The San Francisco Giants are not exactly where they want to be. They’re staring down the barrel of a four-game road series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the best team in the National League. Even if the brilliant occurs and the Giants sweep the Dodgers, they’ll still be 8.5 games behind them in the NL West standings, a year after winning the division.
But in the grand scheme of things, the Giants are in a good place. They’re right in the thick of the postseason fight, and with a strong week and a half out of the All-Star gates, they’ll likely be able to convince Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris to bring in a few reinforcements for the final stretch.
Beating LA isn’t easy. But if the team can take a step towards the postseason while beating LA? Well damn, it doesn’t get much better.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Where: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
When: Thursday (7:09 p.m. PT), Friday (7:10 p.m. PT), Saturday (4:15 p.m. PT), and Sunday (1:10 p.m. PT)
National broadcasts: Thursday (ESPN), Friday (MLB Network, out of market only), and Saturday (FOX)
Thursday: Carlos Rodón vs. TBD
Friday: Logan Webb vs. TBD
Saturday: Alex Wood vs. TBD
Sunday: Alex Cobb vs. TBD
Where they stand
Record: 48-43, 3rd in the NL West
Run differential: +51, 6th in the NL
Postseason standing: 2nd team out of the Wild Card, 0.5 games back, 12.5 games out of the division
Momentum: 3-game winning streak, 7-3 in their last 10 games
Record: 60-30, 1st in the NL West
Run differential: +169, 1st in the NL
Postseason standing: 1st seed
Momentum: 4-game winning streak, 9-1 in their last 10 games
Season series: Giants lead 3-2
Three Giants to watch
Carlos Rodón: Rodón feels like the ring leader of the Giants right now. He’s been the team’s best player, hitter or pitcher, and rather comfortably. He’s set the tone all season long. And, as some speculate that the Giants might sell — he would be their biggest piece, by far — he’s put a little public pressure on the team to do the exact opposite. In his final two starts before the break, the lefty gave up just two runs in 14 innings, with 19 strikeouts. This would be a great time for him to mow down the Dodgers and set the pace for the second half.
Brandon Belt: Belt’s 2022 has been cold relative to his blistering 2021 and 2020, but he’s finding the gas at the right time. Over his last seven games, he’s hitting 11-21 with three home runs and two doubles. The Giants really need his bat to anchor their lineup, as he can be the difference between a good offense and a great one.
Mike Yastrzemski: As Yaz goes, so do the Giants. For his career, he has a .929 OPS when the Giants win, and a .665 OPS when they lose. Now it’s not exactly surprising that there’s a correlation between an athlete playing well and their team winning, but in a sport where one player can only make so much impact, that’s a pretty notable split.
Three Dodgers to watch
Clayton Kershaw: I’m not really sure where the Kershaw disrespect came over the offseason. Many people claimed the Dodgers shouldn’t re-sign him, as though keeping around one of the best starters alive is a bad thing, simply because he’s not the best pitcher in the world anymore. Either way, he’s been back to his old tricks this year, finishing the first half with a 2.13 ERA and a 2.47 FIP. His control is nearly unparalleled, with 6.25 strikeouts for every walk. And he’s a certified Giants killer. Fun.
Freddie Freeman: The latest star to join the Dodgers will, invariably, hit many a home run and have many a big moment against the Giants before all is said and done. Hopefully that doesn’t begin in earnest over the next four days.
Max Muncy/Justin Turner: Speaking of Giants Killers, there’s a 109% chance that each of these two make you want to pull your hair out at some point by the end of the weekend. The Giants cannot stop them, so they have to focus on simply limiting them.
Who ya got?
Who wins the series?
This poll is closed
Giants win 3-1
Dodgers win 3-1