The most anticipated series of the season is upon us, with the Dodgers and Giants look to break their tie for best record in the majors and gain an advantage in the National League West in the process.
The Dodgers are utilizing seven of their eight most productive hitters in the series opener. The exception is Cody Bellinger starting in the spacious centerfield at Oracle Park, with AJ Pollock out of the lineup on Friday.
|1B||Muncy (L)||1B||Belt (L)|
|CF||Bellinger (L)||CF||Yastrzemski (L)|
Max Muncy has been the Dodgers’ best hitter this season, hitting his 30th home run of the season on Wednesday. Muncy has also been the Dodgers’ leading hitter against the Giants, to the tune of .327/.422/.800 in 16 games. His eight home runs are tied for the third-most by a Dodger against the Giants in franchise history, trailing only Dolph Camilli (11 home runs in 1941) and Roy Campanella (10 homers in 1953), both in 22 games for Brooklyn against the New York Giants.
Will Smith is hitting .293/.396/.561 with three home runs against the Giants this season, starting 11 of 16 games behind the plate. He comes into Friday with two full days off after not playing on Wednesday followed by Thursday’s travel day. That’s just the fourth time this season Smith has had two days off in a row — three other times either before or after an off day Smith did not start but appeared later in the game — and in his first game back after those brief respites reached base at least twice in all three previous games.
Smith has played more often of late. Friday’s start means he’s been behind the plate to open 73 percent of games since the All-Star break, compared to 65 percent of the time before the break. That’s corresponded with Smith getting hot offensively, hitting .296/.410/.652 with 12 home runs and 33 RBI in his last 34 games, fifth in the National League in homers and runs batted in during that time.
Smith has homered twice this season and Muncy once against Anthony DeSclafani, who is expected to start the opener for San Francisco. DeScalafani missed time in late August on the injured list with right ankle inflammation, and left his start last Sunday in the fourth inning.
“It’s just time that’s going to take care of it,” DeSclafani said of his ankle, to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
DeSclafani had his worst start of the season against the Dodgers, allowing 10 runs in 2⅔ innings on May 23 in San Francisco. But he also allowed 12 runs in 18 innings in his other four starts against Los Angeles, almost splitting his season in two parts.
Anthony DeSclafani’s 2021 season
Corey Seager is 3-for-6 with a home run against DeSclafani in his career, though this is the first time he will face him this season.
The Dodgers are using Corey Knebel as an opener to start Friday, which was his exact role last Saturday at Dodger Stadium, when he faced the first five Rockies batters of the game before left-hander David Price entered.
San Francisco roster move
The Giants activated third baseman Evan Logoria off the injured list after missing nine games with a right hand contusion, but he’s not starting. Mauricio Dubón was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.