Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants Battle in Huge Series

6/25/12 in MLB   |   AJ_88   |   166 respect

The Los Angeles Dodgers (43-30) have lost their stranglehold on the NL West and now lead the San Francisco Giants (40-33) by only three games entering their rivalry series Monday night. The Dodgers have lost five of their last six games while the Giants took two of three from their cross-bridge rival Oakland A's, but not before closer Santiago Cassila surrendered a walk-off three-run home run with two outs in the 9th yesterday, sending the Giants back to AT&T Park with a bad taste in their mouth. The Dodgers lost two of three to the LA Angels after being swept by the Oakland A's.

June 14, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito (75) pitches the ball against the Houston Astros during the first inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRETonight a struggling Barry Zito will take the mound for the Giants and the fans there have become all too familiar with a 'struggling' Barry. After a very nice start to the season, Zito has regressed in his last three starts and he could be just what the Dodgers need to get going. In his last three combined starts, he has pitched 14 1/3 innings while allowing 23 hits and 17 earned runs. The Giants will need a vintage performance from Zito if they are to continue to close the gap between them and the Dodgers in the division race. 

The Dodgers will oppose Zito with Nate Eovaldi, who in five starts on the season, has given up only eight earned runs through 30 2/3 innings pitched. He has pitched quite well as a plug-in starter, however he has nothing to show for it as he boasts an 0-3 record. His ERA tells another story at 2.35, however, the Dodgers have an 0-5 record in games started by Eovaldi. 

The Giants offense has enjoyed a recent surge as well. Brandon Belt had his 11-game hit streak snapped Sunday, but that stretch saw him hit .441 with four homeruns and 12 RBI. Buster Posey has homered in each of his last two games and he leads the Giants with 10 home runs and 40 RBI on the season. 

June 24, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA;     Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier (16) doubles in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIREAndre Ethier broke out of his hitting funk that saw him hit .111 through in the month of June as he went 6-11 in the series with the Angels, which can only help the Dodgers try to claw out of their worst stretch of the season thus far. Without Matt Kemp in the lineup, LA needs a rejuvenated Ethier in order to have a chance at keeping the Giants at bay in the divisional race. 

Either way, this series will be one that both teams may look back on as an integral piece of the process toward a divisional championship. Anytime these teams meet, it's a big deal. 
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6/25/12   |   ML31   |   3615 respect

I'm admittedly biased but this is the best rivalry in all the Majors...    Go Giants!