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Yu Darvish, Dodgers look to get ahead

Colorado Rockies v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Dodgers got the losing streak monkey off their back on Tuesday night, and clinched a playoff spot in the process. So now what?

First up, they finish off their three-game series against the Giants in San Francisco, sending Yu Darvish to the mound with a few starts remaining to get his muscle memory to kick in and recapture his pre-surgery form of 2012-14.

Darvish has allowed five runs in each of his last two starts, and has allowed 16 runs in 27 hits in 18⅓ innings in his last four starts. His delivery is returning to form, he says, but the results haven’t shown it yet, which is a problem.

“Those last couple of outings, when I was pitching I was constantly thinking about by mechanics,” Darvish said Friday. “Tonight it wasn’t about mechanics, I was just getting behind in the count.”

When Darvish is behind in the count this season, including his time with Texas, batters are hitting .277/.467/.506 against him. When ahead in the count, batters are hitting .192/.196/.304.

That’s similar to MLB averages in 2017 — batters hit .300/.478/.534 when ahead in the count, and 204/.212/.317 when behind.

A win on Wednesday would also give the Dodgers their first series win since Aug. 21-24 in Pittsburgh, snapping a string of five consecutive series defeats. Getting a win would also help in the way of securing home field advantage in the postseason.

The Dodgers (93-52) own a four-game lead in the loss column over both the Indians (89-56) — winners of 20 straight games! — and the Nationals (88-56), with the latter looming for three games in Washington D.C. after business is concluded in San Francisco.

But before worrying about the Nationals, the Dodgers have this one game against the Giants left, and will face left-hander Matt Moore for a fourth time this season. He has a pair of quality starts against them but also allowed nine runs at Dodger Stadium on May 2.

The Dodgers have faced Moore eight times, all since the start of the 2016 season, including two starts for the Rays last year. He has been hit or miss, taking a no-hitter into the ninth inning last year at Dodger Stadium and also shutting them down over eight innings on the season’s final weekend, but also allowing six runs while recording three innings in another start.

The end result: 3-3 with a 5.36 ERA against the Dodgers, not unlike Moore’s 5.31 ERA on the season in 2017.

One more thing to shoot for Wednesday night — the Dodgers’ last two-game winning streak was Aug. 24-25, with wins over the Pirates on the road and the Brewers at home.

Game info

Time: 7:15 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA, ESPN

The ESPN broadcast is a national telecast and won’t be blacked out in either home market. Jon Sciambi, Rick Sutcliffe and Jessica Mendoza will be on the call.