Rivalry Renewed as Dodgers and Giants Clash in San Francisco

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The Giants are fresh off a three-game sweep of the lowly Arizona D-backs, and they now have their target on the first-place Dodgers. The Dodgers just won two of three against San Diego, but the series included some awful defensive miscues and a stinker of a start by Roberto Hernandez. With the Giants only two games back, a series sweep in San Francisco would turn the tide in the N.L. West and put the pumpkin colored foes on top. The stakes are high, and the division is much closer than it was last season when the Dodgers ran away with the title.

Hyun-jin Ryu (14-6, 3.16) vs. Madison Bumgarner (17-9, 3.02)

Lineup:

Puig Cf

Turner 2B

Gonzalez 1B

Kemp RF

Hanley SS

Van Slyke LF

Uribe 3B

Ellis C

Ryu P

The Dodgers took over first place after sweeping the Giants back in July, and they never looked back. The Giants hold the season series lead against the Dodgers with 7 wins while the Dodgers have 6. Both teams are sending their top three pitchers to the mound for the

Aug 7, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (99) throws in the fifth inning of the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

series, and the opener will feature Hyun-jin Ryu versus Madison Bumgarner. Ryu will be vying for his 15th win of the season on Friday night in foggy Frisco. Ryu has actually pitched better on the road than at home this year. He is 10-3 on the road with a 2.65 ERA in 14 starts. The southpaw is 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA against the Giants this year over 3 starts.

Overall, Ryu is 4-3 with a 3.40 ERA against the Giants in 8 career starts against them. Ryu has pitched well at AT&T Park, and he is 4-1 with a 2.76 ERA in 5 starts up north. Ryu allowed 2 runs on 7 hits over 6 2/3 innings while striking out 9 Snakes last time out. He wasn’t involved in the decision, but the Dodgers ended up beating the D-backs 5-2. Buster Posey has hit a homerun against Ryu, but Hunter Pence has really given him a hard time. The awkward outfielder is hitting .429 against Ryu with 9 hits and 6 RBI in 23 plate appearances.

Madison Bumgarner will be going for his 18th win. The All-Star is three innings away from 200 on the year, and he sits at 199 strikeouts. The ace left-hander is 2-1 with a 2.41 ERA against the Dodgers this year in 3 starts. Like Ryu, Bumgarner has pitched better on the road than at home this year. He is 11-3 with a 2.00 ERA on the road, but at AT&T Park he is 6-6 with a 4.36 ERA. Over his career, he has found success against the Dodgers. He is 10-4 with a 2.54 ERA against the Boys in Blue in 15 career games. Bumgarner is currently riding a four-game winning streak. Last time out against the Tigers, Bumgarner allowed 3 runs on 10 hits through 6 innings (oddly striking out none), but the Giants came away with the 17-9 victory. Juan Uribe and Yasiel Puig have hit Bumgarner in the past. Puig has two homeruns against him and Uribe has hit one homerun versus Madison. FedEx, who hasn’t played much since getting the September call-up, has also hit a homerun against the lefty.

Prediction: Juan Uribe collects two hits and drives in two runs.

Although the rivalry always lives on, the last year or two has seen animosity build between the Dodgers and the D-backs and the Cardinals instead. These last six games between the N.L. West opponents could rekindle the rivalry and provide a heated pennant race in the National League.

Of course I’d rather the Dodgers sweep both series against San Francisco and lock up the division in a non stressful manner. Even though things could be exciting down the stretch, I really don’t want to be dreading the inevitable bases loaded letdown in the bottom of the ninth inning on the last day of the season.

The Dodgers need to play aggressively right out of the box on Friday evening. The Giants are a contact hitting team, and they manage to collect a lot of bloopers and seemingly lucky base hits because they are swinging at pitches. While I don’t want to see Yasiel Puig flailing at balls out of the zone, I also don’t want the Dodgers to be sitting and taking pitches either. The Dodgers will have their work cut out for them against Bumgarner. They have struggled this season against left-handed pitching and are 11th in the league with a .240 batting average against lefties. The Giants are hitting .257 against left-handed pitching with a league-leading 416 hits against opponent southpaws.

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  • Timing is everything.

    Carl Crawford

    is hot right now.

    Matt Kemp

    has been hitting well for awhile. The Dodgers can rely on

    Adrian Gonzalez

    to drive in the runs. The missing pieces crucial for a N.L. West crown will be Yasiel Puig and

    Hanley Ramirez

    ‘s offensive production down the stretch along with the iffy defense and often shaky bullpen. If everything falls into place, the Dodgers should be able to defend their N.L. West title and move on to the NLDS. If not, the Dodgers will have to battle to the bitter end.

    On Saturday, Zack Greinke will face Tim Hudson, and on Sunday Clayton Kershaw will counter Yusmeiro Petit.

    Go Blue!

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