Preview: Dodgers Face Rival Giants In Pivotal Series
San Francisco heads into the three-game series with a 4.5-game lead in its division so even if Los Angeles manages a sweep, the Giants will ultimately stand alone at the top of the win column.
That’s not to say that this series isn’t critical. In fact, for the Dodgers it’s a must-win. Securing a spot in the postseason would mean somehow toppling the Giants or edging out the competition in a tight wild card race between the Cardinals, Braves and Pirates. And for the Giants, the series is an opportunity to coast into October.
What to Watch For
Since the last time these two teams met in Chavez Ravine (when the Giants pulled off a sweep), both have made some pretty significant adjustments to their rosters. The Dodgers acquired Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto (plus Carl Crawford) in a trade with the Red Sox; the Giants added Xavier Nady and reactivated several players from the disabled list. This pivotal series is the perfect stage for the two teams to see how their late-season moves stack up.
Even though there are some big bats on both sides of the dugout, San Francisco's AT&T Park favors the pitcher, and that will be a key element in the outcome of this series.
On Friday, Beckett will be thrown into baseball's greatest west coast rivalry against Giants ace Tim Lincecum. Saturday's day game features Chris Capuano on the hill for the Dodgers against All-Star starter Matt Cain and Sunday’s series finale will pit former Cy Young Award winners Clayton Kershaw and Barry Zito against each other.
Bring Out the Brooms
Momentum is a huge factor in the outcome of these kinds of series. Anything from a couple of close pitches to biting words uttered on the base pads can spur one team into a groove. Moreover, the Giants and Dodgers seem to have an all-or-nothing trend running this season. In their last three matchups, the rivals have exchanged sweeps, with the Giants taking the last three games played in Chavez Ravine only a few weeks ago.
The Dodgers and Giants will face each other once more at the end of the regular season, but this weekend series will undoubtedly set the tone for those last three games.
Reach Staff Reporter Alexa Girkout here.