Two unbeaten starting pitchers who have had some hard luck against their opponent earlier this season go head-to-head when the Los Angeles Dodgers and host San Francisco Giants begin a three-game series on Tuesday night.
The California rivals are quite familiar with one another, having already met seven times this season — all in L.A. — with the Dodgers taking four of the seven.
This three-game set will complete the season series.
The Giants will open the series with their ace, right-hander Johnny Cueto (2-0, 4.35 ERA), opposing 24-year-old Dodgers lefty Julio Urias (2-0, 2.74 ERA).
Cueto took a no-hitter into the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium earlier this month, only to see left fielder Hunter Pence lose a flyball in the lights. Enrique Hernandez was credited with a triple.
The 34-year-old got the win in a 5-4 victory, and also pitched well enough to win when pulled after five innings in a 1-1 tie on Opening Night. The Dodgers went on to win that one 8-1.
Cueto has started 22 games in his career against the Dodgers, going 8-9 with a 3.62 ERA.
The Giants enter the series playing their best ball of the season, having won six in a row, including a three-game home sweep of Arizona that concluded with a 6-1 win on Sunday.
The series-finale victory came on a day that began with the bad news that Pence, a longtime fan favorite, had been designated for assignment so the club could make room on the active roster for newly acquired infielder Daniel Robertson.
“I’m absolutely overwhelmed,” Pence gushed after getting the news, “with appreciation for the incredible ride and the incredible journey we shared together, the support of this fan base, the fun of this city, the first class of this organization, all the staff, all the great, great teammates throughout the years, and also the counterbalances — the tough years along with the great years and all the lessons in between.
“That’s part of the beauty of it. That’s what makes the good times so good. There are difficulties and challenges as well, and they shape us and shape our soul. There’s great lessons in all of it. It’s just been an absolutely tremendous journey, and I’m so appreciative of every bit of it and so thankful that I got to be a Giant for so long.”
The first-place Dodgers are also rolling, having won four in a row and 11 of 12. Like the Giants, they are coming off a home sweep, having dispatched of Colorado in three straight.
“We’re trying to run away with this division,” Hernandez declared after Sunday’s win. “That’s step No. 1 to the main goal.”
Urias will be making his third start of the season against the Giants, having missed Cueto in the rotation the first two times.
He pitched well in both — one run on five hits in five innings in July, one run on three hits in four innings earlier this month — but came away with nothing to show for them. He was limited to 78 pitches in each.
He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his five starts this year.
Urias has never beaten the Giants despite a 1.48 ERA in 14 games, including eight starts. He’s gone 0-2, with both losses coming in six games (two starts) in San Francisco.
–Field Level Media