The National League West serves up another heavyweight fight this weekend for all sportsbooks. Already this season, the division has given baseball fans a pair of weekend tilts between the two teams expected to dominate the division—the World Champion Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. There have also been battles between the Padres and the surprising division leader, the San Francisco Giants.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants
Friday,21 May 2021 – 9:45 PM ET at Oracle Park
This weekend, one of the sport’s oldest and fiercest rivalries heats back up when the Giants face the Dodgers for three in San Francisco’s Oracle Park. With the baseball world watching, the two teams could not be more ready for the spotlight.
The Dodgers have won four straight and eight of nine, moving to within two games of the division lead. The Giants have won five straight and eight of 10 to post the best record in MLB to this point.
First place within reach
The Dodgers capped off an 8-1 homestand with a four-game sweep of the Diamondbacks. Los Angeles is 16-6 at Dodger Stadium this year but now heads north to San Francisco. The Dodgers have been a different team on the road, going 10-12.
With a lineup ravaged by injuries, the Dodgers have gotten a boost from their pitching. Los Angeles gave up a total of nine runs in the four games against the D-Backs and 20 on the nine-game homestand.
Closer Kenley Jansen, who has been shaky in recent years, has returned to his old form to help bolster the bullpen. His velocity is back up and his pitches are moving. He’s converted nine of 11 save opportunities this year. Future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols picked up after his release by the Angels, has also paid immediate dividends, hitting his first Dodger home run earlier this week.
If there was any question how big this first meeting of the year with the Giants is, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts helped underscore its importance by pushing reigning Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer’s start back a day, so he could open the series in San Francisco.
Bauer is 4-2, 2.20 this year and has allowed 0.75 runners an inning. On the road, he has 49 strikeouts in 39.1 innings. Bauer is coming off of seven scoreless innings against the Marlins, where he allowed two hits and fanned 10.
Giants rolling into the showdown
The Giants wrapped up a 6-2 road trip with a dominant four-game sweep of the Reds. San Francisco outscored Cincinnati 33-9, capped by a 19-4 beatdown on Thursday. They moved 12 games over .500, the first time any MLB team has hit that mark this year.
In addition to baseball’s best record, San Francisco leads MLB in home runs as well as ERA by starting pitchers.
As hot as the Giants have been, they’ve needed every one of their wins to hold on to the top spot in the West. In addition to the Dodgers’ hot streak, the second place Padres have won six in a row. Still, despite competing with two of the most talent-packed rosters in MLB, the Giants havespent the last 22 days alone in first.
San Francisco will turn to Alex Wood to help stay there. Wood is 5-0, 1.75 this year and had strong outings against the Rangers and Pirates the last two times out, allowing two runs in 13 innings while striking out 13. A Dodger for five years, he’ll be facing his old teammates.
It’s not often that the team with the best record in baseball is an underdog, especially when they’re starting an undefeated pitcher who has been their ace this season. It will be a tough task to knock off the suddenly red hot world champs and beat last year’s Cy Young, but the home dog Giants offer too much value to pass up for MLB odds.