The San Francisco Giants went on a tear last September to get to .500 and if they’re going to match that record they’re going to have to reverse recent history against their rivals.
Notice that I’ve officially downgraded them from “arch rivals” to “rivals.” The Joker is Batman’s arch rival because they are equally powerful even if they go about it differently. In 2021, the last time these two teams were arch rivals, they were equally powerful but went about it separately: the Dodgers with All-Star talent top to bottom, the Giants with a brilliant calendar system for rest and matchups.
The Giants are barely a Major League Baseball team right now and so the thought of them sweeping the Dodgers to wind up with their second consecutive .500 season seems as silly as thinking the Giants will sign Shohei Ohtani and trade for both Juan Soto and Mike Trout this offseason. This weekend has all the makings of a classic season-ending drubbing by the downstate rivals.
This will be the eighth time since Oracle Park opened that the Giants host the Dodgers for the final series of the regular season*. A quick review of those series:
2001 — The Giants went 90-72, needing to sweep to have a shot at the postseason. They did not get that shot. Dodgers won 2 out of 3, outscoring the Giants 18-14.
2003 — 100-win season, Giants won 2 out of 3.
2006 — Dodgers sweep, outscoring them 12-8 (Giants wound up 76-85)
2008 — Giants won 2 out of 3 to reach 72-90, outscoring LA 9-8.
2016 — Giants sweep, outscoring LA 19-4 and clinching the second Wild Card.
2018 — Dodgers sweep, outscoring the Giants 28-7, including a 15-0 drubbing in the season finale. After this game, Hunter Pence gave a farewell speech, which Farhan Zaidi said in his introductory press conference that he watched and felt touched by.
2019 — The Dodgers blasted them 20-2 in another season-ending sweep. Goodbye, Bruce Bochy!
2021* — Not a drubbing, but the Dodgers won 3 out of 5 in the division series. This is not the regular season, of course, so I didn’t count it above, but this added in with this weekend and all of these others above would mean this is the ninth time the season has ended facing the Dodgers.
The Giants might’ve won the regular season series against LA in 2021, but because of that NLDS loss, the teams tied 12-12 for the year; so, really, the Giants haven’t won the series against the Dodgers since 2016.
And another thing that doesn’t really count but is worth mentioning: last season, in their last series against the Dodgers, the Dodgers swept them at home and outscored them 16-5.
This season, the Giants have outscored them 49-45 through 10 games and the season series is split 5-5. The Giants swept the Dodgers in LA back in June, which seems like something I made up, but it’s true! The middle game of that series was a 15-0 win! The Giants outscored them 29-8! They left that series with a team batting line of .254/.330/.422 and a record of 39-32. They hit .222/.300/.355 and went 39-49 the rest of the season. So, clearly, the Dodgers gave them a computer virus or something.
If you ever doubt my love for the Giants, I submit the above as proof that I am stupid drunk in love with this miserable, awful, going nowhere slowly franchise. I wrote a bunch of words in hopes that Baseball will happen and the Giants miraculously sweep a team that is light years beyond their comprehension.
Does it really matter if the Giants go 81-81? No. Does any of this matter? Nah. Did it ever matter? Absolutely not. We wasted our lives watching the Giants repeat the 2022 season — but this time around with younger overmatched players — and we’re going to waste nine more hours watching them throw sand at a tornado.
Clayton Kershaw again? Another goodbye to a player from the now-ancient championship era? What year is this? Are we caught in a time loop?
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Where: Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
When: Friday (7:15pm PT), Saturday (6:05pm PT), Sunday (12:05pm PT)
National broadcasts: None.
Friday: Keaton Winn vs. Lance Lynn
Saturday: Tristan Beck vs. Clayton Kershaw
Sunday: Kyle Harrison vs. Bobby Miller
Season series: 5-5
Where they stand
Record: 98-61 (won NL West title)
Run differential: +201 (2nd in NL)
Postseason standing: #2 seed in NL
Momentum: 1-game losing streak; 6-4 in last 10 games
Record: 78-81, (4th in NL West)
Run differential: -39 (9th in NL)
Postseason standing: Eliminated
Momentum: 2-game losing streak; 3-7 in last 10 games
Players to watch
Brandon Crawford: In the last five minutes of last week’s There R Giants podcast hosted by Roger Munter and featuring Kerry Crowley they made it a point to swap some wholesome memories about Brandon Crawford. I won’t spoil it in detail, only to say that Brandon Crawford’s dad still goes to every game of his, rooting as though he was still watching his son play Little League. That’s very sweet and hopefully we’ll catch a glimpse of Pops Crawford and the entire Crawford clan. There’s really nothing else that can be written about Brandon Crawford’s Giants career. Grant, Sami, Brady — it’s all been said better than I could here in this blurb. He’s the greatest shortstop in San Francisco Giants history.
Clayton Kershaw: Just when you think he’s toast he turns a start against the Giants into a five-course meal as though prepared by Hannibal Lecter. There’s a nonzero chance this could be his final start ever against the Giants. It’s not difficult to imagine that he retires after the season if the Dodgers win it all. If that happens I say good riddance! He has a 1.64 ERA in 29 appearances at Oracle Park (27 starts). 4 shutouts in 192 IP with an 0.85 WHIP. GO AWAY. Also, Mitch Haniger, hit a home run off the dude. It’s the only reason the front office signed you.
Joc Pederson: Will the fans give him a warm farewell? We know he doesn’t care either way.
Blake Sabol: You’d like to think that with two right-handed starters on the pitching probables and Patrick Bailey running on fumes that we’ll get to see plenty of Sabol this weekend. We probably should have figured the Giants weren’t that serious about competing this year when they traded for Sabol with the Rule 5 draft guidelines attached. They like the power potential and the versatility, but the tangible results of holding a roster spot for him all season has been a .700 OPS guy with lots of swing and miss and really poor team results when catching (5.32 ERA, 21-32 record) — though, remarkably, this is when he hit the best (.255/.312/.459 - 9 home runs).
Kyle Harrison vs. J.D. Martinez: It’s like the rubber match between these two. On Sunday night, Harrison struck out Martinez in his first at bat, then Martinez homered in his second. Who will win this rematch? Can Harrison end the season on a high note?
I’m going to do a roundup of these polls next week and my preliminary survey is that most of us were too optimistic about the Giants this season.
Giants vs. Dodgers - how will it go?
This poll is closed
Dodgers sweep, but modestly
Dodgers sweep, blowout-style
Dodgers merely win the series (blowouts optional)
Dodgers somehow lose the series
Dodgers swept, made to eat boogers