October has come early to Oracle Park, where the San Francisco Giants will look to complete a three-game sweep of the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.
The first two games of the series between the rivals have had a playoff atmosphere with fans of both teams filling the ballpark. San Francisco won 7-2 on Friday before holding on for a 3-2 victory on Saturday.
The Dodgers lost on Saturday despite outhitting the Giants 13-5. Los Angeles went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 14 men on base.
San Francisco second baseman Thairo Estrada homered in Saturday’s win and is 4-for-12 with three RBIs during his four-game hitting streak.
The Giants have also received a spark from catcher Austin Wynns, who is 4-for-6 since being acquired in a trade from the Philadelphia Phillies.
Wynns, who was the designated hitter on Saturday, may continue to see regular playing time alongside catcher Curt Casali, who is battling a hamstring injury. Giants manager Gabe Kapler said the team is hoping Casali can avoid the injured list.
Los Angeles has lost eight of its last 12 games and could use a lengthy outing from left-hander Julio Urias (3-5, 2.78 ERA) on Sunday. He allowed one run on three hits over 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the New York Mets on June 5, a game the Dodgers lost 5-4 in 10 innings.
While Urias owns an impressive 46-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio, he has not pitched more than six innings in any of his first 11 starts.
Roberts is looking for Urias to become more efficient, especially in the early innings.
“That’s our hope, that he is a guy that starts a playoff game and can go deep and feel good about managing a lineup a third time through,” Roberts said.
Urias, 25, is 3-3 with a 2.41 ERA in 21 career games (15 starts) against the Giants. Austin Slater is 8-for-20 with a home run against Urias, who has limited Darin Ruf to four hits in 19 at-bats.
San Francisco will turn to veteran left-hander Carlos Rodon (4-4, 3.51) on Sunday. After going 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA in his first four starts, Rodon has lost his last three decisions.
The Miami native received a no-decision after allowing two runs over four innings and throwing 98 pitches against the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday.
Rodon, 29, has completed six innings just once in his last five outings.
“It’s really nothing that Carlos is doing,” Kapler said. “Oftentimes it’s the opposing hitters are just finding a way to get a bat on the ball and extend the at-bat. He’s ultimately recording plenty of outs. That’s not the issue. It’s just he’s not able to put guys away right now.”
Mookie Betts has one hit in 14 at-bats against Rodon, who is 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA in three career starts vs. Los Angeles.
The Dodgers will be without starting pitcher Walker Buehler for a significant period after the two-time All-Star was placed on the injured list Saturday because of a right forearm strain.
Buehler exited Friday’s start after four innings due to the injury and will not pick up a baseball for six-to-eight weeks. Roberts said the team is not ruling out a return later this season.
–Field Level Media