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Giants-Dodgers mega series: Why winning Game 1 is so important

San Francisco must establish dominance tonight

MLB: San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants
Buster goes yard on a Friday night
Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Orange Fridays are cool again.

Tonight, the biggest Giants-Dodgers series in five years commences in what should be the biggest crowd at Oracle Park in two years.

This is the start of the unknown portion of the Giants’ 2021 season. It’s been so beautiful so far — they’re a Major League-best 28-16 and have been first place in the National League West for 26 days. Yet today serves as a graduation day of sorts.

The opponent will be in those disgusting blue uniforms for the first of 19 meetings this season and for seven of the next nine games. Winning this first game of the three-game series is paramount and let me tell you the reason why:

To establish dominance:
The 2021 San Francisco Giants are nothing more than an idea to the Dodgers. They don’t know what to expect. Sure, the Dodgers have seen the Giants stack wins night after night while they were mostly worried about the San Diego Padres. No one expected this from San Francisco when the NL West teams broke spring training less than two months ago. So, the Dodgers may be skeptical. Knocking them off tonight would send a message to LA that the Giants are indeed back.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Pittsburgh Pirates
Alex Wood
Mark Alberti-USA TODAY Sports

To send a pitching message:
It’s Trevor Bauer vs. Alex Wood in a meeting of two pitchers who had a very different free-agency experience in the winter. Wood left the Dodgers to move up north for a meager one year, $3 million deal. He is an early Cy Young candidate (along with a bunch of teammates) with a 5-0 record and 1.75 ERA. Bauer, of course, signed a three-year, $102 million deal with the Evil Empire. He’s been good too at 4-2, with a 2.20 ERA. If Wood can stuff his former team and its big-ticket signing, it would say a lot for the fighting Farhan Zaidis.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds
Logan Webb
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Frankly, Saturday is a little dicey:
Logan Webb is on the IL with a mild shoulder issue. The Giants are still figuring out who will start and it could be a bullpen game. The Dodgers are trotting out star Walker Buehler. So, it will be challenge. It will be a lot easier heading into that game off of a win, though.

Go Giants.