The Los Angeles Dodgers’ march toward 100 wins for the third straight time in a full season continues Friday night when they open a three-game series against last year’s leader in regular-season victories, the host San Francisco Giants.
A year after they waged a classic duel atop the National League West, one won by the Giants by a single game, the Dodgers (98-44) already have clinched the division crown and now have set their sights on the best record both in the league and all of baseball.
The Dodgers can become the first to reach 100 wins by taking two of three against the Giants (69-74), who have been eliminated from the division race and hold just slim hopes of landing one of the NL’s three wild-card playoff spots.
Los Angeles has won 12 of 16 from San Francisco this year in a season series that has featured a three-game Giants home sweep in June and a four-game Dodgers road sweep in August.
The Dodgers have yet to win since clinching the NL West title Tuesday in Arizona. They were beaten 5-3 in 10 innings by the Diamondbacks on Wednesday, then had Thursday off.
Mookie Betts hopes there will be no letdown with more work to do.
“You just keep playing,” he insisted. “It’s not like we’re going to start throwing away at-bats or pitches. We just continue to play the same game.”
Among the things on the Dodgers’ to-do list is determining a role for right-hander Dustin May (1-2, 4.29) moving forward.
After sitting out nearly the first five months of the season following Tommy John surgery, May is scheduled to make his fifth start in the series opener. The Dodgers have lost the last three, during which he’s allowed 10 earned runs in 16 innings.
The 25-year-old has not faced the Giants this season. In three previous career head-to-heads, including one start, he’s gone 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA.
May is slated to go up against Giants right-hander Logan Webb (13-8, 2.88), who will be making his career-best 30th start of the season.
Webb has started three earlier games against the Dodgers this season, going 1-1 while allowing nine runs in 17 innings. He’s 2-3 in the regular season against Los Angeles with a 4.05 ERA in nine career starts.
He also faced the Dodgers twice in last year’s NL Division Series, limiting them to one run and nine hits in 14 2/3 innings. He was the winning pitcher in a 4-0 victory in Game 1, then got a no decision in a 2-1 defeat in series-ending Game 5.
The 25-year-old has won his last two starts, limiting the Dodgers and Chicago Cubs to a total of four earned runs in 13 innings.
The Giants have won four of five, including two of three against another division leader, the NL-East’s Atlanta Braves.
At this point, other than playing spoiler, the Giants’ primary goal is to finish with a winning record.
“I think we’re more than capable of being a winning team,” insisted Carlos Rodon, the winning pitcher in Wednesday’s 4-1 home victory over the Braves. “Unfortunately, the way it’s gone this year has been up and down for us. As of late, we’ve played really well. It’s good to see it showing now.”
–Field Level Media