Dodgers/Giants Series Preview

It's four days before the trade deadline. The Giants lead the Dodgers by three games. The Giants are hosting the Dodgers for three games.

Big. This is big.

It's hard to know how to respond. The Giants just got out of a three-game series with the Padres, and then there was a day off. It's like the shades were ripped open at six in the morning after a night of drinking, and there's someone, not sure who, screaming at you that you're late for a job interview. Lamps are knocked over. You trip over a hamper. Everything's moving too fast, and you can't move fast enough to keep up.

Deep breaths. The first instinct is to rage. Go on SFGate and write things in all caps. Tweet nasty things with an #SFGIANTS hashtag on Twitter, hoping to get into an Internet skirmish with a Dodgers fan. Walk around shouting profanities with this Buster Posey figurine perched on your shoulder like a parrot.

What's that, plastic, allergic-to-walnuts Matt Williams in a Buster Posey jersey? Yeah. Yeah. Damn straight, beat L.A.. DAMN STRAIGHT. BEAT L.A. BEAT L.A. BEAT L.A.

More deep breaths. Take off clothes because the anticipation is getting trapped underneath, burning you like a handful of lye. Run out into the streets, still screaming BEAT L.A. as loud as you can. See some people wearing blue approaching you. It's a dark blue, so it's not probably not a Dodgers thing, but you're going to give them the business just to be sure. Note that they're holding some sort of aerosol can and pointing it at you. Oh, that's how it's going to be, huh? Red and blue flashing lights blinding you. Red for the rage. Blue for the Dodgers, which makes the red flash again. Then everything dark. Your eyes burn. Everything dark. Oh, god, the burning.

That's one way to approach the series, anyway.

It's probably better than the way I'm approaching it, which is to bite my nails down to the cuticles and worry that the Dodgers are going to trade for Zack Greinke before the series is over. The worst that can happen is that the Giants exit the series tied for first place. And what's the big deal about leading the division at the deadline? The Padres led at the break in 2010. The Giants led at the break last year. Pfft. This series isn't such a big deal. There's still time, no matter what happens. Not even going to trip.

Deep breaths. Check clock again. Still just 11:30. Check clock again. Still just 11:30. Google Orel Hershiser's phone number. Instead, crank call a gynecologist in Sacramento named Orel Knight. Feel better. Check clock again. It's 11:31 now.

Is it crazy to think this series is going to have a huge impact on the trading deadline? Probably. Front offices don't work like that. But I have this image of Larry Baer kicking down the door of Brian Sabean after a Dodgers sweep and shouting, "Can Soriano play first? CAN SORIANO PLAY FIRST?, ANSWER ME."

Look, this is all you're getting for this Dodgers/Giants preview. A stream of consciousness. I appreciate the efforts of my more earnest colleagues when it comes to series or game previews, and the diligence that goes into them. They'll have tables and breakdowns, discussions of pitching splits and how they might be relevant. That would be much, much more useful than what you're reading now.

I wouldn't even know where to begin an honest preview, though. I'm too nervous. I look at Stephen Fife, tonight's probable starting pitcher for the Dodgers, and I have no idea what to think. His minor-league stats are somewhat lackluster, which should be a good thing. That makes me do the whole "Here we go again!" thing that cynical Giants fans have perfected -- the one that's simultaneously comforting and asinine when the team is in first place -- because I assume the Giants are going to hack away at a pitcher they've never seen before.

Except that's stupid. That's just anecdotal evidence, and it isn't even true. The Giants have done well against several starters they've never seen before, from Jarrod Parker to Jason Vargas. They hit Nathan Eovaldi well during the last Dodgers series, and that's a pretty good comp for Fife, at least in the mystery-pitcher sense.

And why am I the one that's nervous? Since the Dodgers had their largest lead of the season -- seven-and-a-half games after winning on May 27 -- they're 21-32, which is the fourth-worst mark in the National League. The last time the Dodgers came to San Francisco, they didn't score a run. Since the All-Star break, the Dodgers 6-7, and they've just lost their last three games. Why am I nervous? Why are you pacing around? Why can't we be the arrogant Yankees fans in this scenario, assuming that everything's going to go our way just like it did the last time?

Because it's a Giants/Dodgers series. It's like this every time anyway, and now they mean more now than they have in years. The last series was the most important one since 2004. Well, say, looks like this one is the most important series since 2004.

Please let there be good Zito.

I don't ask for much. Just another 27 Dodger innings without a run.

I don't ask for much.

when is this stupid game going to start

Hitter to Watch
Say, there, Hanley Ramirez. You're looking a little more evil these days. At first I just thought you were a toolbox, but, nope, unequivocally evil. Glad that's cleared up.

My big fear of this series: That Hanley goes off and becomes some sort of mascot/metaphor/narrative for the rest of the NL West race. I liked it better when the Dodgers had a bunch of Loneys around the infield and outfield. Ramirez might not be the superstar he was, but he's far better than whomever he's replacing in the lineup, whether it's Dee Gordon or Juan Uribe

Pitcher to Watch
Clayton Kershaw. Maybe the Giants will bring up Brett Pill for the series and have him come out at the last second like this is WWE. Smoke. Pyrotechnics. A Disturbed song over the PA. Yeah, you're scared now, Clayton.

Prediction
At least one run for the Dodgers. Nothing will ever be that good again, folks.

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