Dodgers, Giants meet for second time in a week
SAN FRANCISCO — Two teams involved in one of the most unusual season-opening series in Major League Baseball history head 400 miles north for a rematch when the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants begin a three-game set Friday night.
Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda (1-0) and Giants left-hander Derek Holland (0-1), who went head-to-head in the third of the four games in Los Angeles, square off again when the rivals meet for what will be the fifth of 10 times before May 1.
All four games in Los Angeles ended in shutouts, including the 5-0 Dodgers win last Saturday in which Maeda outpitched Holland.
Maeda blanked the Giants for five innings on five hits, getting strikeouts on 10 of his 15 outs.
He is 4-1 with a 4.55 ERA in six starts against the Giants, but all of his success has come at home. He has gone 0-1 with a 14.29 ERA in two previous starts in San Francisco.
The defending National League champions were shut out for a third time when they lost 3-0 to complete a three-game sweep in Arizona.
The first two shutouts were historic, being that the Dodgers became the first team since the 1943 St. Louis Cardinals to lose consecutive 1-0 games to open a season.
The Dodgers seemed to have rebounded well with 5-0 and 9-0 wins to complete the all-shutout opening series. But after an 8-7, 15-inning loss Monday to the Arizona Diamondbacks, they slumped again, totaling one run in the next two days.
Things are so messed up that Dodgers manager Dave Roberts left Arizona on Wednesday concerned about a pitching staff that has held the opposition to three runs or fewer in five of the team’s first seven games.
That’s because his club had no game three times in a span of eight days, a stretch that began Thursday. Roberts disclosed that he plans to rearrange his starting rotation so that ace Clayton Kershaw can pitch on his usual four days’ rest Sunday, but the possibility of rain Friday and Saturday, coupled with the scheduled off days, could lead to several starters getting pushed back significantly.
“I appreciate the way that there are off days,” he said. “But where they are for us right now, it’s not ideal. I guess it beats (playing) 21 days in a row.”
The Giants would have liked nothing better than to play Thursday after their bats caught fire in a 10-1 romp past Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday.
The 10 runs were four more than the club had totaled in its first five games.
Backups Pablo Sandoval and Gorkys Hernandez homered against the Mariners, giving Giants manager Bruce Bochy more options when facing a Dodgers pitching staff that limited his team to two runs in four games.
Fortunately for the Giants, two of those runs were the only ones scored in 1-0 wins last Thursday and Friday, both courtesy of Joe Panik home runs.
When Panik added a third solo shot in Tuesday’s 6-4 loss to Seattle, he became the first major leaguer ever to account for his team’s first three runs of a season with three homers.
Has another Barry Bonds been unearthed in San Francisco?
“All I can do is laugh at that one,” he said of the prospect of being a home run champion. “Listen, I’m going to stick to who I am. If the opportunity presents itself, I’m going to take my shots here and there.”
Holland allowed five runs, three hits and three walks in Saturday’s loss to the Dodgers. He’s 0-2 with a 6.30 ERA in two career starts against Los Angeles.
The Giants newcomer will be making just his second career start at AT&T Park. The first occurred for the Texas Rangers in 2009, his rookie season.