The Los Angeles Dodgers begin the final series of the season Friday night by visiting the San Francisco Giants. In need of wins in their final three games, the Dodgers are -180 favorites to win Friday’s game against their longtime rivals.
The Dodgers enter the final weekend one game behind the Rockies in the NL West. Los Angeles actually swept the Rockies in a three-game series last week. However, the Rockies have rattled off seven straight wins to take back the division lead. That means the Dodgers need to win and get a little help to win the division. However, the Dodgers hold a one-game lead over the Cardinals for the second wild-card spot, so they have multiple paths to the postseason.
The Giants, meanwhile, have nothing to play for and are stumbling toward the finish line. San Francisco has lost six of their last seven heading into the final series of the season. Of course, perhaps the Giants will be inspired by the chance to play spoiler for the Dodgers, especially at home.
Wanting a Win
Madison Bumgarner will take the mound for the Giants on Friday, and he will surely be looking to get a win in his final start of the season. The lefty has had an odd season, going 6-6 with a 3.20 in 20 starts after missing the first portion of the season. He would no doubt love to win his final start to get his record for the season above .500. However, Bumgarner has just one win in his last five starts while posting a 5.48 ERA over his four starts in September.
Bumgarner has also failed to win either of his starts against the Dodgers this season. He hasn’t been terrible in those starts, but far from his normal dominant self. He also has a history of trouble against Los Angeles hitters like Justin Turner, Enrique Hernandez, and David Freese. The key for Bumgarner will be neutralizing left-handed hitters like Cody Bellinger, Yasmani Grandal, and Max Muncy who are coming on strong down the stretch.
The New Ace
The Dodgers will have Hyun-Jin Ryu on the mound Friday night. Since coming off the DL in August, Ryu has arguably been the team’s best starting pitcher. On the season, Ryu has a 2.00 ERA over 14 starts, but in his eight starts since August, he has a 1.93 ERA. He’s also thrown 13 shutout innings over his last two starts, so he’s been at his best late in the season and looks like he could be a huge asset for the Dodgers in the postseason if he can make it.
As you can imagine from their recent losing stretch, the San Francisco lineup has gone cold over the last week. The lone exception has been Hunter Pence, who also owns a .419 average and .938 OPS in his career against Ryu. However, he’s the only hitter for the Giants who’s done serious damage against Ryu in the past. If the Korean lefty can keep Pence from beating him, he should be in good shape.
Barring a sudden turnaround from the Giants, it’d be shocking to see the Dodgers not win this game. It won’t be easy to go against Bumgarner, but the Dodgers have enough capable hitters in their lineup to get to him eventually. The Giants, meanwhile, may not be able to do much against Ryu. With Los Angeles desperate for a win, bet on the Dodgers -180 to beat the Giants on Friday.