The Giants throttled the Reds in getaway day action Thursday afternoon, 19-4. That meant they closed down their road trip with a five-game winning streak and completed a four-game sweep of the Reds in Great American Ball Park, where the Reds were 10-7 heading into the series.
It was yet another impressive showing from the Giants in what has been a wholly impressive 2021 season to this point. They head home with the best record in baseball at 28-16 (.636 win percentage). A weekend date with the rival Dodgers looms.
The Dodgers, of course, started the season 13-2 after winning the World Series last season. They then lost 14 of their next 18 games. They sit in third place of the NL West, but are within striking distance this weekend, trailing only two games heading in.
The Giants are at home and that could well matter. They are an excellent 14-4 at home while the Dodgers are just 10-12 on the road so far this season.
Here are the scheduled pitching matchups, subject to change:
Speaking of starting pitcher, the Dodgers entered the season with a rotation that many people believed was the best in baseball. Not only was the starpower of Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer and Walker Buehler eye-grabbing, but there was so much depth that David Price was pushed to the bullpen. It has been one of the best rotations in baseball, too.
It is the Giants, however, with the best rotation ERA in all of baseball at 2.56. These last few years, the Giants have shown a very impressive ability to grab pitchers on the cheap and turn them into their best selves. This version features Kevin Gausman pitching like an ace while Wood and DeSclafani look like All-Stars. Johnny Cueto has his swagger going at age 35.
The Giants can slug, too, sitting second in baseball with 62 home runs on the season. Brandon Crawford might be having his career year at the plate in terms of power. He has 11 homers. Only once in his career previously has he topped 14 (21 in 2015). A resurgent Buster Posey is slashing .374/.451/.657 with eight homers in 28 games. He only hit seven homers in 2019 and five in 2018.
The bullpen has settled around stellar sidewinder Tyler Rogers.
The Giants have the pieces to continue to be a strong team as the season approaches June. The Dodgers still, on paper, appear to be the superior team in terms of raw talent, but that doesn’t always win out. That’s why we play 162 games.
The Giants are a bit banged up with Tommy La Stella and several arms on the injured list while Brandon Belt has been sitting of late with a side injury.
The Dodgers, though, have stars Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger on the injured list along with A.J. Pollock, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and a good chunk of the bullpen.
These rivals will play 19 times this season and Friday marks the first one of those 19. Do not ignore the Padres, who are just one game back of the Giants and are ahead of the Dodgers. The division looks like a strong three-team race. It is worth noting, though, that the Dodgers have won this division seven straight times, the last division champ before them was the 2012 Giants and the Giants haven’t led the division this late in the season since 2016, when they had the best record in baseball at the All-Star break.
This all lines up for a very exciting series.
Simply, all eyes from die-hard baseball fans should be on the Bay this coming weekend.