It’s time for the second-best part of any regular season: the start of a series between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. On Wednesday we’ll get either the best part of any regular season (a Giants series win over the Dodgers) or the worst part of any regular season (a series loss).
And in between now and then we’ll get three tense and exciting and hopefully entertaining games.
On a side note: apologies for the lack of previews for the last two series. Had some family health stuff and wasn’t able to get to them. Now they’re back.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Where: Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
When: Monday (6:45 p.m. PT), Tuesday (6:45 p.m. PT), and Wednesday (6:45 p.m. PT)
National broadcasts: Tuesday (MLB Network)
Monday: Logan Webb vs. Julio Urías
Tuesday: Alex Wood vs. Dustin May
Wednesday: Alex Cobb vs. Clayton Kershaw
Where they stand
Record: 4-6, 4th in the NL West
Run differential: +5, 6th in the NL
Postseason standing: 1.5 games out of the NL West and 1.5 games out of the Wild Card
Momentum: 1-game winning streak
Record: 5-5, 3rd in the NL West
Run differential: +16, 2nd in the NL
Postseason standing: 1 game out of the NL West and 1 game out of the Wild Card
Momentum: 3-game losing streak
Three Giants to watch
Logan Webb: Webb hasn’t quite been himself to this point in the season. Despite the runs allowed, his 12-strikeout performance against the New York Yankees was phenomenal, but his second game — in which he gave up nine hits and four runs in five innings to the Chicago White Sox — was not the type of pitcher he plans on being this year. There’s no better time to be that pitcher than against the Dodgers.
Heliot Ramos: I remain higher on Ramos than most people, but count me among those who was shocked that he got a call up so early in the season. It was forced by injuries more than by his performance (which has been fine but not notable in both Spring Training and AAA), but still. The Giants had other routes they could have gone to get a right-handed hitting outfielder in the lineup for this stretch of lefties, and they chose Ramos. And not just for depth, either, as he started Sunday’s win, and will likely start twice in this series, too. With Mitch Haniger and Austin Slater scheduled to return at some point, Ramos’ job should be temporary ... but then again, Brock Purdy’s was supposed to be, too. Nothing would be a cooler storyline than Ramos forcing the Giants to keep him on the roster, and few things would help them in this vital series than him looking like a Major Leaguer rather than a Minor Leaguer.
David Villar: The Giants said they would give Villar the starting third baseman job with hopes that he’d run with it. And even though they didn’t start him on opening day, he has, indeed, ran with it. Through nine games Villar leads the team’s position players in fWAR (0.4), and is hitting .250/.364/.500 with strong defense at both third and second. But a funny storyline is building: 11 home runs into his short career, Villar is still in search of his first big fly at Oracle Park. Three of his homers have come against the Dodgers, so perhaps now is the time.
Three Dodgers to watch
Dustin May: The Dodgers sure are good at finding guys to mow down hitters, aren’t they? May doesn’t have the name value of the other Dodgers starters this series, and Giants fans have perhaps forgotten about him since Tommy John surgery cost him most of 2021 and 2022. But the 25 year old was one of the best prospects in baseball for a reason, and so far that reason (which is that he’s really good at throwing baseballs) has been on full display. Through two starts May has been LA’s top pitcher, giving up just five hits, three walks, and one run in 13 innings of work.
Clayton Kershaw: I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever feel comfortable with the Giants facing Kershaw. That said, even with Slater and Haniger injured, the Giants are set up for success against lefties. The sample sizes are small, but J.D. Davis has a 1.727 OPS against Kershaw (11 PAs), Thairo Estrada has a 1.000 OPS (7 PAs), and Villar has an .833 OPS (6 PAs). Wilmer Flores has been serviceable against the ace, and even lefty Michael Conforto has good career numbers against him.
James Outman: May at least was a top prospect. Outman is where it really gets frustrating. On a roster with Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, J.D. Martinez, Max Muncy, and many others, the relatively unheralded Outman leads the Dodgers position players in fWAR (0.8) while sporting a ridiculous batting line of .296/.457/.778, and a 212 wRC+. He’s a lefty, so Webb and Alex Cobb will have their hands full.
What say you, Giants fans? Will San Francisco do the honorable thing and Beat LA?
Who wins the series?
This poll is closed
Giants win 2-1
Dodgers win 2-1