LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers welcome the rival Giants to Los Angeles for the third meeting between the two clubs this season, looking to gain ground on the National League West division leaders.
The Dodgers haven't been playing badly this year, as there is no reason to panic over a 19-16 start that translates into an 88-win pace over a full season. But this team wasn't built to win 88 games, and while the offense (tied for third in the NL with a 106 OPS+, third with 107 wRC+) and pitching (seventh in NL with a 105 ERA+, sixth in NL with 3.60 FIP) have both been above average, it feels like there is more there there, that has yet to be realized.
The Dodgers haven't been more than five games over .500 this season, but also haven't been worse than one game over .500. Their longest winning streak is three, and their longest losing streak is two. Which has them stuck in the middle of the National League West.
One way the Dodgers can bust out of their malaise is by beating San Francisco. The Dodgers have lost each of their last four series against the rival Giants, including two this season, dropping nine of 13 games in that span.
Josh Beckett gets the call in the series opener on Friday night. He tiptoed through the Giants lineup for five innings on April 15 in San Francisco, walking five in five innings but didn't allow any of his eight baserunners to score. Since that five-walk game, Beckett has walked only three batters to go with 21 strikeouts in 19... innings. His 26.3% strikeout rate so far this year would be a career high for the soon-to-be 34-year-old.
Ryan Vogelsong makes his third start against the Dodgers this season for the Giants. He was staked to an 8-0 lead on April 4 in the Dodgers home opener but couldn't complete the requisite five innings for the win. He allowed just one run in six innings in San Francisco on April 16, but got a no-decision in a game the Giants eventually won 2-1.
Yasiel Puig has a seven-game hitting streak, hitting .433 (13-for-30) with eight runs batted in during the streak.
No trio in baseball has more home runs than the Giants' a Brandon Belt (nine), Mike Morse (eight) and Buster Posey (seven).
The Dodgers are 11-6 when they don't allow a home run this season, and 8-10 when they do.
Posey has a four-game hitting streak and over his last 10 games is hitting .432 (16-or-37) with three home runs.
Former Dodgers announcer Ross Porter will introduce players before Saturday's old timers game at Dodger Stadium.
Time: 7:10 p.m.
TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network