The (61-60) San Francisco Giants kept themselves alive in the race for the NL West by defeating the (64-57) Los Angeles Dodgers in the first two games of their three game series. They will go for the sweep tonight (10:10 PM ET Wednesday).
Entering this series, the NL West was the most highly contested division in all of baseball with four of the five teams within 10 games of first place. Now, it is four teams within five as thanks to their victories over the Dodgers, the Giants have begun to close the gap. San Francisco now sits five games back of the first place Arizona Diamondbacks. Also in contention are the Colorado Rockies, who are one game back and the Dodgers, who are now two back after going 3-7 in their last 10 games.
This is going to be a great division race to follow especially when any of these four teams play each other just like the Dodgers and Giants are currently doing.
Game 1 Recap: 4-Run Ninth Inning Leads Giants Over Dodgers
It has been a rough go for the Dodgers ever since losing closer Kenley Jansen. In fact, they entered the series with the Giants having lost three-in-a-row since Jansen went down to injury. It became four-in-a-row on Sunday as LA’s shaky bullpen once again failed to hold a lead in their closer’s absence.
Entering the ninth, the Dodgers led the game 2-1 having scored a run apiece in the fourth and fifth innings. Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw got the scoring started for his team, hitting an RBI double in the fourth, followed by a Justin Turner home run in the fifth. The Giants scored in the sixth off a fielder’s choice.
The majority of the game was told by the two guys on the mound, Kershaw and Giants starter, Madison Bumgarner. The two aces dueled it out as expected giving up just a total of 11 hits and three earned runs between them in a combined 14 innings pitched. Kershaw probably could have, and the Dodgers probably wish he did, go the distance. Entering the ninth, the former Cy Young winner and one of the best lefties in the game, was sitting on 110 pitches. He had allowed just four hits and had struck out nine. The Giants weren’t getting good swings off him either. But LA opted to put their faith in the bullpen instead.
As it turned out, that faith was well misplaced. The Giants scored four runs in the half-inning, all of which were credited to Scott Alexander, who took the loss.
Game 2 Recap: Giants Edge out Dodgers Thanks to Ninth Inning Run
Déjà vu. That’s what it’s called when you have the feeling that you are re-living something you’ve already experienced. Take Monday night for example.
The Giants opened up the scoring in Game 2 thanks to Alen Hanson’s RBI single which drove in Evan Longoria for the first run of the game. This was in the second inning and the score sheet remained quiet again until the eighth. In the meantime however, the animosity between the two NL West rivals reached a boiling point as the benches cleared in the seventh inning. LA’s Yasiel Puig and SF’s Nick Hundley started off the brawl after the hitter and catcher got into a shoving match during Puig’s at bat. The two players got ejected and the game resumed.
Perhaps feeding off of the intensity of the moment, the Dodgers tied the game in their half of the eighth as Manny Machado singled to score Justin Turner. But then the déjà vu happened as once again, the Dodgers bullpen let them down and once again, the Giants scored in the ninth. It turned out to be the game-winning run as San Francisco defeated LA, 2-1.
Game 3: Pitching Probables – (SF) Derek Holland vs (LA) Hyun-Jin Ryu
For the Dodgers, who are still just two games back of first place despite losing their last five, they really need to get back on track. A sweep here could severely impact their chances to win the division and no one in LA wants that, especially after the team reached the World Series in 2017.
They will send Hyun-Jin Ryu, who will be making his first start for the team since May 3, in hopes of him being the guy who can put a stop to the losing streak. A left-handed pitcher, Ryu has an ERA of 2.12 on the year and a 3-0 record. He has started six games and has pitched just under 30 innings, recording 36 strikeouts in that span and allowing just 16 hits. Now in his fifth year in the bigs and fifth with LA, Ryu seems to be rounding into a solid rotational piece.
Ryu will be returning from injury however, an injury that has kept him on the DL for most of the season. In two rehab starts in the minors, he allowed seven hits in nine innings.
The lefty will be opposed by another left-handed starter in the Giants’ Derek Holland, who will be on the mound looking to do the opposite of Ryu and that is to keep the Dodger’s losing streak and his own team’s winning streak, intact.
The 31-year-old Holland is in his 10th major league season but first with the Giants. He previously pitched for the Texas Rangers for eight years before spending last year with the Chicago White Sox. While in San Fran, Holland has pitched okay, posting an ERA of 3.97 and a 6-8 record. The Giants are 11-11 in his 22 starts. That being said, Holland is coming off his best month of the season in July, that saw him pitch as a starter and out of the bullpen, both with success. In the month, Holland held opponents to a 2.89 ERA, allowing just nine earned runs in 28 innings. He also walked just eight while striking out 35.
Our Preview’s San Francisco Giants vs Los Angeles Dodgers Game 3 Picks & Betting Predictions Verdict
The Giants have used some ninth inning magic in back-to-back games in order to go up 2-0 on the Dodgers in this series. That’s not to say lightning can’t strike thrice but even with LA’s shaky bullpen, that seems unlikely. The Dodgers enter this game as the US sports betting firms’ favorite and our pick is to stick with them to cover the 1.5 spread. So our Game 3 picks and San Francisco Giants vs Los Angeles Dodgers predictions are: