It’s back to familiar territory in the NL West as for the second time in the last three series, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants meet again as a four-game series begins today at 10.10pm ET Thursday.
To paraphrase an old quote, “the rumors of the Dodgers’ demise have been greatly exaggerated.” Following an exceptional early start, the Dodgers have rebounded from an uneven May, plethora of injuries, and head-scratching performances to find themselves right where everyone expected them to be this season, as one of the best teams in baseball. The Dodgers currently sit just one game back of the San Diego Padres for the top spot in the NL West.
The Padres’ top spot was one that was held by the Giants up until last weekend. That was until the Dodgers came to town and swept San Francisco in the teams’ first meeting of the season. The sweep also marked the first time all year that the Giants had been swept and was just one of a handful of times the team had lost a series period. There is no doubt that the Giants are MLB’s biggest surprise this year. Even for all their success, baseball analysts questioned what would happen when their schedule reached the more difficult games, namely against the Padres and Dodgers.
Until this past Friday, those doubts about if the Giants were indeed for real, had seemingly been quelled by San Fran having won five of their first eight against the Padres. To that point, San Fran had yet to face LA. When they did, the Dodgers reminded both the Giants and the rest of the baseball world that the defending world champs weren’t ready to give up that crown just yet. Back to those Giants for a moment, prior to last weekend, the team had been 14-4 at home and had yet to lose a series but then the Dodgers came to town.
Los Angeles didn’t just end San Fran’s streak of winning series at home, but they also became the first team to sweep the Giants this year. LA won a close game one, and then behind their offense and pitching efforts of Walker Buehler and Julio Urias, recorded a 6-3 and dominant, 11-5 win in games two and three. The 11 runs were tied for the second most LA had scored all year. The Giants sweep came in the midst of what had been an eight-game winning streak for the Dodgers, one that just came to an end this past Wednesday night against the Houston Astros.
So what did that series teach us? Well, a couple things really. Before facing the Dodgers, the Giants had won five in a row in their own right, but those wins came against lesser opponents in the NL Central’s Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates. That’s been a bit of a recurring theme for the Giants, whose early season schedule save for matchups against the Dodgers and Padres, have seen San Fran face only sub -.500 teams. During the Giants’ early season successes in fact, San Fran has faced some of the MLB’s worst teams. In those games, they’ve done what they’ve needed to do and have won. Against .500 or better teams, the Giants are just 5-6 thanks to the recent sweep by the Dodgers in San Fran.
Now, the Giants face their toughest test of the year as they take on the Dodgers, in LA. And it’s not just any Dodgers team but one that has won 12 of its last 14. The Giants certainly didn’t get any favors from the schedule makers having to face a closer to healthy Dodgers team for seven games over a 10-game stretch. This is their chance to prove that they are on the Dodgers’ level. As the great Ric Flair once said, “to be the man, you’ve gotta beat the man.” Starting today, the Giants will get a second chance to “beat the man.”
Game One Pitching Probables: (LA) TBD vs (SF) Alex Wood
Outside of Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer, Julio Urias, and Walker Buehler, it is always somewhat of a mystery as to who will be the fifth starter for the Dodgers these days. That spot belonged to Dustin May but he’s injured and his would-be replacement Tony Gonsolin, is beginning a minor league rehab stint. David Price has yet to make a start this year having pitched out of the bullpen after sitting out last year’s shortened campaign. Victor Gonzalez and Joe Kelly could be options but both have yet to pitch more than three innings. The Dodgers could bring someone up from the minors but the TBD listing seems more likely to suggest that this will be a bullpen game for LA.
While the Dodgers have yet to announce a starter for Thursday’s series opener, the Giants seem likely to go with Alex Wood, to face off against his former team. Wood last pitched on Friday against the Dodgers and while he was the pitcher of record in the loss (his first of the year), his start was more than enough to keep the Giants in the game. Wood lasted six innings and gave up just two runs while striking out seven. He was impressive as he has been all year. The 30-year-old lefty brings a 5-1 record and 1.93 ERA into this contest. Wood is just one of what has been an excellent stable of starters for San Fran, who lead MLB in shutouts this season with eight.
So these are the San Francisco Giants vs Los Angeles Dodgers predictions and betting picks for today, though the sportsbooks have yet to publish odds at the time of writing:
- This MLB preview expects the Giants to win this Game 1 clash. As for the total on the runline, our money would be on the runs just reaching double digits.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.