San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers (-154, 6)
The battle for first place in the National League West continues when the Giants visit Los Angeles for a three-game set. The Dodgers stand atop the division by one half-game after completing a 7-3 road trip, while San Francisco has won five of its last eight games. Los Angeles, which leads the season series 5-4, swept the Giants in three games in San Francisco last month. Dodgers shortstop Luis Cruz is swinging a hot bat after going 6-for-11 with two homers over the weekend in Atlanta. He left Sunday’s game in the seventh with a leg cramp, but he’s expected to be available for Monday’s opener.
A successful series in Los Angeles would help the Giants to put the Melky Cabrera suspension behind them. Gregor Blanco is expected to get most of the starts in left field with Cabrera out, but Justin Christian started the last two games. Christian has failed to produce, however, with one hit in his last 28 at-bats. The Dodgers’ lineup doesn’t have many holes after the additions of Shane Victorino and Hanley Ramirez, but first base remains a problem. Juan Rivera is batting .239 with one hit in his past 13 at-bats, and James Loney is hitting .255 with four home runs. The Dodgers are hoping Loney's two homers last week are a sign of things to come.
TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, ESPN2, CSNBA (San Francisco), PRIME (Los Angeles), ESPN3.com
PITCHING MATCHUP: Giants LH Madison Bumgarner (13-7, 2.97 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Clayton Kershaw (11-6, 2.90)
Bumgarner threw his first complete game of the season Tuesday against the Nationals, allowing one run on five hits. It was the seventh consecutive quality outing for the lefty, who is 3-2 with a 2.25 ERA during that stretch. He’s 5-6 with a 4.06 ERA in his 13 road starts this season, and he’s 4-2 with a 3.62 ERA in seven career starts against Los Angeles.
Kershaw is 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA in his last four turns, including Wednesday against the Pirates when he gave up three runs with no walks over eight innings. The lefty is 1-2 with a 1.57 ERA in three starts against the Giants this season and is 7-3 with a 1.32 ERA in 15 career games (14 starts) against San Francisco.
*Dodgers are 5-0 in their last five games vs. a left-handed starter.
*Giants are 0-4 in Bumgarner’s last four starts as an underdog.
*Over is 6-0 in Giants’ last six games vs. a left-handed starter.
*Under is 6-0 in Kershaw’s last six starts vs. Giants.
1. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly will return Monday after serving a two-game suspension for excessive arguing Thursday in Pittsburgh.
2. Giants C Buster Posey has hit safely in 28 of his last 33 games, batting .424 (50-for-118) with nine home runs, 34 RBIs and 21 walks.
3. The Dodgers optioned INF-OF Elian Herrera to Triple-A Albuquerque and activated LHP Scott Elbert from the 15-day disabled list.