play Houston for two games, and they don’t start until Tuesday, but whatever. Opportunity is knocking.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Where: Chase Field, Phoenix, California
When: Monday (6:40 p.m.), Tuesday (6:40 p.m.), Wednesday (6:40 p.m.), and Thursday (12:40 p.m.)
National broadcasts: None
Where they stand
San Francisco Giants
Record: 66-39, 1st in the NL West
Run differential: +119, 2nd in the NL
Postseason standing: 1st seed
Momentum: 2-game winning streak, 6-4 in their last 10 games
Record: 33-73, 5th in the NL West
Run differential: -167, 15th in the NL
Postseason standing: 27 games out of the Wild Card, 33.5 games out of the NL West
Momentum: 2-game losing streak, 5-5 in their last 10 games
Season series: Giants lead 9-1
Three Giants to watch
Kris Bryant: Bryant made his debut with the Giants on Sunday, and it started with quite a bang, as he launched a home run in just his second at-bat with the team. I think Giants fans are gonna like him all right. But now we get to see him for a full series, playing every day, getting used to his teammates and coaches, and getting comfortable. All at one of the best hitters parks in baseball. I’m very excited.
Anthony DeSclafani: You’ve heard Disco’s splits against the Dodgers a million times, but I’m going to repeat them to you a million and first time: In five games and 21 innings against the Dodgers this year, DeSclafani has allowed 31 hits, 6 home runs, 12 walks, and 22 earned runs. In 16 games and 101 innings against everyone else, he’s allowed 64 hits, 8 home runs, 20 walks, and 20 earned runs. His last two starts came against the Dodgers, and, predictably, didn’t go well. He’ll be happy to be away from LA, and he’ll be extra happy to face Arizona, as he’s allowed just 11 hits, 3 walks, and 3 earned runs in 13.2 innings against them.
Kevin Gausman: Things have not been good for the Giants ace since All-Star break. In three starts he’s pitched just 11.2 innings, and allowed 17 hits, 4 home runs, 9 walks, and 11 earned runs. In his last start, against the Astros, he needed 43 pitches and nearly half an hour to get out of the first inning. It’s too early to be worried, but a throwback to the Gausman of old — and by “old” I mean this spring — sure would be nice.
Three Diamondbacks to watch
Madison Bumgarner: It’s wild to think that the Giants have still faced Madison Bumgarner only once, the result of injuries and last year’s truncated season. And they still haven’t faced him in front of fans (they’ll have to wait to face him in front of Giants fans at Oracle Park), or with Buster Posey on the team. That changes on Tuesday night when MadBum will take the mound opposite Johnny Cueto. It’s been a hot-and-cold season for the 2014 World Series MVP, but he’s been solid since returning to the rotation, pitching 18 innings over his last three starts and allowing 13 hits, 2 walks, and 4 earned runs, albeit with just 11 strikeouts.
Ketel Marte: Marte is one of the few Diamondbacks players that is interesting or, for that matter, good. He also enters the series riding a nine-game hitting streak, during which time he has a 1.113 OPS. Then again, his season-long OPS of .961 is pretty darn tasty, too.
Taylor Widener: Widener has not been as good this year as you would hope for from someone with such an outstanding name. He’s allowed 16 walks and 8 home runs in just 36.2 innings, good for a 4.42 ERA and 5.67 FIP. He opens the series, and the Giants will try and, uhh … widen the gap between the scores.