Tied atop the National League West and level in the season series, the Los Angeles Dodgers and host San Francisco begin one final three-game, head-to-head showdown Friday night.
Dodgers left-hander David Price (4-2, 3.88 ERA) and Giants righty Anthony DeSclafani (11-6, 3.38) are the scheduled starters in a matchup of teams that share the major leagues’ top overall record at 85-49.
The Dodgers enter the series in the better form of the two, having begun the week with three straight wins over the visiting Atlanta Braves while the Giants were losing three of four to the visiting Milwaukee Brewers.
The Dodgers held the division lead on their own for the first time since April 25 after Wednesday’s games, only to sit idly on Thursday while the Giants moved back into a tie by salvaging the series finale against the Brewers, 5-1.
Los Angeles was four games behind on Aug. 6 but has since won 20 of 24. San Francisco, meanwhile, has dropped five of its past seven.
“We knew that if we took care of business, we’d be on top,” Dodgers outfielder AJ Pollock noted after Wednesday’s win over the Braves.
Added Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, “It’s a start. We’re getting there. I think we’ve just got to continue to play good baseball.”
The clubs haven’t met since July 27-29, when the Giants took two of three at home to draw even at 8-8 in a season series in which each team has scored 68 runs. The Dodgers began the season by winning the first four head-to-head matchups, but the Giants have prevailed in eight of the past 12.
Each team will have 25 games remaining after the series, with the Dodgers appearing to have the rougher road.
Their finish includes four at St. Louis, six at home against San Diego, three at Cincinnati and three at home against Milwaukee.
Meanwhile, the Giants must deal with the Padres 10 times down the stretch, including seven at home, and they also will get a three-game visit from Atlanta.
Giants catcher Buster Posey warns not to put too much emphasis on his team’s recent decline.
“This group’s shown an ability to bounce back throughout the year,” he said. “We’ve been playing some really good teams, some good pitching, and that’s going to continue and hopefully continue in the playoffs as well.
“It’s just a matter of showing up each day and competing. It’s really as simple as that.”
Price is winless in 11 starts this season, going 0-2 with a 3.92 ERA. His last win as a starter came July 7, 2019, for the Boston Red Sox at Detroit before he was winless in his final six starts that year. Price opted out of the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The 36-year-old was the losing pitcher in a 5-0 defeat at San Francisco on July 29, when he allowed four runs (three earned) in 4 1/3 innings. He served up a two-run double to Brandon Crawford in the first inning of that contest.
Price is 0-3 with a 2.94 ERA lifetime against the Giants in six games, including five starts.
DeSclafani has had to deal with a sore ankle while totaling just 4 1/3 innings in his past two starts, against the New York Mets and the Braves.
The 31-year-old has already started five games against the Dodgers this season, going 0-3 with a 9.43 ERA. He has allowed six homers in those games, including two to Will Smith.
DeSclafani is 1-8 with a 6.47 ERA in 11 career starts against the Dodgers.
–Field Level Media