One of the best and oldest rivalries in all of baseball will renew on Monday night in Los Angeles. The Dodgers will host the San Francisco Giants in game one of a very important three game series for both teams. The two teams have split the first six games between one another so far this season.
Both teams have their eye on a National League West Championship, but the Giants still have plenty of work to do. They remain six games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks, but have the Rockies and Dodgers in front of them as well. The Dodgers fell to one game behind the Diamondbacks after a rough weekend series against the Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers are -196 in this game.
Giants Struggling to Score Runs
Scoring runs has been a major problem for the Giants this season. San Francisco ranks 23rd in all of baseball in total runs scored, and have struggled to hit home runs in 2018. Brandon Belt leads the Giants in home runs, but has hit just 14 of them this season. Andrew McCutchen has driven in 48 runs to lead the Giants, but they need to find more consistent offense if they are going to make a run at the playoffs.
Another issue for the Giants has been injuries, but Madison Bumgarner is finally healthy and pitching well. Bumgarner gave up just five hits and no runs in his last outing against the Houston Astros. The Dodgers were able to beat the lefty on June 16, scoring 3 runs off of Bumgarner in his 6 innings pitched. The Giants hope that Bumgarner can reverse his luck and get a win in this one.
Dodgers Trying To Take Off
The Dodgers made a ton of moves in late July in an attempt to take control of the National League West. Los Angeles added both Manny Machado and Brian Dozier to give them one of the top offenses in baseball. Both players have been productive for the Dodgers, but they haven’t been able to pull away from the pack in the division.
Los Angeles will send their ace, Clayton Kershaw to the mound in the series opener. Kershaw missed a bunch of time early in the season, but has been pitching great of late. Kershaw has given up just 29 earned runs in 101 1./3 innings pitched this season. He will face a Giants team who is familiar with him, but who struggles to score runs.
Kershaw Delivers Victory
On paper, this looks to be a very low scoring game, but the Dodgers are capable of breaking out at any time. Los Angeles needs to score early runs to support Kershaw, and then let him finish it off. The Dodgers are looking to snap a three game losing streak in this game.
The Giants have a veteran roster and they need those veterans to lead them through August and September. San Francisco needs to find their power to start scoring runs more consistently if they are going to reach the playoffs. Unfortunately, that won’t happen on Monday night against Clayton Kershaw. The pick is the Dodgers -196 in this game.