The Los Angeles Dodgers return to L.A. after a long and arduous road trip that saw them go 5-4 against the Minnesota Twins, Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals. With four games against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers have an opportunity to make up some ground in the standings.
San Francisco Giants (21-13, 1st in the NL West)
The Giants have been playing exceptionally well as of late, and they had won nine out of ten before dropping their last two games to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Giants hold a 2.5 game lead over the Dodgers, and they have won four out of six games against the Dodgers so far this year.
Over the past seven days, both Buster Posey and Hector Sanchez have combined for 15 hits in 34 at-bats, driving in eight runs and scoring five. The Dodgers will also have to watch out for Michael Morse and Brandon Belt, who have both been supplying the Giants with consistent power.
Crawford got off to a terribly slow start, but his bat has finally started to come around. Over the past seven games, Crawford is hitting .423 with five RBI. Puig has been even more impressive over the past week, also hitting .423 while posting an OBP of .516. Unfortunately, Puig has also struck out at a high rate recently, with seven whiffs in his last 26 at-bats.
Sandoval has only hit .111 over his past 18 at-bats, striking out six times during that span. The struggles have been year-long so far, as he is only hitting .174 and has already struck out 28 times. In addition to this lack of production Sandoval injured his thumb on Tuesday, so the Dodgers may not see that much of him in this series.
Gonzalez has stabilized the lineup with his consistent production since his arrival in 2012, but his bat has gone cold to the tune of a .148 batting average over the last week. Part of his value, however, is that even when he is hitting so poorly he still finds ways to get on base, drawing five walks in his last 27 at-bats. It should not be surprising if Gonzalez benefits from a return to home field.
Game 1: Josh Beckett (0-1, 3.14 ERA) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (1-1, 4.60 ERA)
Game 2: Paul Maholm (1-2, 4.70 ERA) vs. Madison Bumgarner (3-3, 3.18 ERA)
Game 3: Zack Greinke (5-1, 2.35 ERA) vs. Matt Cain (0-3, 4.35 ERA)
Game 4: Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 0.66 ERA) vs. Tim Hudson (4-2, 1.99 ERA)
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