That’s Amaury News and Commentary: The best division in baseball plus

Copy of the New York Daily News announcing the New York Mets and New York Yankees in the Subway World Series in 2000 edition could the two cross city rivals meet again in this year’s fall classic? (photo by wikipedia)

The Best Division in Baseball, Plus

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

OAKLAND–For the first time this 2022 season there will be a third wild card team on each league. No division in baseball is better than the American League East, with the New York Yankees walking-away with the best record in baseball and Toronto, Tampa Bay and Boston poised for a tremendous race.

For the first time ever, a division could have three wild card teams going into the postseason and a total of four of the five teams in this division playing in October.

The American League East is the only division in baseball with four teams playing over .500. In the AL West, there is only one team to beat, Dusty Baker’s Houston Astros, they are the best team and will stay in first place.

The LA Angels are sputtering again, after a very nice start, they went into a funk lost 14 in a row, from May 25 to June 8,and Joe Maddon (one of the best managers in baseball) was sent packing.

Next managerial change could come from Seattle, where expectations were high for this team to win this year. Manager Scott Servais and General Manager Jerry DiPoto are in the hot seat. The Texas Rangers spend a fortune (close to half billion dollars) signing Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, they are both starting to play the way everybody expected, but I do not believe they have the pitching to overtake their State rivals Houston Astros.

The Oakland A’s are what they are. All the other teams have more established talent, they are trying to compete with rookie manager Mark Kotsay, a good baseball man, but the best jockey in the world cannot win the race if the horse is limping.

In the Central Division, considered the weakest in all the major leagues, supposed to be an easy one for the Chicago White Sox, but the great Tony LaRussa is not having much fun so far, star closer Liam Hendriks just placed into the IL.

The Minnesota Twins will be in the playoffs, as of today leading that division and the Cleveland Guardians are playing good baseball, leading the way at third-base, José Ramirez an early candidate for MVP. Watch out for the Indians, sorry, the Guardians, they have a good team and a terrific manager in Terry Francona.

There are some 100 games left for each team this season. While in New York they are talking about a Subway Series, Mets vs Yankees. Most recently, in 2000 the New York teams faced each other with the Yankees winning in five games, a memorable series, which I happened to worked for the Latino Baseball Network.

In other cities there is lots of disappointment. In Los Angeles, the Dodgers, whose manager, Dave Roberts predicted a 2022 World Series win during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, when he said “We will win the World Series in 2022. We will win the World Series this year.”

The Dodgers have pitching problems, ace Walker Buehler recently went into the IL, Julio Urias is not going to win 20 games again this season (he was the only to win 20 last season) plus mixed with an inconsistent offense, the Dodgers have stuff to “figure out”, they do have the talent.

The San Diego Padres, at this time, even with the delayed return of superstar Fernando Tatis Jr, looks like the team that could win this division. Bob Melvin is doing a great job, which is nothing new for the three-time Manager of the Year.

The San Francisco Giants, while they are not going to win 107 games again, they find a way to win series, starter Jacob Junis went into the IL, veterans like Evan Longoria and Brandon Belt, can’t seem to stay healthy.

Giants lost some pieces in the off-season, perhaps the biggest one, starter Kevin Gausman who had his best year ever in 2021 with a 14-6 record, and 2.81 ERA, he left for a very lucrative contract in Toronto. Nobody expected the Giants to have a similar season as 2021, which was a dream season, when every player at the same time, had great years.

Trades: The new deadline this year is set for August 2. There will be many trades, some earlier than others, but the greatest commodities are starting pitchers. they are in high demand. Many of the teams with hopes of postseason play will reinforce themselves. In today’s game the old saying “you never have enough pitching” is new again.

Happy Fathers Day weekend.

Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez for all the play by play of Oakland A’s baseball on the A’s Spanish radio network and on flagship station Le Grande 1010 KIQI San Francisco and News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Headline Sports podcast with Tony Renteria: Warriors Thompson wants to win it badly; Giants surprise with weekend sweep of LA; plus more

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) says he wants to win the NBA Finals badly after being laid off the last two NBA seasons with injuries (file photo by USA Today)

On Headline Sports podcast with Tony Renteria:

#1 Tony, I know you have a lot to say about the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors in game 5 of the NBA Finals last night at Chase Center in San Francisco. Warriors series tied up at 2-2 the Warriors Andrew Wiggins who at one time contemplated taking a Covid 19 vaccine shot or stay off the team that was nine months ago Wiggins thought the better of it and where he is now? He led the Warriors with 26 points last night to go up 3-2 in the series.

#2 Game six is in Boston is on Thursday night the Warriors Klay Thompson was quoted as saying “I want to frigging win” remarking on his long three year wait after sitting out two straight seasons with an ACL and Achilles injuries.

#3 Tony have to ask you about the recent sweep of the San Francisco Giants over the Los Angeles Dodgers there are a lot of people in baseball who are shocked about three straight over a Dodger team like this.

#4 The Oakland A’s will try and pick up a win in Boston tonight. They won only one game on the current road trip which started in getting swept in two games in Atlanta and then getting losing three of four games in Cleveland needless to say it’s been tough sledding for Oakland as they open for three games tonight in Boston.

#5 Tony, Phil Mickelson met with the media on Monday at the US Open and he was needless to say very uneasy in the meeting. He was evasive, dodged some of the questions, he wasn’t nervous but it was obvious that he didn’t want to be at the podium and afraid of questions regarding his book in consideration about joining Saudi Super Golf League.

Join Tony for Headline Sports podcasts each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Francisco Giants podcast with Marko Ukalovic: Giants open three game series with Royals tonight at Oracle Park; SF comes off 3 game sweep over LA

San Francisco Giant slugger Mike Yastrzemski takes a trot around the bases after hitting a first inning home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Sun Jun 12, 2022 (AP News photo)

On the Giants podcast with Marko:

#1 San Francisco Giants (33-26) pitcher Carlos Rodon who pitched six innings of shutout ball helped lead the Giants and the bullpen to a a 2-0 win for a sweep over the Los Angeles Dodgers (37-23).

#2 The Dodgers have lost four of the last five games and were swept by the Giants at Oracle Park in San Francisco. This comes as a surprise as the Dodgers first in the NL West and have dominate in the regular season.

#3 The Giants Austin Slater and Mike Yastrzemski both homered off Dodgers starter Julio Urias which handed the Dodgers their sixth loss in eight games.

#4 Giants manager Gabe Kapler wisely said that although the Giants are in a solid position divisions aren’t won in June.

#5 The Kansas City Royals (20-39) open a three game series at Oracle Park in San Francisco starting Monday night at 6:45 pm PDT Royals starter Brady Singer (3-1, 4.33) for the Giants Alex Wood (3-5, 4.23).

Marko Ukalovic is filling in for Morris Phillips who does the Giant podcasts Mondays at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Giants Rodon shuts out snake bitten Dodgers 2-0 for 3 game sweep

San Francisco Giants starter Carlos Rodon throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers line up in the top of the first inning at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Sun Jun 12, 2022 (AP News photo)

Los Angeles (NL). 0. 5. 0

San Francisco. 2. 5. 0

Sunday, June 12, 2022

By Lewis Rubman

SAN FRANCISCO–Two days ago, one of the most unlikely scenarios in the world of baseball was that the Giants would be going for a sweep of their current three game series against the division leading Dodgers.

But that’s exactly where things stood when Carlos Rodón toed the rubber at 1:06 this afternoon against the snake bitten visitors from Chavez Ravine. The 29 year old Miami native was toting a 4-4,3.51 record for the season and was 2-2 against the Dodgers, both of his wins coming at home and both of his losses in LA.

Snake bitten or not, the visitors still were at the head of the NL West by half a game over San Diego and four and a half over the resurgent San Franciscans.

Los Angeles put their trust in Julio Urías, making this, at least at the beginning, a battle of southpaws. The Dodgers´seven year veteran started the day at 3-5, 2.78. He threw six innings of scoreless ball at them on May 3 , his only appearance against SF this year. His lifetime mark against the home team stood at 3-3, 2.41.

