Giants to play a 163rd game; opponent TBD
SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Giants are assured of a 163rd game this season.
Sunday, they'll try to make sure that contest occurs in New York, not St. Louis.
The Giants can claim the second wild-card spot in the National League and a one-game showdown with the New York Mets in the Big Apple on Wednesday with either a win Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers or a St. Louis Cardinals loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Cardinals can still force a one-game wild-card tiebreaker against the Giants on Monday in St. Louis with a win Sunday and a San Francisco loss.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy was fully aware of the ramifications of Saturday's 3-0 victory over Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers within minutes of the final pitch.
“No matter what, we're traveling,” Bochy said of the next game after Sunday. “There's still more to do.”
The Giants send left-hander Matt Moore to the mound Sunday to face Dodgers righty Kenta Maeda.
Moore came within one out of no-hitting the Dodgers on Aug. 25 in a 4-0 victory. He also pitched a 3-1 victory over Los Angeles for the Tampa Bay Rays earlier this season, allowing just an unearned run in 6 2/3 innings.
The Giants acquired Moore from the Rays at the trade deadline.
But Moore also had a pair of less-than-stellar efforts against the Dodgers this season, suffering 10-5 (for the Rays) and 9-3 (for the Giants) losses during which he was bombed for 13 runs on 15 hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Maeda has been much more consistent. In fact, he's allowed three runs or fewer in 12 consecutive starts, and has a decision to show for each of his last 10 outings. He's 7-3 over that stretch.
And there's been nothing inconsistent about his results against the Giants this season. He's gone 3-0, compiling a 2.65 ERA over 17 innings.
The Dodgers will get one final tune-up against a left-hander before the playoffs. They went only 3-for-26 against Giants rookie lefty Ty Blach in Saturday's loss, dropping their season average against southpaws to .215, — by far the worse mark in all of baseball.
“Today wasn't a good day for the quality of at-bats,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of his team's on-going issues with lefties. “We're going to see a lefty in the next series. We have to be better.”
That next series will be the NL Division Series against the Washington Nationals starting Friday.
Saturday's loss locked the Dodgers, champions of the NL West, into the No. 3 seed in the NL playoffs. The second-seeded Nationals, winners of the NL East, have the home-field advantage in the best-of-five series.
Maeda is slated to be the Dodgers third starter in the series, after Kershaw and left-hander Rich Hill.
The Giants and Dodgers also will use the regular-season finale Sunday as a final audition for postseason roster spots. Each club will have to trim back significantly to reach the 25-man limit for the playoffs.