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Dodgers, Giants Start Critical Series that Could Decide NL West

As the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline creeps ever closer, the Los Angeles Dodgers return home for their first home stand of the second half. After taking two of three from the Rockies in Colorado, the Dodgers now face a four-game set with the NL West leading San Francisco Giants.

As it always seems to happen with series at Coors Field, the Dodgers are not coming home at full health. Mookie Betts re-aggravated his hip that has been bothering him all season. He missed Sunday’s matinee game, but is expected to be back in the lineup Monday night.

Gavin Lux pulled his left hamstring running out of the batters box. On Monday, he was placed on the 10-day injured list.

The Giants lost two of three to the St. Louis Cardinals, so the Dodgers are now one game back in the NL West. It goes without saying that head-to-head games against the Giants are the best way for the Dodgers to climb back into first place.

The Giants took control of the NL West in the beginning of June. While the Dodgers have gotten close at times, they have yet been able to get themselves over that hump.

Looking at the remaining games for all three teams in contention for the NL West, including the San Diego Padres, the Dodgers seem to have the advantage. The Padres have 66 games left this season, but only 29 of those are at home. The Giants have the most games left with 70, 34 of which are against the rest of the NL West, and 48 of which are against teams currently with winning records. They finish the season at home against the Padres.

The Dodgers have 68 games left, 33 against division rivals, and 38 against teams with current winning records. Los Angeles finishes up the season at home against the NL Central leading Milwaukee Brewers.

The Dodgers and the Giants play each other nine more times this season, so there is limited head-to-head time to make up and gain a lead, if they can surpass the Giants. Before the start of the series, the Giants are 58-34 and the Dodgers are 58-36.

The Giants have been lucky on the injury front, so far. Buster Posey recently spent time on the IL, but mostly they’ve been spared from the injury bug. Their older players have seen a resurgence and while no one player is burning up the batting average or home run leaderboard, they are making it work. Their pitching has been very good, lead by righty Kevin Gausman who is currently sporting at 1.73 ERA. They are second in team ERA at 3.24, behind the Dodgers who’s team ERA is 3.14.

Monday’s pitching matchup is Tony Gonsolin against Gausman. Gonsolin will try to go as deep into the game as possible, as he works on building up his pitch count. Tuesday will see Old Friend Alex Wood, and Josiah Gray will be activated. Whether he will be the starter, or if the Dodgers will employ an opener, is yet to be determined. Wednesday will be righty Logan Webb and Julio Urías, and Thursday will be Walker Buehler and right-hander Anthony DeSclafani in a battle of 10 win pitchers. All games will start at 7:10pm PST.

In roster movement, Victor Gonzalez was reinstated from the IL. In the corresponding move, Jake Reed was optioned back to Triple -A Oklahoma City. Zach Reks was added to the active roster in the corresponding move to Lux’s going on the IL.

In jury news, Corey Knebel threw live batting practice and came out of it feeling well. Corey Seager faced Knebel and could return to the active roster on Wednesday if he is feeling well after his batting practice.

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