The Giants and Dodgers have split the first two games of their National League West showdown, thanks to a wild Los Angeles comeback from five runs down on Tuesday night. That puts the two teams back in the same positions they started the week, with the Dodgers looking to pull even with San Francisco with a win on Wednesday.
San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Wednesday, 21 July 2021 – 10:10 PM ET at Dodger Stadium
Once again, the National League West is not letting us down. The latest showdown between contenders in baseball’s best division, who also happen to have the two best records in MLB, is two games old, and nothing has been settled.
Facing the prospect of sharing the top spot in the division for the first time since late May, the Giants defended first place by knocking off the Dodgers 7-2 in the opener of this week’s four-game set in Los Angeles. Buster Posey provide some drama, homering in his first at bat after returning from the injured list for the series.
Tuesday’s game provided even more drama, with the Dodgers falling behind by five, then rallying and winning on a three-run pinch-hit walk-off by Will Smith.
That puts us back where we started the week. The Dodgers are a game back and looking to pull even with the Giants with a win on Wednesday. Los Angeles will be playing its seventh game since July 5 where it opened the day a game out of first or closer. The Dodgers have lost the first six.
The Giants have been carried by their bullpen for much of the year. Constructed from youngsters and spare parts—only one reliever is making more than a million dollars this season—the pen has posted the second-best ERA in the National League this season.
The pen helped the Giants lock down the win in the series’ opening game. Returning from a break for a family emergency, starter Kevin Gausman lasted just three innings, then turned things over to the relievers who shut down the Dodgers, allowing just one hit over the final six.
It didn’t go as well the next night as the pen coughed up a five-run margin, allowing five runs over the final three plus innings, including a blown save by Tyler Rogers, where he gave up three runs without recording an out in the ninth.
The Giants have gone to the pen nine times in the first two games of the series and could likely benefit from an extended outing by Wednesday’s starter—Logan Webb. The righthander is 4-3 on the year with a 3.54 ERA. He spent a month on the injured list, then pitched three innings on July 9 in his return before getting sent to Triple-A. He was recalled on Friday to replace Gausman and lasted four innings in his start.
After getting decimated by injury in the first half of the season, the Dodgers were optimistic that better days were coming. For the most part, that hasn’t happened this week.
Initially, the team hoped to get back Corey Seager, who has been out since mid-May with a hand injury. He’s been playing in simulated games and reports are that he’s looked good. Wednesday was originally floated as his potential return to the lineup, but that optimism has faded in the last two days. His return is close, but likely not for the third game of the series.
Meanwhile, the team has also been playing without Mookie Betts, who missed his third straight start with a hip problem on Tuesday. He reportedly was available to pinch hit and doesn’t appear to be headed for the injured list, but he’s day-to-day for Wednesday’s start.
And Justin Turner has joined the ranks of the injured. He was hit in the knee by a pitch on Tuesday and left the game. He’s been ruled out of Wednesday’s game. Max Muncy also left the game after getting hit, although the team is hopeful he’ll be able to play.
L.A. will start Julio Urias, who is 12-3, 3.78 on the year.
The Dodgers’ lineup is depleted, but Los Angeles has a big edge in starting pitching and is catching San Francisco when the bullpen is depleted. For our MLB picks, look for the Dodgers to finally run down the first-place Giants and turn the series finale into a battle for sole possession of first.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.