The two hurlers put on a hell of a pitcher´s duel, worthy of the event that the Giants were celebrating this afternoon, the tenth anniversary of Matt Cain’s perfect game of June 13, 2012. Rodón went six innings, shutting Los Angeles out on two hits and three walks.

He struck out eight and brought his ERA down to 3.18. 64 of his 98 pitches went for strikes. Urías also went six frames, allowing two runs, both earned, on home runs.

He yielded only one safety and struck out 10 without giving anyone a free pass. 61 of his 87 offerings were considered strikes. In the end, the Giants held on to an early lead and won, 2-0, to reestablish themselves as a winner in the division race.

It didn’t take long for the Giants to grab the lead. With the count at 1-2 on Austin Slater, Urías hung a slow curve, and Slater hammered it 405 feet into dead center field for his third career lead off home run. It also was his third round tripper of the season and allowed his RBI total to match his uniform number, 13. (Ironically, Urías sports number 7).

One out later, Mike Yastrzemski doubled the lead by taking a 92 mph four seamer deep to left center, 385 feet into the bleachers, for his sixth four bagger and 22nd ribby of ’22.

After Will Smith connected for a solid two base hit to left center in the second, LA fell victim to the Curse of the Lead Off Double, withUrías retiring the next six batters, three by strike outs, before Freddie Freeman walked to open the top of the fourth. Freeman was stranded at first while Rodón notched his fifth and sixth Ks.

Chris Taylor´s bouncer down the third base line put him on second with nobody out in the fifth. He almost scored from there when Hanswer Alberto hit a sharp grounder to the right side, but Thairo Estrada made a beautiful diving play to nab the ball and throw him out at first.

That moved Taylor on to third. Austin Barnes followed with a full count walk. Then Rodón got Betts to pop out to Crawford at short. The Curse of the Lead Off Double came to the rescue!

Urías was even more impressive. After the Yaz blast in the first, he retired the next 16 Giants in a row before Ruf rifled a two out double to the left field corner in the bottom of the sixth frame. The Dodger lefty recovered to close the ending by striking out Yastrzemski, his tenth K of the day.

John Brebbia replaced Rodón to start the seventh. Talor smacked his first pitch up against the 354 foot sign to the right of the Toyota ad on the left field wall for a two bagger. After Cody Bellinger popped out to a falling Flores at third, Max Muncy stepped in to pinch hit for Alberto.

He worked a full count walk to put the potential tying runs on base with Austin Barnes at bat and the top of the order lying in wait. Barnes whiffed on a 3-2 slider, bringing up the always dangerous Mookie Betts. Brebbia got him to ground into a 6-4 put out. The Curse of the Lead Off Double strikes again!

Evan Phillips took over for Urías once ¨God Bless America” and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” had been intoned. He last only the required three batters and left with one out and Estrada, who had singled, on second and Crawford, who drew the Giants’ first walk, on first.

The new Dodger pitcher was Alex Vesia, a lefty called on to face Joc Pederson, the left handed hitter who had been announced to pinch hit for Ramos when the right handed Phillips still was on the mound. Pederson took a called third strike, but Wynn walked to load the sacks with two down.

Manager Kapler then called on Evan Longoria to hit for González, and the new three batter minimum rule prevented a counter move by LA. Nonetheless, Longoria’s fly out to deep right kept the lead at 2-0.

Now it was Dominic Leone on the hill, trying to protect that slender margen. He got past Freeman, but Trea Turner punched a single to right. Will Smith then sent a towering fly to deep right center that Slater tracked down and hauled in with a breath taking running catch.

Justin Turner slapped a dying liner to right for a single that sent the runner to third. With the tying runs on base, Leone threw a 90 mph cut fastball and got Taylor to swing and miss for the third out.

Brusdar Graterol retired Slater and Ruf to open the ninth for the Angelinos but surrendered a mighty double to the left field corner by Yastrzemski. Taylor took a terrible tumble on the play and had to leave the game but, I’m glad to say, under his own power. Bellinger popped out to third, and we went into the ninth.

Jake McGee entered the game at 1-1-,6.46, with two saves in four opportunities, to hold the Dodgers one more inning. He did it, retiring the pinch hitting Max Muncy, Austin Barnes, and Mookie Betts in order.

The win went to Rodón; the loss to Urías. The former deserved his win; the latter didn’t deserve his loss. The Giants will open a three game interleague series against the Kansas City Royals tomorrow evening at 6:45.

LA’s Kernshaw takes loss upon return from one month off; Giants nick Dodgers 3-2 at Oracle

Los Angeles (NL). 2. 13. 2

San Francisco. 3. 5. 1

Saturday, June 11, 2022

By Lewis Rubman

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Klayton Kershaw surrendered a two run RBI in the bottom of the second inning to the San Francisco Giants Luis Gonzalez at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Sat Jun 11, 2022 (AP News photo)

SAN FRANCISCO–A bullpen resembles Alka Seltzer; plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh, what a relief it is! That is, except when the pitchers in it aren’t unanimously effective. Then it’s flop, flop, hiss, hiss. In bullpen games, where your opener is a relief pitcher by trade, the risks and rewards of reliance on the bullpen are multiplied exponentially.

In this afternoon’s game the rewards exceeded the risks, as the. outhit Giants salvaged a thrilling 3-2 win over the hated rivals from the south.

The Dodgers sent the same lineup to this plate as they did last night , although Max Muncy and Justin Turner exchanged bench positions. Muncy, who had been at third in LA’s losing effort on Friday, was today’s DH, and Turner switched from DH to the hot corner.

Their choice for starting pitcher was Clayton Kershaw, who came off the injured list today to resume a campaign in which he was 4-0,1.80 with a total of 30 innings pitched in his five starts. He has struck out more opposing batters than any other Dodger pitcher ever and has the lowest ERA and WHIP of any starting pitcher in major league history with more than 1,500 IP.

The Giants’ lineup featured some significant overnight changes. Most notable were the addition of newcomer Austin Wynns as the designated hitter and the installation of the freshly recalled Heloit Ramos in right field, batting third, between Darin Ruf, who was stationed at first base, and Wilmer Flores, who was shifted to third.

Ramos took the roster spot of Jakob Junis, who was placed on the 15 day injured list because of the hamstring sprain that caused his early exit from last night´s contest. on the roster.

The Giants got to Kershaw in the bottom of the second when Tairo Estrada took him deep, 372 feet deep, into the left field bleachers on an 86 MPH slider, a pitch that the Dodger starter had been using frequently and effectively til then. The one out blast put the home team up 1-0, a lead that they doubled on a walk to Crawford and singles by Wynns and González.

Three innings was the extent of Long´s short mandate. In that time, he threw 48 pitches, 28 of which were balls. He gave up three hits but kept the Angelinos off the board. He struck out one and didn’t issue a single free pass. His successor was Tyler Rogers, he of the weirdly spinning submarine delivery.

71 pitches over four innings would be Keshaw’s limit in his return to active duty. He allowed two runs, both earned, on three hits and two walks, with four Ks before Yency Almonte replaced him to start the bottom of the fifth.

It was Dominic Leone on the mound for San Francisco after Rogers had finished his assigned two innings. Also on the field in the top of the sixth for the orange and black were Mike Yastrzemski in center and Joc Pederson in left, who had pinch hit the previous frame for Slater and Ramos, respectively.

After Estrada led off the Giants’ half of the sixth with a ground out to second that almost hit Almonte in the face, the right handed pitcher was sent to the showers, handing his chores over to southpaw Alex Vesia.

Zack Littell mounted the pitching merry-go-round for San Francisco to open the seventh. The merry-go-round broke down. The first two batters he faced, Chris Taylor and Gavin Lux, took him to full counts. The first walked, and the second bounced a single up the middle that just barely evaded Crawford’s glove.

Then Mookie Betts hit a hard grounder to the side that got past Flores. Crawford made a nice play on it, but his throw to second was late, and the Dodgers had the bases loaded with none out and Freddie Freeman coming to bat. That did it for Littell.

Jarlín García was called on to face the power first sacker. The count reached 3-2, and Freeman swung at and missed a 94 mph four seamer. And then clean up hitter Trea Turner hit into a beautiful U4-3 double play, preserving the Giants’ precarious lead.

Caleb Ferguson took over for LA after the seventh inning stretch and, with a little help from a pitcher´s best friend, kept the Giants from capitalizing on the momentum García’s performance had generated.

And then the momentum shifted. With one out in the top of the eighth, Will Smith singled to left. Justin Turner grounded to second, where Estrada couldn’t handle the ball, which reached right field, allowing Smith to reach third.

Bellinger then unloaded on a hanging slider for a rule book double that bounced into the left center field bleachers, driving in Smith, sending Turner to third, and ending García’s moment of glory. Camilo Doval entered the fray and walked Chris Taylor on a full count.

The bases once more were loaded with Dodgers. This time Lux was at the plate, batting .298. Doval struck him out swinging on a wicked slider.

Now the batter was Mookie Betts, batting .284 with 16 home runs. He took three straight balls. Doval then threw three consecutive, not straight strikes, the last another lead -preserving wicked slider.

Craig Kembrel was entrusted to try to keep the game within reach in the bottom of the eighth. He began inauspiciously, yielding a lead off single to right to Pederson, unleashing a wild pitch to Flores, who eventually walked, and walking Estrada on four pitches.

Suddenly, on this sun filled afternoon, the bases were fog, full of Giants. Los Angeles had no choice but to bring the infield in for Crawford. That was in vain. There’s no defense against a wild pitch, which is what Kembrel threw on a 1-1 count to the Giants’ shortstop.

Crawford ended up striking out, but the home team now led 3-1, and Evan Phillips, who relieved Kembrel, was faced with the ticklish situation of pitching to Wynns with runners on second and third and only one out. Wynns went down swinging, and so did Casali.

The Giants had used six pitchers, and the bullpen was asked to provide one more arm to hold off the Dodgers for three more outs. That arm belonged to José Alvarez, looking for his first save of the year.

It wasn’t pretty. Freddie Freeman tagged him for a 403 foot four bagger to right center to lead off the ninth. Trea Turner followed that with a single to left. Alvarez recovered to fan Muncy and get Smith to force Turner at second on a grounder to third that almost was a double play. Enter Hanser Alberto, pinch hitting for Justin Turner.

He sent a dinky bounder to third that went for an infield single that brought Bellinger to bat with the potential tying run in scoring position and the potential leading run on base. Bellinger hit a hard grounder to second, and Estrada made a grand play to throw him out at first.

Doval , now 2-2, 2,84, was the winning pitcher. Kershaw was charged with his first loss of 2022. And Alvarez got his first save.

Plop, plop! Fizz, Fizz.

Dodgers starter Julio Urías (3-5, 2.78) will try to prevent a Giant sweep on Sunday. The Giants Carlos Rodón (4-4,3.51) will try to help them achieve it.

SF’s Ruf provides power with 2 homers and Junis holds Dodgers to two runs in 7-2 win at Oracle

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner, right, scores on a double by Chris Taylor as San Francisco Giants catcher Curt Casali waits for the throw during the second inning at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Fri Jun 10, 2022 (AP News photo)

Los Angeles (NL) 2-6-1

San Francisco. 7-10-0

Friday, June 10, 2022

By Lewis Rubman

SAN FRANCISCO–The Los Angeles Dodgers (37-21) came to town leading the Padres by two games for the top spot in the National League Western Division race. They’ve won 12 of the 18 series they’ve played this year. The San Francisco Giants (31-26) started the day in third place, four and a half games behind San Diego.

It’s early in the season, and the situation is fluid, but the outlook wasn’t brilliant for baytown fans tonight. Their team had been 8-12 over the last three weeks, and two thirds of those losses came against teams that were playing below .500 ball.

The Dodgers, in spite of their 37-20 record, showed up at 24 Willie MaysPlaza with problems of their own. Their starting pitcher, Walker Buelher, a five year veteran and two time all star, was the subject of an article by Fabian Ardy in The Athletic five days ago.

Its title was, “Dodgers Pitcher Walker Buehler’s Struggles Persist into June: ‘I Want to Be Good.'” More than one big league hurler would like to have struggles like those; Bulher toed the mound at 6-2,3.84. Not Cy Young numbers, but, given the state of baseball today …..

The Giants had considered holding Logan Webb back a day so that he could start tonight’s contest for them. Instead, he pitched last night and was the victim of another late inning San Francisco melt down.

Tonight’s starter for the orange and black was four year veteran Jakob Junis, who took the mound sporting a record of 3-1,2.51. He used to feature a two seamer, slider, cutter, and change of pace, but this year he’s added a sinker that he throws about 30% of the time,

The result of tonight’s encounter, a resounding 7-2 victor for San Francisco was emotionally satisfying but in the cold, hard, mathematical light of the season long pennant race is no cause for rejoycing.

Los Dodgers struck first. Justin Turner led off the second with a sharp single to right. After Junis fanned Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor smacked a liner between Joc Pederson in left and Mike Yastrzemski in center for a running scoring double to put the visitors on the board with a 1-0 advantage.

It was the ex-Dodger Pederson who scored the tying tally in the bottom of the frame. He singled to center to lead off and then, with Evan Longoria at the plate after Darin Ruf had struck out, stole second without a throw.

Longoria sent a bouncing ball down the left field line for a double that drove in Pederson. Brandon Crawford’s single to center drove in Longoria with San Francisco’s second run, putting them ahead, 2-1.

After Thairo Estrada popped out to first, Buehler struck out five consecutive Giant batters. Then, with one down in the home fourth, Ruf drove a 93 mph four seamer 389 feet into the left field bleachers for his fourth home run and 18th RBI of the season, increasing the Giants’ margin to 3-1.

In the top of the fifth. Gavin Lux quickly reduced that gap to 3-2 with a lead off 412 blast over the center field fence just over the glove of the leaping Yastztremski.

Buehler didn’t come out to pitch the bottom half of the inning. He went four innings and allowed three runs, all earned, on four hits, including one dinger, and no walks. He struck out six while throwing 70 pitches, 43 of which counted as strikes.

Buehler’s successor, Justin Bruihl. He got Estrada, now playing third, to fly out to center. Then Curt Casali beat out a slow grounder to Bruihl. Austin Slater, hitting for González, slapped a ball to the mound. Bruihl fell on his patootie fielding it and threw wildly to first.

Slater swas awarded a single, and he advanced to second on the throwing error, which put Casali on third. After Yaz went down swinging, Bruihl was issued a free pass. Pederson and Ruf hit back to back singles, and, just like that, San Francisco was basking in a 6-2 lead.

That good news didn’t last long. Pitching to Max Muncy, the first batter in the Dodger sixth, Junis fell off the mound, seeming to have twisted his ankle. It turned out that, if I heard the announcement properly, he had a strained left hamstring.

In any case, he had to leave the game and was replaced by John Brebbia, who retired Muncy on a fly to right Brebbia, who before disposing of thee rest of the side on one hit and a looooong fly to left center that Pederson chased down on the warning track.

Junis´s line was five innings pitched, in which he made 92 deliveries, of which 64 were counted as strikes, and allowed two runs, both earned, on five hits, one of which went the distance. He struck out five.

Phil Bickford replaced the ill-used Bruihl in the sixth and stuck around for one batter in the bottom of the seventh, yielding to David Price when it was Yastrezmski’s turn at bat. Lefty on lefty, natch, and it worked. He also retired the right handed Flores.

But Ruf took him deep, 409 feet deep, to center in the bottom of the eighth, for his second homer, and the Giants’ seventh run, of the game. That gave Ruf five round trippers for the season.

Jake McGee assumed mound duties for SF in the top of the seventh, as did Dominic Leone in the eighth. Camilo Doval closed things out in the ninth.

Junis was the winning pitcher, bringing his record to 4-1, 2.63. Buehler was tagged with the loss. He’s now 6-3, 4,03.

Tomorrow’s first pitch is scheduled for 4:15. It will be a bullpen game for the Giants. Clayton Kershaw (4-0,1.80) will start for Los Angeles.

Giants-Dodgers keeps that same energy

San Francisco Giants’ Darin Ruf, left, is congratulated by third base coach Mark Hallberg (91) after hitting a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the eighth inning at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Fri Jun 10, 2022 (AP News photo)

By Jeremy Harness

SAN FRANCISCO – It doesn’t matter.

Doesn’t matter where these two teams are in the standings. It could be a rather-meaningless game in June or Game 5 of the National League Division Series. Heck, the Warriors could be playing in the NBA Finals at the same time.

One thing remains constant. The rivalry between the Giants and the Dodgers has withstood the test of time, and it will continue to do so. Till death do them part, these two squads will continue hating each other.

They resumed their eternal battle Friday night, as the Dodgers made their first trip to Oracle Park this season. The atmosphere mirrored that of a postseason matchup, which was clearly visible when Even Longoria and Brandon Crawford had back-to-back RBI hits to give the Giants a 2-1 lead in the second inning, en route to a 7-2 win to kick off a three-game weekend series.

Orange towels waving all around the ballpark, quickly followed by the “Beat LA” chants. It all felt like last October’s epic playoff series, which isn’t what you get with a midseason series with, say, the Rockies or the Padres.

Again, these are the Dodgers we’re talking about here.

Los Angeles entered Friday’s game on top of the National League West with a 37-20 mark, while the Giants came in 6 ½ games behind the Dodgers. Furthermore, the Dodgers had taken each of the first two games between the two teams when they linked up in SoCal last month.

The Giants didn’t exactly come into this weekend with guns blazing, either. They had lost five of their previous eight games, including two of three against Colorado at Oracle Park, a team they typically dominate at home.

None of that seemed to matter during Friday’s weekend series opener. It took the Giants’ bats a couple of innings to warm up against Dodgers starter Walker Buehler, who was 7-1 with a 2.55 ERA in his career against the Giants, including a 6-2 overall season mark.

Following the second-inning surge, Darin Ruf came up in the fourth and smashed a solo homer to give the Giants a 3-1 lead, and by the fifth inning, Buehler was out of there.

Friday was in no way consistent with the way the two teams have played leading into this weekend. The only thing that lined up was what has been there over the years, dating back to the early years in New York: the simmering rivalry and the energy that comes along with it.

San Francisco Giants podcast with Michael Duca: Dodgers pound Giants 9-1 as SF suffers it’s fifth loss in six games at Dodgers Stadium

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts, right, belts a solo homer off San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Alex Wood, left, and catcher Joey Bart can only watch in the bottom of the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Wed May 4, 2022 (AP News photo)

On the Giants podcast with Michael:

#1 Michael wanted to get started asking you about Wednesday night’s second game as the San Francisco Giants (14-10) were swept in a two game series at Dodgers Stadium. The Los Angeles Dodgers (16-7) no doubt showed why their on top of the NL West?

#2 Dodgers Max Muncy and Mookie Betts always with the quick bats both homered and Fast Swinging Freddie Freeman hit a triple in the explosive offensive show that the Dodgers put on for the eight run 9-1 win at Chavez Ravine. How important are Muncy, Betts, and Freeman to the Dodger success?

#3 The Dodgers kept in up the run production as Trea Turner and Will Smith hit for RBI singles in fourth inning as the Dodgers scored twice to get things started. Was that fourth inning the spark that lit the Dodger flame?

#4 Giant starter Alex Wood went 5.1 innings giving up four hits on three runs, two walks and seven strikeouts. Wood had a good mix of pitches the Dodgers later were seeing him well Wood was going after the Dodgers early with seven strikeouts.

#5 The Giants open up a four game set against St Louis (14-10) tonight the Red Birds will start Miles Mikolas (1-1 ERA 1.52) and the Giants have not announced a starter a 6:45 pm PDT first pitch at Oracle Park in San Francisco. How do you see the Giants and Cards in this series?

Michael Duca does the Giants podcasts each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Headline Sports podcast with Jessica Kwong: Twins Sano to have knee surgery; Ohtani to pitch Thursday at Fenway Park; plus more

The Minnesota Twins Miguel Sano charges first base on a Tampa Bay Rays Brandon Lowe ground ball in first inning action at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg on Sat Apr 30, 2022. The Twins announced that Sano will be on the IL due to having knee surgery (AP News photo)

On Headline Sports podcast with Jessica:

#1 Jessica, we’ll start tonight talking about the Minnesota Twins infielder Miguel Sano who will need knee surgery the Twins have said that they have no idea when he will be returning. Sano is going into surgery to repair a torn left meniscus. Sano has been on the team 10 day IL since Monday night.

#2 The Los Angeles Angels Shohei Ohtani has had to go through all sorts of pains and injuries including have Tommy John surgery two years ago. Ohtani hit a ninth inning double on Sunday and he slowed down his running and left the game but is expected to be back on the mound to pitch against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park Thursday night in the last game of that three game series.

#3 Another player has join the Coivd 19 IL the Cincinnati Reds Joey Votto who has been put on the list as a precautionary measure and is day to day according to Reds manager David Bell. Votto who was a six time all star was hitting just .122.

#4 The Chicago Cubs left handed pitcher Drew Smyly who is on bereavement was replaced by Robert Gsellman who was called up from the Cubs minor league Triple A Iowa club. Gsellman was 0-1 ERA 3.77 with the Mets last season.

#5 The Los Angeles Dodgers will be offering backdrop events in two venues for the 2022 All Star Game one location at LA Live in downtown and the other at Santa Monica Pier which are 18 miles apart from each other. “No city and no city’s fans have supported their team like the Dodgers’ fans have,” said Dodgers team president Stan Kasten.

Join Jessica for Headline Sports every other Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Dodgers win 3-1 pitching duel with Giants

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor, right, hits a two RBI single as San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Carlos Rodon, left, and catcher Joey Bart, second from left, watch along with home plate umpire Dan Merzel at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles on Tue May 3, 2022 (AP News photo)

By Daniel Dullum
Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Los Angeles got an early clutch hit from Chris Taylor, a strong start from Julio Urias and the bullpen, and the Dodgers claimed a 3-1 win over the San Francisco Giants Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.

Urias (2-1) threw six scoreless innings, scattering four hits while striking out four without a walk. Brustar Graterol, Alex Vesla and Daniel Hudson each earned a hold, and Craig Kimbrel threw a scoreless ninth to earn his fifth save.

It was a tough loss for Giants starter Carlos Rodon (3-1), who also went six innings. Rodon gave up two earned runs on three hits and two walks, while striking out three.

The Dodgers went ahead to stay in the bottom of the second inning when Taylor drilled a two-out single to right-center off Rodon, scoring Max Muncey and Cody Bellinger. Muncey and Bellinger each drew a walk, and advanced to third and second, respectively, on a wild pitch by Rodon prior to Taylor’s base hit.

San Francisco cut the Dodgers’ lead to 2-1 in the top of the seventh, when Wilmer Flores reached on an infield single, moved to second on a throwing error by Justin Turner, moved to third on a Thairo Estrada ground out, and score on Luis Gonzalez’ sacrifice fly to left.

Los Angeles added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, when Giants reliever Jose Alvarez threw a wild pitch during Freddie Freeman’s at-bat, allowing Hanser Alberto (who doubled) to score and Mookie Betts (who singled) to go to second.

After Freeman walked, Alvarez retired Trea Turner, Will Smith and Muncey. Kimbrell came on in the top of the ninth and, despite walking Flores and giving up an infield single to Gonzalez, didn’t allow any further damage.

Kimbrel struck out Brandon Crawford, Estrada flied out to right, and Luke Williams hit into a game-ending fielder’s choice.

On Wednesday, Alex Wood (2-1, 4.19) starts for the Giants, while the Dodgers counter with Tony Gonsolin (1-0, 1.59). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.