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Series Preview: The Giants, like the Vox Media Union, are just looking for a fair contract

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Cody Bellinger is not a CEO, but he’s making it very difficult for teams like the Giants to live.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers have the best record in baseball, the best offense in the National League, and the best overall player. The Giants have none of those things.

So, like the digital media journalists working to get a fair contract from their employers, Vox Media, Inc. (which, full disclosure, owns and operates this website), the Giants are in a position where they can only hope that their own hard work and perseverance can pay off at some point against an unstoppable force.

This is the Giants-Dodgers rivalry, a situation that tends to be ignored nationwide, just as most labor-management disputes do. Now, you might have qualms about my comparing two multi-billion dollar franchises to organized labor and a large media company, and I respect that, but I am trying to point out the dispute and am using any means at my disposal to do so.

Yesterday, the union did the following:

That walkout has ended today, but the negotiations continue. This website will not be a part of that collective bargaining, but just because people aren’t negotiating on its behalf doesn’t mean the effects of that negotiation won’t impact the site.

Also, it’s a lot more interesting to talk about a negotiation versus the Giants-Dodgers rivalry in 2019. It makes sense to believe the Giants play the Dodgers tough. They’re 3-3 against them this season and it’s one of only five series wins they’ve recorded. But the Dodgers are tremendously talented up and down the roster, and there’s just not much of a comparison to be made.

To clarify the headline to the situation: the Giants just don’t want to be embarrassed by the Dodgers. The “fair contract” is a social one involving pride and performance. If there’s any way of preventing total embarrassment this weekend, the Giants will be all for it. The Dodgers don’t need to beat the Giants by any more than five runs even though they can run the score very easily; and, really, the Giants don’t have to be so bad that they give up seven runs in the first inning, even with Drew Pomeranz on the hill.

A fun thing to do is sort the Dodgers’ roster by slugging percentage (minimum 50 plate appearances) and look at the list. Nine of the twelve eligible players are slugging over .400. The only two who aren’t are Chris Taylor (.391 slug, 81 wRC+) and A.J. Pollock (.330 slug, 65 wRC+), who’s out for a couple of months following a post-surgery staph infection.

That same search for the Giants gives us thirteen eligible players. Only six of thirteen have slugging percentages over .400. Two of these players (Sandoval, Austin) are slugging over .500. Four Dodgers have .500 or greater.

The Dodgers have hit 99 home runs to the Giants’ 57. 41 of the Dodgers’ have come on the road (41.4%), while 18 of the Giants’ have come at home (31.6%).

The pitching matchups for the series strongly favor the Dodgers:

Friday: Drew Pomeranz vs. Kershaw
Saturday: Jeff Samardzija vs. Rich Hill (3.44 career ERA at Oracle Park)
Sunday: Bumgarner vs. Buehler

If you believe the Giants have a fighting chance against the best team in baseball, then you believe the Vox Media Union does in its fight, too. If you don’t think the Giants have a chance against the best team in baseball, then consider that the Vox Media Union still has a much more realistic chance of achieving its goals anyway.

Pitcher to watch

This will be Clayton Kershaw’s first start against the Giants this season. He’s been battling injury and has a career-high 3.51 FIP nine starts into the season. He has also allowed eight home runs in 59 IP. Will he show his old form and repeat his old habit of dominating the Giants or will the Vox Media Union achieve its negotiating goals this weekend?

Hitter to watch

Cody Bellinger. He’s hitting .370/.456/.721 in 259 plate appearances. He has as many walks as strikeouts (36). 35 of his 81 hits (43%) have been extra base hits. He’s also a 1B/OF wh has already accumulated +5.8 Defensive Runs which includes, and I kid you not, 17 Defensive Runs Saved in RF.

What is Defensive Runs Saved (DRS)?

Prediction

Solidarity, pain, confusion, resolution.