Tha Sports Junkies 101

The Wild West Chase

West Art Siegel via


The Giants and Dodgers square off in a 3 game series that could shape the National League West division.

The San Francisco Giants entered this series behind the Los Angeles Dodgers by just 1 game in a hotly contested National League West divisional race. The Kershaw-less Dodgers managed to win the first game of this 3 game series by a final of 7-4, extending their lead over the Giants to 2 full games.

The Dodgers didn’t get to this point by their usual means, Kershaw hasn’t pitched since June 26th, a full 2 months for which most the Giants controlled the NL West. The Dodgers also optioned Yasiel Puig to AAA Oklahoma City due to his off field antics, in 81 games this year Puig slashed .260/.320/.386 with 7 HR and 34 RBI’s while his 162 game average per is .288/.362/.468 with 21 HR and 72 RBI. When Puig wants to play, the much maligned Cuban can produce some of the most ridiculous highlight reel plays on defense and is a force to be reckoned with on offense.

These 2 superstars aren’t the only ones missing from the Dodgers MLB high $265,565,542 payroll this year, as they have $108,258,912 worth of their payroll on the disabled list. The list for the Dodgers includes almost all of their projected opening rotation. Scott Kazmir, Brett Anderson, Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Alex Wood, Andre Either, Tracye Thompson, Scott Van Slyke, and Chris Hatcher were all supposed to help lead the Dodgers to back to back division crowns but are all currently on the disabled list.

The Dodgers have leaned heavily on the back of budding super star Corey Seager, Adrian Gonzalez, a resurgent Chase Utley, and solid play from both Yasmani Grandal as well as Howie Kendrick. Seager has all but secured him self ROY, and has thrust himself into MVP talks.

The Giants however are not missing any of their top 3 starting pitchers, as Bumgarner, Cueto, and Samardzija are all healthy. Samardzija started the season well for the Giants but has struggled since June 27th, with the team going just 2-8 in his last 10 starts. To be fair this is not all Samardzija’s fault as the offense has gone quite cold as of late for the Giants.

The Giants haven’t been missing pitchers like their rivals have, but they were missing some key bats for an extended period of time. They missed Hunter Pence for a while, Matt Duffy was on the DL up until he was traded, Blanco and Pagan have dealt with nagging injuries all season, Joe Panik even missed a chunk of the season, and Posey has even missed some games due to injury as well. The Giants aren’t much of an offensive power house team, but trotting out line ups with Belt, Span, Crawford and Bumgarner as your best hitters won’t win you too many games. Pence, Posey, Panik, and Pagan lengthen the lineup and help the Giants achieve their station to station type baseball.

The Giants have also been downright awful since the All-Star break. They have scored the 2nd least runs (137),  tied for last in Home Runs (27), sitting 26th in SLG% (.388) and sit 23rd in ERA (4.48) compared to 5th in ERA (3.62), 21st in SLG%(.406) 29th in HR(75) and 11th in runs scored (424). Basically the Giants power numbers have dipped a little, but ultimately they are scoring fewer runs and allowing a full run more per game.

The Giants led the Dodgers in the NL West by 8.0 Games through June 26th, but have stumbled to 19-28(.404 win%), the third worst in the MLB over that stretch while the Dodgers have gone 28-19(.596 win%) since Kershaw has gone down to have the fifth-best record in baseball. The Giants face the Dodgers 6 more times after this series including a season ending series in San Francisco, these games could very well shape the western division crown and the wildcard race in the National League. The Giants also lead the season series 6-5.