Along with trying to avoid the dreaded 100-loss mark, the San Francisco Giants are playing with an eye toward the future during the season’s final week. The Giants hope to build on one of their best efforts Sunday, when they face the host Los Angeles Dodgers in the rubber match of their three-game series.
Madison Bumgarner took a shutout into the eighth inning and Gorkys Hernandez recorded three hits in Saturday’s 2-1 victory, which came one day after Los Angeles clinched its fifth straight National League West title. The Dodgers rested a few regulars, but it still was an encouraging performance for Bumgarner, who missed three months this season following a dirt bike accident but was in complete control on Saturday, allowing one run on 99 pitches over 7 2/3 innings. The Dodgers have lost 10 of their last 11 home games and received a scare Saturday when Yasiel Puig twisted his ankle on the game’s final play. Puig is expected to be available Sunday against the Giants, who need two victories over their final seven games to avoid the franchise’s first 100-loss season since 1985.
TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, NBCSN Bay Area (San Francisco), SportsNet LA (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Giants RH Chris Stratton (3-3, 3.94 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Clayton Kershaw (17-4, 2.26)
Stratton earned his third victory last Sunday against Arizona, allowing two runs and five hits over six frames. The 27-year-old native of Mississippi has bolstered his case for a spot in next season’s rotation by recording a 2.38 ERA in seven starts since Aug. 5. Stratton faced just one batter against the Dodgers on Sept. 11 due to a rain delay and is 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA in two career games (one start) versus Los Angeles.
Kershaw allowed four runs on his first grand slam and pitched six innings in a 4-3 loss to Philadelphia last Monday. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has gone 21-9 with a 1.62 ERA in 40 career contests (39 starts) against San Francisco, including six strong innings in a 5-3 victory on Sept. 12. Hunter Pence is 10-for-76 with one home run against Kershaw, who has struck out 194 batters against 30 walks in 163 innings this season.
1. Thirteen of the Giants’ last 18 wins have come by three runs or fewer.
2. Dodgers LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu left Saturday’s game with a left forearm contusion, but X-rays were negative and he’s listed as day-to-day.
3. Giants OF Austin Slater has not played since Sept. 17 due to a sore right hip flexor but hopes to return before the end of the season.
PREDICTION: Dodgers 6, Giants 2