SAN FRANCISCO — The Dodgers went into this 10-day stretch hoping to re-assert their dominance in the NL West. Seven head-to-head games against the first-place San Francisco Giants presented that opportunity – and Friday’s trade deadline loomed as a means to remind the Giants and Padres where the division’s power really rested.
As reports percolated that the Padres had emerged as frontrunners for this year’s biggest trade deadline prize (Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer), the Dodgers went down weakly in San Francisco, held to four hits by Johnny Cueto and a string of relievers in a 5-0 loss to the Giants on Thursday afternoon at Oracle Park.
During this stretch, the Dodgers lost five of the seven meetings with the Giants – three of four at home, two of three in San Francisco. Instead of wresting first place away from the Giants, the Dodgers are farther away now (three games) than they were when this stretch started (one game).
With the last hours before the trade deadline counting down, there was no doubt more action off screen than there was on the field at Oracle Park on Thursday afternoon.
David Price has been an adequate replacement in the Dodgers’ depleted starting rotation. But he went out Thursday and made it clear how badly the Dodgers need to land Scherzer or Jose Berrios – not just Danny Duffy – before Friday’s 1 p.m. PT deadline if they are going to hold their own in the three-time NL West race.
Price walked the bases loaded in the first inning then gave up a bouncing ball down the third base line by Brandon Crawford that went for a two-run double. The Dodgers trailed the rest of the way.
The Giants added single runs in the second (a Wilmer Flores RBI double), fourth (Austin Slater RBI single) and seventh inning (LaMonte Wade Jr. RBI double), scoring all five of their runs after there were two outs in the inning.
The Dodgers offered little resistance. They had just three singles off Cueto in the first five innings. Two of them were followed by double plays that ended the inning.
In the sixth, they cobbled together a threat, loading the bases with two outs after Justin Turner worked a 10-pitch at-bat into a wallk, ending Cueto’s day.
But Cody Bellinger’s lost season continued. He struck out on three pitches from lefty reliever Jarlin Garcia.
The final 10 Dodgers batters were retired by Giants relievers, six on strikeouts.
More to come on this story.