06/27/10 10:54 PM ET
Dodgers, Giants look for separation
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
The Dodgers will be making their first visit of the season to San Francisco starting Monday, when a three-game set begins between two teams trying to figure out how in the world to keep those upstart Padres from pulling away in the National League West standings.
Separated by only one-half game in the battle for second place, the Giants and Dodgers both will be glad to leave Interleague Play behind. San Francisco finished with a 7-8 mark and the Dodgers took a 4-10 record into their finale against the Yankees.
More than anything else, the Dodgers are looking forward to the return of right-hander Chad Billingley, and they will get that when he takes on veteran lefty Barry Zito in the series opener.
Billingsley has been on the DL with a groin strain, but has checked out through each of his tests over the last week and will be making his first start since June 11. He is 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA in eight previous appearances at AT&T Park.
Zito, meanwhile, is coming off his shortest start of the season and his first back-to-back losses. Still off to one of the best starts to a season of his career, Zito is 6-5 with a 4.20 ERA in 14 previous outings vs. the Dodgers.
Dodgers: Kemp takes a day
Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp had his second day out of the starting lineup this season Sunday, but he's expected to be back in action in San Francisco. Kemp, batting .196 in June, is fourth in the National League with 86 strikeouts, but he's also third in the league in runs scored with 52. "He's played pretty much every day, he's still young and he's still developing," manager Joe Torre said. "He's unpredictable, let's put it that way. Any time he could jump on and hit a home run because of his tools. There are no rules on how consistent young players are going to be until they get enough time in."
Giants: Buster/Bumgarner to continue
With no off-day this week, the Giants' rotation will stay on its regular days, which means Madison Bumgarner's next opportunity will be in Colorado against the Rockies. That might also mean that Buster Posey will be back behind the plate for that one, since manager Bruce Bochy has suggested he might be pairing up the two rookies. He liked what he saw when the batterymates worked together Saturday in the loss to the Red Sox. "It's tough when Madison was probably a little hyped up and pitching behind; that's tough for a catcher," Bochy said. "But after he settled down, they really were in sync."
The all-time series between the clubs is astonishingly close, with the Dodgers holding a 472-440 edge over the Giants since the teams moved to the West Coast. At AT&T Park, the Dodgers hold a 48-42 all-time edge.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.