The Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants are expected to lead the NL West this year as both teams look to make it to the postseason. Despite the Dodgers having the best odds in baseball to win the World Series at 8/1, the San Francisco Giants, who sit at 20/1, proved that they are not going to be a pushover during the 2014 season. These two teams opened up a weekend series on Friday night and the Giants earned the 8-4 victory, solidifying their spot atop the NL West and putting the Dodgers half-a-game back.
Hyun-Jin Ryu stared the game for the Dodgers. This was Ryu’s second start on the season and things looked shaky from the jump for the South Korean sensation. In just two innings of work, Ryu gave up all 8 of the Giants runs and was pulled before the third inning started. Ryu had a much stronger effort in his first game of the season, when he pitched five innings and only gave up two hits to the Diamondbacks in Australia. In Friday’s effort, he gave up four hits in a row, which sparked the largest opening inning the Giants have had since 2008. This two-inning effort was the shortest of Ryu’s career in MLB and he’ll need to turn things around before he gets his next start.
Despite the 8 runs in the opening two innings, the effort wasn’t entirely as impressive for the Giants as it was disappointing from the outfield of the Dodgers. After Ryu walked Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey singled to put two runners on base. When Michael Morse stepped to the plate and hit a routine pop fly, Matt Kemp misplayed the ball. This allowed both runners to score and Morse to get to second, which he then was hit in after Brandon Belt singled into the outfield. Ryan Vogelsong, and Angel Pagan also got RBIs in the first, while Brandon Hicks and Joaquin Arias followed it up with two runs batted in during the second.
The Dodgers were able to get some productivity in the fourth and fifth innings. Adrian Gonzalez hit a homerun and Andre Ethier followed it up with a slam of his own to start things off. In the fifth, Matt Kemp would hit a double that scored Carl Crawford and Either got another RBI when he singled into center. Outside of that, neither team had much firepower after the fifth inning.
While the loss to a divisional team is certainly a concern for the Dodgers, the detrimental actions of Yasiel Puig still remain an issue for the hopes of the team. Puig, who had a breakout year last year and has been in the limelight due to plenty or behavioral issues since, was late to the game and benched by Don Mattingly. Puig is a crucial cornerstone for this team and he’ll need to get things going in a positive manner if the Dodgers look to make the most of the highest paid roster in baseball.
These two teams will meet twice more this weekend, while the Dodgers try to get revenge for their opening day loss. On Saturday, the Dodgers will start Paul Maholm and the Giants will go with Madison Bumgarner. Despite the loss on Friday, the Dodgers are slightly favored for their Saturday match-up.