The Dodgers take a two-game lead with 16 games to play into their three-game weekend series against the Giants. It's a series between two evenly-matched teams that took different paths to their current state. Here are some things to note about the 2014 San Francisco squad.
While the Dodgers have for the most part been slow and steady this season - only two winning streaks longer than three games, no losing months - the Giants have been and up-and-down-and-up-again team. San Francisco started 42-21, then went 26-41. But the team has won 13 of its last 16 games heading into the weekend.
Posey on fire
The Giants catcher is in top form, hitting .463 (37-for-80) with seven home runs, 24 RBI and 19 runs scored in his last 19 games. Posey has caught about two-thirds of the time on the season, though he hasn't caught more than two games in a row since Aug. 16. Posey has also started 26 times at first base this year.
The Giants have won nine straight home games, their longest streak since an 11-game streak back in 2003.
Dan Uggla started all three games at second base the last time these two teams played. Since then, rookie Joe Panik has started 33 of 39 games at second base, and has even Scutaro'd his way into the top of the lineup, batting second for 13 straight games. The first-round pick from 2011 is hitting .351/.394/.429 since the All-Star break this season.
Andrew Susac, the Giants' second-round pick in 2011, has taken over the backup role. Since the All-Star break the rookie has hit .263/.323/.509 with three home runs, five doubles and 18 RBI. Dodgers catchers since the All-Star game have combined to hit .152/.258/.224 with two home runs and 11 RBI. During that Span the Dodgers' trio of A.J. Ellis, Drew Butera and Tim Federowicz have 37 total bases in 192 plate appearances, compared to 29 total bases in 62 PA for Susac.
Like the Dodgers, the Giants were desperate for a starting pitcher and in July brought in Jake Peavy, reuniting the veteran right-hander with his former San Diego manager Bruce Bochy. The Dodgers beat Peavy in his first San Francisco start, but the right-hander has been surprisingly effective for the Giants. In nine starts, Peavy is 5-4 with a 2.29 ERA, with 47 strikeouts and 12 walks in 59 innings.
The Dodgers won't face Peavy this weekend.
Since the All-Star break, the relief quintet of Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo, Jean Machi, Javier Lopez and George Kontos have combined for a 2.63 ERA and a 1.012 WHIP with 70 strikeouts and 25 walks in 82 innings.