The Dodgers are already in the playoffs, and the Giants are trying to join them as the two rivals finish off their regular season with a weekend series at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
The National League West has been clinched for a fourth consecutive season, but the Dodgers this weekend still have a few things to play for. They could technically still secure home field advantage over the Nationals in he NLDS, though they need five out of six games (three Dodgers games, three Nationals games) to go their way to do it.
The Dodgers could also finish with a winning record on the road in 2016, though to do so they would need to sweep the Giants. That’s a tall order considering the Dodgers are 0-4-1 in series in San Francisco since the start of 2015, losing 13 of 17 games at AT&T Park during that span.
Los Angeles and San Francisco have split 16 games in 2016, with the Dodgers scoring 59 total runs in those game and the Giants 58. Half of their games this year have been decided by one run, and three of the seven games in San Francisco have gone extra innings.
The Giants enter Friday in second wild card position in the National League with three games to play, behind the Mets by one game and ahead of the Cardinals by one game. San Francisco has a magic number of three to eliminate St. Louis, meaning the earliest they could possibly clinch a spot is Saturday.
A combination of four Giants losses and Cardinals wins would mean no playoff spot clinched this weekend, and no worse (for St. Louis) than a one-game playoff on Monday. A combination of five means San Francisco is eliminated.
Rich Hill starts the opener on Friday night for the Dodgers, his final tune up before his NLDS Game 2 start next Saturday. Two of his five starts as a Dodger were against the Giants, with Hill allowing a total of one run in 11 innings, with 10 strikeouts and one walk.
Hill is 1-1 in those starts.
Madison Bumgarner knows a little about tough luck in a Dodgers-Giants rivalry game. He is coming off a game last week at Dodger Stadium where he was dominant, striking out 10 in seven innings, allowing only one hit, but after his “Don’t look at me” outburst instead watched the Giants eventually lose in the ninth.
Bumgarner has 46 strikeouts and just five walks to go with a 3.79 ERA in 35⅔ innings in his last six starts against the Dodgers, dating back to Sept. 1, 2015. But the Giants have lost all six games, including 0-4 in 2016.
It is unknown just how long Hill will pitch on Friday, but he definitely won’t be alone on the mound. One night after starter Brett Anderson recorded seven outs in long relief, Brandon McCarthy is expected to pitch in relief on Friday, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, as both vie for some sort of role on the NLDS roster.
It is impossible in a Bumgarner start against the Dodgers to not mention that Kiké Hernandez is 11-for-22 (.500) with four doubles and three home runs against him. Though since he hit two home runs and a double on April 15, the tax came due for Hernandez, 1-for-6 with five strikeouts against Bumgarner since.
With Eduardo Nunez battling injuries, the Giants acquired Gordon Beckham for the final week of the season. The right-handed Beckham is expected to start on Friday, and possibly Saturday too against Clayton Keshaw, per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Beckham, who hit .217/.300/.354 this season, is 1-for-2 with a double against Hill, though the hit came in 2009. Beckham is 2-for-5 with a walk against Kershaw, though hasn’t faced him since 2014. Beckham hit .233/.321/.384 against southpaws in 2016.
Dodgers (91-68) vs. Giants (84-75)
Time: 7:15 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, KTLA, MLB Network