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Dodgers struggling offense faces a pair of Giants bullpen games

Second-place team tries to catch first-place team

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

While we wait for the Dodgers to hit, their next three games at least in theory provide extra margin for error with the club’s three starting pitchers going the next three games. Julio Urías starts on Saturday against the Giants, so perhaps the Dodgers offense will snap out of their funk.

Urías gets 6.5 runs per start this year, the fourth-best support in the majors. The Dodgers have scored at least six runs in 14 of Urías’ 26 starts, including nine or more runs eight times.

The Dodgers scored at least five runs in all five Urías starts in August, all Dodgers wins. They’ve scored five or more runs 18 times with Urías on the mound, and are 17-1 in those games. The lone loss came on May 29 against the Giants, who tagged Urías for seven runs and 11 hits, both season highs for the left-hander.

The Dodgers haven’t scored more than five runs since August 18, and in the 14 games since are hitting .200/.269/.351 while averaging 3.43 runs per game. Thanks to excellent pitching, they are somehow 10-4 in those games, but you can only ask so much of a staff.

The Dodgers deployed a bullpen game on Friday, and used all 11 active relievers in the 11-inning series opener. That matched a franchise record for pitchers used in a game, also done on September 15, 2015 against the Rockies. The club record for a nine-inning game is nine pitchers used, done twice in 2018. The Dodgers used nine pitchers in the first nine innings on Friday.

Los Angeles will be on the other end of reliever roulette the rest of the series, with the Giants planning bullpen games on Saturday and Sunday. San Francisco figures to have at least some length available, with left-handers Sammy Long (4⅔ innings in relief last Sunday) and José Quintana (3⅓ innings on Tuesday) likely to pitch this weekend.

Right-hander Jay Jackson will be San Francisco’s opener on the mound on Saturday, per Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic.

Ten of the 17 games between the Dodgers and Giants have been decided by two runs or fewer, plus one more three-run difference that was decided in extra innings. There have been six one-run games between these two this year, with the Dodgers and Giants each winning three times.

Friday night’s defeat was the first one-run loss by the Dodgers since August 12, snapping an eight-game win streak in such games.

Game info

Teams: Dodgers (85-50) at Giants (86-49)

Location: Oracle Park, San Francisco

Time: 6:05 p.m.

TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network (out of network)