With just 28 games remaining in the regular reason, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants are tied for first place in the National League West as the two teams begin a three-game series at Oracle Park.
Whichever team wins the series will take a lead in the division, which could amount to a one- or three-game advantage. The Dodgers enter play on a three-game winning streak, while the Giants just lost three of four to the Milwaukee Brewers.
NL West odds are further at stake considering this is the final time the Dodgers and Giants will play each other.
The Giants are starting Anthony DeSclafani in the first game of the series and he expects a playoff atmosphere in the park as the two-top teams in baseball face off with so much on the line, via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“It’s probably going to be pretty similar to postseason baseball, I would assume,” DeSclafani said Thursday. “We’re going to get little bit of a early viewing of that and it’s going be exciting. But it’s important to just keep playing good baseball, no matter what the results are. We want to win, that’s obviously the goal, but the rest of the season can be just as important.”
Despite his struggles against the Dodgers, DeSclafani believes he can find success this time if he just keeps doing the things that have led to an overall successful season:
“Some good, some bad,” DeSclafani said. “So it’s just important to keep pitching to my strengths and mixing it up. I’m not going to do anything different – just get better on my end. I’m going to have to do that each and every time out, because we’re going to have meaningful baseball the rest of the way and I want to be the best I can be.”
DeSclafani has had a strong year for the Giants, posting a 3.38 ERA and 3.85 FIP across 135.2 innings, however, the Dodgers have given the right-hander a lot of trouble this year.
In five starts against L.A., DeSclafani has thrown 21 innings while allowing 22 earned runs on 31 hits, which gives him a 9.43 ERA in those matchups. He has also walked 12 and given up six home runs.
DeSclafani does have one quality start against the Dodgers, which came on July 22 in a 5-3 win for the Giants. But in the other four starts he has gone an average of fewer than four innings while allowing three or more runs each time, including 10 runs in 2.2 innings on May 23.
As the Giants turn to DeSclafani in the opener, the Dodgers counter with David Price, who has had his own struggles recently.
Scherzer looking forward to Giants series
Max Scherzer was removed after throwing only 76 pitches during shutout against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday due to right hamstring tightness.
While Scherzer helped pitch the Dodgers to a sweep, he will be relegated to watching from the dugout but is looking forward the highly-anticipated matchup with the Giants.
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