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Dodgers, Giants square off

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L.A. Dodgers (58-47) at San Francisco Giants (57-47)

First pitch: Sunday, 8:00 p.m. ET Line and Total: Dodgers -120, Giants +100, Total 7 (Over -115)

The Dodgers and Giants continue their battle for the National League West on Sunday night.

Los Angeles will be looking to sweep San Francisco after earning an 8-1 win on Friday and a 5-0 shutout performance by Clayton Kershaw last night.

Los Angeles is in the midst of a nine-game road trip in which it is playing three teams with winnings records. Over the first two series, the club was a poor 2-4, as they dropped to 1.5 games behind the Giants in the division. In the Dodgers' most recent set against the Pirates, they won the first contest, but were dominated over the final two games, as they were outscored 18-8. 1B Adrian Gonzalez has not been the problem during this recent poor stretch though, going 8-for-22 (.364) with two doubles, a home run and 5 RBI. San Francisco has not wanted to relinquish its hold on first place in the division and has been victorious in five of seven games coming into this series. Heading into tonight, the Dodgers hold a 1/2-game lead on the division.

The Giants nearly finished up a four-game sweep in Philadelphia earlier this week, but were unable to get any offense going on Thursday night as they lost 2-1 while going just 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position. C Buster Posey (.284 BA) has been on fire since the All-Star Game, going 11-for-28 (.393) with three doubles, a home run and 7 RBI. The pitching matchup for this contest will pit LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (11-5, 3.39 ERA) of the Dodgers against Giants RHP Yusmeiro Petit (3-3, 4.24).

Including the last two days, the Giants hold a solid 28-21 edge over the Dodgers in this matchup over the past three seasons, going 13-10 in home games and 7-5 this year. Hyun-Jin Ryu has been a tremendous addition to the Dodgers staff since entering the majors last season and has compiled a 25-13 record with a 3.14 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in his first 49 starts. While his ERA has improved this year by nearly a half a run, some of his other numbers have declined, as he has walked 2.3 batters this year compared to just 1.8 last season. He has also had a lot of trouble against lefties on the year, allowing them to hit .280 against him over 111 batters faced.

With that said, Ryu has been an extremely reliable starter and has pitched at least six innings while allowing three or fewer runs in 15 of his 19 starts. If you take away his start earlier in the month against the Tigers (2.1 IP, 10 H, 7 ER), Ryu is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA and a 23:1 K/BB ratio in his three other July outings.

He’s already faced the Giants seven times in his young MLB career, putting together a 3-3 record with a 3.24 ERA (1.44 WHIP) and has struck out just 5.0 batters per nine innings with one home run allowed in 41.2 frames. OF Hunter Pence (8-for-18, 2 doubles, 5 RBI) and 2B Marco Scutaro (5-for-12) have had no issues seeing the ball out of Ryu’s hand while SS Brandon Crawford is hitless with two strikeouts in 10 at-bats against the lefty.

Coming into this series, the Dodgers’ bullpen has gone 8-17 with a 3.80 ERA and 1.34 WHIP while successfully saving 32-of-38 (84%) games. Kenley Jansen (3.32 ERA, 29 saves) has been absolutely amazing in his past 11 games, allowing a meager five hits with no runs while striking out 14 batters in 11 inning. For the season, the closer has struck out 13.9 batters per nine innings.

Yusmerio Petit was expected to start for San Franciso but the club has now named newcomer Jake Peavy (1-9, 4.72 ERA) the starter. The Giants picked up Peavy from the Red Sox on Saturday after a rough 20 starts in the American League. Run support was a major issue for the right-hander, who was backed by two or fewer in each of his last eight outings, compiling an 0-6 record with a 4.71 ERA.

That problem may not change with the Giants, who are batting .158 while scoring two runs during their current three-game losing streak.

Peavy can go a long way to changing that since he's 14-2 with a 2.21 ERA in 25 career starts against them. He tossed a three-hitter in an 8-1 road win for Boston on Aug. 25.

Entering Friday, the Giants’ relievers had combined to go 20-9 with a solid 2.72 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, while converting 32-of-45 (71%) save opportunities. Closer Santiago Casilla (1.16 ERA, 7 saves) has already blown three saves this year while getting lucky with batters hitting .208 BABIP.

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