A pair of evenly matched baseball teams get together for a rather important baseball game on Friday night at a baseball park in San Francisco.
The Dodgers and Giants will play one another six times in a 13-day span, vying for the right to avoid the one-game playoff that is the National League Wild Card Game, and the chance to properly set a pitching rotation for the National League Division Series.
The Dodgers were able to set their rotation for this weekend series in San Francisco (and for the upcoming Sep. 22-24 series in Los Angeles), lining up their best three pitchers to throw against the Giants.
Hyun-jin Ryu gets the call for the Dodgers in Friday night's opener, facing off with Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.
Ryu has seven quality starts in his last eight outings, and in the only non-quality start during that span he left one out shy with a strained buttocks in Atlanta. During those eight starts Ryu has a 2.24 ERA with 55 strikeouts and seven walks in 52⅓ innings.
The left-hander hasn't allowed a home run in his last five starts, totaling 34⅔ innings. His last home run allowed was on July 27, to Buster Posey in San Francisco.
Ryu's control has been remarkable this season, with 26 unintentional walks in 25 starts, and he hasn't walked more than two batters in a start since April 4, a loss to the Giants.
Ryu, whose walk rate has decreased from 6.3 percent as a rookie to 4.5 percent in 2014, has faced San Francisco twice since that loss in the home opener. Ryu has won both starts, with three runs allowed in 13 innings, with 10 strikeouts and two walks in 13 innings.
Bumgarner has also seen a decrease in his walk rate this season (4.9 percent compared to 7.7 percent in 2013), adding a new element to a typically excellent season. Bumgarner was named National League Pitcher of the Month for both May and August this season, including a ridiculous 56 strikeouts and three walks in 46 innings last month.
The next strikeout for Bumgarner's will be his 200th and set a new career high, but it's nothing to take for granted. In his last start, on Saturday in Detroit, Bumgarner won while allowing three runs in six innings, but also failed to strikeout a batter for the first time in 145 career starts.
Bumgarner is 10-4 with a 2.54 ERA in 15 career games against the Dodgers, including 14 starts, with 87 strikeouts and 19 walks in 92 innings. But most of that damage has been done in Los Angeles. In five home starts against the Dodgers the left-hander is 3-2 with a 3.99 ERA.
Time: 7:15 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network