SAN FRANCISCO — Two teams off to slow starts will look to rebound at the other’s expense when the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants open a four-game series Monday night at AT&T Park.
Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu and Giants righty Matt Cain draw the starting assignment in Game 1 for teams that have combined to make seven playoff appearances in the past five seasons.
If the 2017 playoffs started Monday, neither club would be involved.
The Dodgers (9-10) have lost five of their past seven games to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.
Los Angeles was able to salvage one win in a three-game series with the Diamondbacks on Sunday, riding a six-run fifth inning to a 6-2 win.
The victory came at an expense, however. Outfielder Joc Pederson had to leave the game due to a tight right groin. His status for the San Francisco series had yet to be determined.
The Dodgers was blown out 13-5 and 11-5 in the first two games of the series.
The Giants (6-13), meanwhile, are in far worse shape. They not only took three consecutive defeats in Colorado, but they also lost star pitcher Madison Bumgarner to rib and shoulder injuries when he had a dirt-bike accident on the club’s off day in Denver on Thursday.
Bumgarner will be replaced in the rotation by left-hander Ty Blach on Tuesday for the second game of the series.
The Giants took a figurative bruising in 6-5, 12-3 and 8-0 thumpings by the Rockies in the series.
“What you have to be careful of is to let any complacency set in and say, ‘It’s early, we’ll be OK.’ I don’t want to hear that,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after the Sunday loss. “We’ve got to come out with a sense of urgency.
“All these games are important. Every day you come here and plan on coming out of it. I felt that way (Sunday). It didn’t go our way. I’ll feel that way (Monday).”
As the Giants have staggered to a start that equals the worst in franchise history, Cain (1-0, 3.31 ERA) arguably has been their best starter.
He won his last home start 6-2 over the Diamondbacks, allowing one run and five hits in six 6 2/3 innings. Then he pitched even better in a no-decision at Kansas City, giving up just one run and four hits in seven innings of an eventual 2-1 victory.
Ryu, meanwhile, hasn’t displayed that type of form yet, but it probably didn’t matter in his first three starts. The Dodgers supported the left-hander with just a total of four runs in 2-1, 4-0 and 4-3 losses.
The good news is that Ryu (0-3, 5.87 ERA) has been healthy after missing most of the last two seasons with a torn labrum and elbow surgery.
“He’s still coming back,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “To expect him to be locked in right now might be a little unfair.”
In nine career starts against the Giants, Ryu is 4-4 with a 4.07 ERA. Cain owns a 5-11 record despite a 3.53 ERA in 32 career games (31 starts) vs. the Dodgers.