The Los Angeles Dodgers will look to stay hot as the Giants come to town.
Put the Los Angeles Dodgers in the category of a team that was playing some of its best baseball going into the All-Star break, with a chance to resume that trend when play resumes Thursday.
It will be a pair of West Coast rivals going at it when the visiting San Francisco Giants head south to meet the National League’s top team in the Dodgers.
The Dodgers closed out their pre-break schedule on a four-game winning streak, while also winning 11 of their last 12 and 15 of their last 17. At 60-30, the Dodgers are 3 1/2 games better than the second-best team in the National League, the New York Mets.
Los Angeles is also 10 games up in the NL West over the San Diego Padres and 12 1/2 better than the Giants. Despite all of their success to open the season, though, the Dodgers were swept in a three-game series at San Francisco in June the last time the teams met.
Since then, though, Los Angeles is 23-7, while San Francisco has gone 15-17.
The Dodgers had six players on the NL roster of Tuesday’s All-Star Game, including three pitchers in Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson. Manager Dave Roberts hinted that right-hander Mitch White would pitch in one of the early games against the Giants since he did not have All-Star duties, although Anderson was not used in Tuesday’s game.
“You look the last three weeks and we played a lot of great team baseball,” Roberts said. “We caught it, we pitched well (and) offensively we came through together, one through nine. A lot of good things. To finish the way we did (on the schedule) was very encouraging.”
The biggest test between the Dodgers and Giants is yet to come. Including the upcoming four-game series, the teams will meet eight times over the next two weeks, with 14 games scheduled between each other through Sept. 18.
While the Giants have not resembled the team that won an impressive 107 games last season to end the Dodgers’ division title run at eight consecutive seasons, they did win five of six heading into the break and seven of their last nine.
A pair of newcomers to the Giants were All-Stars, as Joc Pederson was voted a starter in the outfield, while left-hander Carlos Rodon joined him on the squad. Pederson will make his second trip to Los Angeles with the Giants, not counting his appearance in the All-Star Game.
Pederson’s damage against the Dodgers this season has been minimal with a .250 batting average in the five games (two starts) and no extra-base hits with two RBIs.
Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford (knee) is on the injured list for the second time this season, with third baseman Evan Longoria and first baseman Brandon Belt also spending time on the IL in the first half. The injuries have taken a toll on the Giants’ lineup construction.
“Part of our first-half inconsistency is inconsistency with the lineup,” Crawford said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “Hopefully, we can get everyone healthy in the second half and take off.”