Two of the most frustrated teams in the majors meet Monday in the opener of a three-game series as the cellar-dwelling San Francisco Giants host the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have lost 10 straight contests and 15 of their last 16. The Dodgers still own the majors’ best record at 92-51 and hold a nine-game lead over Arizona in the National League West, but they’re beginning a 10-game road trip with definite reasons for concern.
Rookie Walker Buehler allowed a grand slam in Sunday’s 8-1 loss to Colorado, which completed a four-game sweep at Dodger Stadium for the first time since their inaugural season of 1993. Rookie Alex Verdugo belted his first career homer, but the Dodgers went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and leadoff hitter Chris Taylor went 0-for-5 for the second straight game. The Giants will have little sympathy for their rivals after losing back-to-back games to the Chicago White Sox while being outscored 21-2. One of several candidates to become San Francisco’s left fielder next season, Jarrett Parker returned to the lineup Sunday after missing nearly two weeks with a mild left oblique strain and homered in four at-bats.
TV: 10:15 p.m. ET, SportsNet LA (Los Angeles), NBCSN Bay Area (San Francisco)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers RH Kenta Maeda (12-6, 4.02 ERA) vs. Giants RH Chris Stratton (2-3, 4.10)
After struggling in his previous start, Maeda allowed one unearned run and four hits over five innings of a no-decision on Wednesday against Arizona. The 29-year-old native of Japan has solidified his role in the second half, going 5-2 with a 3.42 ERA in nine turns since the All-Star break. Joe Panik is 3-for-7 with a home run against Maeda, who went 3-1 with a 4.58 ERA in four outings against San Francisco last season.
Stratton is looking to bounce back from a rough outing last Monday, when he allowed three runs and eight hits over four innings against Colorado. The 27-year-old has bolstered his case for a spot in next season’s rotation by going 2-2 with a 3.15 ERA in six turns, including three quality starts. “You hate to say you’re surprised, but he has exceeded what we thought,” manager Bruce Bochy told reporters. “He’s doing stuff that elite pitchers do.”
1. The Dodgers are moving LHP Clayton Kershaw’s start from Wednesday to Tuesday.
2. The Giants must finish at least 7-10 to avoid the second 100-loss season in franchise history.
3. Los Angeles MGR Dave Roberts said 1B Adrian Gonzalez (back) likely will start at least one of the three games against San Francisco.
PREDICTION: Dodgers 6, Giants 2