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Preview: Beat LA

It’s all there in the title. Do you need me to say it again? I’ll say it again. Beat LA.

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers are about to embark on a two-game series. There sure have been a lot of two-game series this year.

If you think the Giants and Dodgers playing a two-game series is rare, well ... come collect your prize. It’s the first time they’ve played a two-game series (excepting weather reasons) since May 18-19, 2011.

Do you remember what you were doing on May 18 and 19 of 2011? I don’t, because I wasn’t even alive yet.

But Google tells me that the Giants won the first game of that series when a guy named Matt Cain outdueled a dude named Clayton Kershaw, and the Giants used three pitchers out of the bullpen: Javier López, Sergio Romo, and Brian Wilson. They won the second game when a pitcher named Madison Bumgarner came within an out of a complete game (despite striking out just three batters) and also hit a double.

Anyway, that’s ancient history, and this is weird.

Series details

Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Where: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
When: Monday (7:10 p.m.) and Tuesday (7:10 p.m.)
National broadcasts: Tuesday (ESPN)

Where they stand

San Francisco Giants

Record: 50-27, 1st in the NL West
Run differential: +100, 2nd in the NL
Postseason standing: 1st seed
Momentum: 1-game losing streak, 8-2 in their last 10 games

Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 47-31, 2nd in the NL West
Run differential: +103, 1st in the NL
Postseason standing: 1st Wild Card, 3.5 games out of the NL West
Momentum: 3-game winning streak, 6-4 in their last 10 games

Season series: Dodgers lead 4-3

Three Giants to watch

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Anthony DeSclafani: Through 15 starts in a lovely season, DeSclafani has given up 0 earned runs 5 times. He’s given up 1 earned run 4 times. He’s given up 2 earned runs 2 times. He’s given up 3 earned runs 3 times. And he’s given up 10 earned runs once.

Stands out a bit, doesn’t it? That 10 runs (in which he failed to make it out of the third inning) came against the Dodgers, back when the Giants were getting swept at home and it looked like maybe their hot start to the season had been a mirage. Then a few days later the Giants took 3 of 4 against LA, on the road. Disco started one of those games, too, and while he wasn’t great, he was a lot better — and the Giants won. The righty starts on Monday, and the Dodgers know what to look for.

Kevin Gausman: Gausman, on the other hand, has only faced the Dodgers once this season. And it went swimmingly, as he pitched 6 scoreless innings while allowing just 2 hits, 0 walks, and striking out 7. I am running low on superlatives for the Giants ace, but I promise to work very hard to find some new ones if he delivers on Tuesday.

Alex Dickerson: The Giants are facing a pair of righties in this series. A pair of very good righties, it should be noted. And they’re at Chavez Ravine, where the ball can really fly. As weird as it sounds to say, it feels like we can count on good offensive performances from Brandon Crawford, Steven Duggar, and LaMonte Wade Jr. — but Dickerson remains a question mark. The lefty slugger has been hovering right around the league average mark on offense all season. Remember that game last year, when he had 3 home runs, 2 doubles, and rose his wRC+ by 40 points and his OPS by 186 points? This would be a great time for one of those.

Three Dodgers to watch

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Bauer: Bauer is quite unlikable, but he sure can pitch, and both of those things were on full display when he faced the Giants earlier in the season. There’s also reason to think he could be one of the pitchers who is hurt most by the league’s sudden crackdown on foreign substances for spin rate hurlers. He starts the series opener and I know the Giants and their fans would like to knock him around a little.

Walker Buehler: Buehler has faced the Giants twice this season. It went very well for him. He pitched 13 innings, allowed 9 hits, 4 walks, and 2 earned runs, and struck out 8. One thing that would help the Giants beat him on Tuesday is if they did better against him. So do that, Giants.

Max Muncy: Max Muncy keeps appearing on this list because A) he keeps being the Dodgers best hitter, B) he keeps being left-handed, and C) the Giants keep throwing righties at the Dodgers. Muncy’s hitting .262/.415/.533 on the year, and has already drawn 50 walks to just 53 strikeouts. He’s one of the league’s best players, and is 8-23 with 5 home runs against the Giants this year. Yes, 5 home runs. Yes, he’s 14th in the league in home runs, and a third of those have come against the Giants.


Who wins the series?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    Giants sweep
    (55 votes)
  • 54%
    (96 votes)
  • 13%
    Dodgers sweep
    (24 votes)
175 votes total Vote Now