Dodgers-Giants Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 06, 2012
Despite having led the NL West three weeks ago and recently adding some big names, the Los Angeles Dodgers won't be able to escape second place this weekend. The San Francisco Giants have overcome losing a marquee player to jump well past them. This pivotal three-game set in the Bay Area starts Friday night with one of the Dodgers' star acquisitions getting his first taste of this rivalry, as Josh Beckett goes up against Tim Lincecum in a matchup of former aces having mediocre seasons. "It is a big series," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "This is September baseball. You're watching the scoreboard and it's going to be intense. This is why you play the game." San Francisco (77-60) has a 4 1/2-game division lead over second-place Los Angeles. The Dodgers (73-65) were alone atop the West as recently as Aug. 19 but have since lost 10 of 16, including a 5-7 record following the blockbuster trade with Boston for Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. While Crawford is out for the year and Gonzalez is plenty familiar with the Giants from his time with San Diego, Beckett (1-1, 2.92 ERA) hasn't pitched against them since 2005 as a member of the Marlins. As Lincecum (8-14, 5.21) has matched his career high for losses, Beckett has surpassed his due to a 5-11 record and 5.23 ERA with Boston. He's been solid in two starts with the Dodgers and won the last one, striking out nine in 6 2-3 innings of a 2-1 victory over Arizona on Saturday. "We got to figure out some way to win some series. We got some tough ones coming up against the Giants," Beckett said. "I kind of need to read up on where everybody is at." The Giants player he's faced the most is Melky Cabrera, the All-Star outfielder who won't return any sooner than the playoffs due to his 50-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs. One of the left field fill-ins for Cabrera has been Xavier Nady, but his status is uncertain after straining a hamstring Wednesday. Nady is 4 for 12 with two doubles and three RBIs in five games since having his contract purchased from the minors Saturday. "This is a big blow for us because he was swinging the bat well," Bochy said. "We'll have to get creative out there." San Francisco is 13-7 since losing Cabrera, sweeping three games at Los Angeles from Aug. 20-22 when the teams last met. Lincecum won the second game as he went 5 2-3 innings in a 4-1 victory, an example of how he's pitched better since the All-Star break but not like a two-time Cy Young Award winner. He's 5-4 in 10 starts with a 3.26 ERA - about half what it was before the break - though he's averaged less than six innings and five strikeouts over the past six. "That's not the same guy we saw winning Cy Youngs," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Saturday after Lincecum beat his team with 6 1-3 strong innings in a 5-2 win. "The command, the velocity with the fastball, that's completely different than it was a few years ago." Lincecum, though, has a 2.08 ERA over his past eight starts against the Dodgers. Gonzalez and Matt Kemp have hit a combined .218 (17 for 78) with no homers against him. Gonzalez has not gone deep in 11 games since homering in his Dodgers debut Aug. 25, but he's 7 for 17 with four RBIs over the last four games. Kemp is in a 3-for-25 slump and has one homer in his last 24 games. Los Angeles pulled off a three-game sweep July 27-29 when it last visited San Francisco, which has lost 14 of 21 at home. "We've got to turn the page because we've got a big series coming up," Kemp said. "And every series is a must-win, so we've got to go out there and play every game like it's our last one."
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Red Sox nearly had serious catcher emergency in loss to Tigers

Ohio State DL Dylan Thompson ineligible for season

Roger Federer will miss Olympics, U.S. Open with knee injury

Report: Seahawks extend Pete Carroll through 2019

LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye releases first statement following car crash


Report: Brock Osweiler could have made more money staying with Broncos

Andrew Luck: Feels `as good as I've ever felt` for training camp

Amar'e Stoudemire announces retirement after signing one-day contract with Knicks

Report: Gregory failed multiple drug tests since suspension

Olympian Abby Johnston: Worst thing about Olympic village is no Pokemon

Reggie Bush reportedly closing in on contract with Bills

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

Report: Paul Pierce to return to Clippers

Jimbo Fisher: You come to FSU to win national championships

Andre Johnson worked out for Tennessee Titans

Shattenkirk for Krejci trade rumor still floating around

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman denies link to C.T.E.

Michael Vick: Cam Newton can’t beat me in 40-yard dash

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

Odell Beckham Jr. says Giants will play in Super Bowl LI

Iowa researchers say they can optimize Monday Night Football ratings with scheduling

Terrelle Pryor can visit Ohio State as five-year ban comes to a close

Rudy Gay admits to having ‘no idea’ about what the Kings are doing

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker