All eyes will be on Giants-Dodgers Monday


All eyes will be on Giants-Dodgers Monday

SAN DIEGO Someone asked Giants manager Bruce Bochy about the upcoming three-game series at Dodger Stadium. Was he keeping an eye on what the Dodgers were doing?

This is usually when the skipper throws out one of his stock answers. Were just focused on ourselves here. Something like that.

But Bochy had the Dodgers-Braves game on in his office Sunday morning. So he had to be honest.

You cant help it. Its what we do, Bochy said. And were fans, too. Well watch games when theyre on. Well check scores. Thats the fun part, particularly this time of year.

The Giants destroyed the Dodgers in three consecutive shutouts in June when Matt Kemp was on the disabled list. The Dodgers were nearly as dominant July 27-29 while sweeping three games by a combined score of 19-3 at AT&T Park.

The Giants were flat-footed without Pablo Sandoval at the time. They will be without Melky Cabrera for the remainder of the season. But now Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro are settled into their surroundings.

So how will they match up this time? Will this series provide the true indication which squad is best in the NL West?

Two good teams, said Bochy, whose Giants enter with a half-game deficit. Both clubs know whats at stake and theyre playing well. Obviously, they had their way with us last time. Well have to play better. We know it. All of the guys look forward to it.

Including Brandon Belt, who said he is ready to experience his first pennant race as a full-fledged regular.

I think everybody is excited. You can feel it in the locker room, Belt said. This is the fun part of the year. Well go over there and hopefully do some damage in this next series.

There might not be much damage on the scoreboard Monday, when Clayton Kershawtangles with Madison Bumgarner. Its the fourth time that Kershaw will face the Giants this season; hes 1-2 with a 1.57 ERA in three starts, having been turned aside twice by Ryan Vogelsong.

Bumgarner hasnt faced the Dodgers in 2012. He was 3-2 with a 4.11 ERA in five starts against them last year.

He knows the Dodgers are coming off a 10-game trip that could have presented a sizable pitfall. Instead, they won seven of 10 in Miami, Pittsburgh and Atlanta.

Belt might be new to a big-game atmosphere. Not Bumgarner, who pitched the Giants to a Halloween night victory in Game 4 of the 2010 World Series.

Take it like any other start, he said, after pulling on his ostrich boots for the bus from Petco Park to Los Angeles. Just be prepared and have a plan against those guys and be sure Im on my game, because theyre a good hitting team. If I can do that, the rest will take care of itself.

Dodgers crush Cubs in Game 5 to reach 2017 World Series


Dodgers crush Cubs in Game 5 to reach 2017 World Series


CHICAGO -- Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

Fueled by Hernandez's home run trilogy, Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers are finally going to the World Series.

Hernandez homered three times and drove in seven runs, Kershaw breezed through six crisp innings and Los Angeles ended the Chicago Cubs' title defense with an 11-1 victory in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series on Thursday night.

"It feels good to hear World Series," Kershaw said. "It's been a long time coming for this team."

After years of playoff heartache, there was just no stopping this group of Dodgers. With Kershaw firing away at the top of a deep pitching staff and Justin Turner anchoring a tough lineup, one of baseball's most storied franchises captured its first pennant since Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda managed Los Angeles to its last championship in 1988.

The Dodgers will host the New York Yankees or Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. The Yankees have a 3-2 lead in the ALCS heading into Game 6 at Houston on Friday night, so one more New York win would set up another chapter in an old October rivalry between the Yankees and Dodgers.

The Dodgers made the playoffs eight times in the previous 13 seasons and came up short each time, often with Kershaw shouldering much of the blame. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner took the loss when Los Angeles was eliminated by the Cubs in Game 6 of last year's NLCS at Wrigley Field.

He was just OK in his first two starts in this year's postseason, but Los Angeles' loaded lineup picked him up each time. Backed by Hernandez's powerful show in Chicago, Kershaw turned in an efficient three-hit performance with five strikeouts in his sixth career playoff win - matching Burt Hooton for the franchise record.

When Kenley Jansen retired Willson Contreras on a liner to shortstop for the final out, the party was on. The Dodgers poured out of the dugout and mobbed their dominant closer near the mound, and a small, but vocal group of Los Angeles fans gathered behind the visitor's dugout and chanted "Let's go Dodgers! Let's go Dodgers!"

Report: Giants interview Chili Davis about becoming new hitting coach


Report: Giants interview Chili Davis about becoming new hitting coach

Chili Davis spent the first seven years of his big league career with the Giants where he made two All-Star teams and hit 101 home runs. 

Fast forward 37 years from his debut in 1981, and Davis may now be the one teaching Giants how to hit balls over the wall in 2018. The Giants met with Davis Thursday about becoming the team's new hitting coach, according to The Mercury News

The only problem is, there is no open vacancy on the Giants' coaching staff. 

Current hitting coach Hensley Meulens is a candidate for the Tigers' head coaching vacancy, but reports surfaced Thursday that former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will take that role. Meulens could become a candidate to manage another team or take a different spot on the Giants' staff. 

The Giants' offense sputtered in 2017. Overall, the offense ranked 23rd in batting average (.249), 29th in runs scored (639) and last in home runs (128). By comparison, the Pirates were the next worst team at hitting home runs in 2017 and still launched 23 more long balls than the Giants. 

Over his 19-year career, Davis hit 350 home runs. He has spent the last three years as the Red Sox's hitting instructor.