The Dodgers have a chance to make up some ground in the National League West this weekend, and shuffled their starting rotation against the division-leading Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco. There will be three left-handers facing the Giants, with Julio Urias moved up to start the Sunday night series finale on ESPN.
"We like that matchup," manager Dave Roberts told reporters after Thursday night's game.
The Giants as a team are hitting .267/.332/.409 against southpaws, which is better than their .244/.324/.385 against right-handers. But San Francisco is also without outfielders Hunter Pence and Angel Pagan, both on the disabled list, with left-handers Jarrett Parker and Gregor Blanco getting more time of late, in addition to lefty regulars Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Denard Span and Joe Panik.
Giants left-handed batters are hitting .265/.333/.391 against left-handed pitching this season.
Urias will start on regular rest, thanks to Thursday's off day, which gives Clayton Kershaw and Scott Kazmir an extra day. Mike Bolsinger will start the series opener on Monday against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix.
Here is the schedule and matchups for the weekend series:
Friday, 7:15 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA, MLB Network)
Clayton Kershaw had a 2.42 ERA in three starts in San Francisco last year, and this year he has a 2.25 ERA at AT&T Park (two runs in eight innings on April 9; with this offense, a no-decision, naturally). Before that, he never had a season with an ERA above 1.20 on the road against the Giants.
Friday is the best pitching matchup of the series, with Johnny Cueto dominating like his days with the Reds. He's 9-1 with a 2.16 ERA, but in his last six starts he has been even better, allowing five total runs (four earned) for a 0.79 ERA. Kershaw (7.72) and Cueto (7.31) rank first and second in the majors in innings per start this season.
Saturday, 4:15 p.m. (Fox)
Scott Kazmir has at least five strikeouts in each of his last eight starts, with a 3.62 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 49⅔ innings during that span. He allowed 10 runs in eight innings in a pair of losses to the Giants in April, each start lasting a season-low four innings.
Jeff Samardzija so far this season has been everything the Giants have asked, going deep into starts (his 6.75 innings per start ranks seventh in MLB) while putting up a 3.33 ERA. He has had a hiccup in his last two starts, allowing 11 runs in 10 innings, including allowing four home runs in St. Louis on Sunday after giving up just five long balls in his first 11 starts. In 2015, Samardzija led the American League with 29 home runs allowed in his 32 starts.
Dodgers broadcaster Joe Davis will call the game for Fox, with C.J. Nitkowski.
Sunday, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
After facing last year's NLCS teams in his first two major league starts, both on the road, Urias gets another tough test with the division-leading Giants in his fourth start. So far, left-handed batters are 2-for-13 with a home run, two walks and five strikeouts (.154/.267/.385) against Urias, but right-handers have tattooed him to the tune of .378/.439/.649.
Jake Peavy has had terrible results so far this year, 2-6 with a 6.41 ERA in 12 starts, though his peripherals haven't been that bad, with 48 strikeouts and 20 walks giving him a 4.30 FIP. He has a 2.41 ERA in his last three starts and has kept the ball in the ballpark during that span.
The broadcasts on Saturday and Sunday are exclusive broadcasts, with those games unavailable on SportsNet LA.