The Los Angeles Dodgers are shaking up their rotation ahead of this weekend's marquee three-game series with the Giants at Oracle Park.
Reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer was supposed to start Thursday in the Dodgers' series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Instead, manager Dave Roberts will hold him back for the opener against the Giants on Friday.
Roberts will use a "bullpen game" on Thursday against the lowly D-backs.
Bauer will face former Dodgers lefty Alex Wood on Friday.
The Giants are red-hot and have taken the first three games of their four-game series in Cincinnati. They will go for the sweep Thursday morning. They've won four in a row overall and nine of their last 12 games.
With their 4-0 win Wednesday night, the Giants retained the best record in baseball, half a game better than the Chicago White Sox.
While the Giants already have faced the San Diego Padres nine times this season, this will be their first test of the year against the defending World Series champion Dodgers, and by moving Bauer back a day, it appears Los Angeles wants to give San Francisco it's best shot.
After Bauer and Wood clash Friday, young guns Logan Webb and Walker Buehler will face each other on Saturday. In the finale on Sunday, Anthony DeSclafani will take on Julio Urias.
The Dodgers know this is a big series for them, which is why they are treating these games like a must-win situation. The Giants have a chance to put more distance between themselves and the preseason NL West and World Series favorite.
Yes, it's still May, but this weekend's games against Bauer and the Dodgers will be a good test for the Giants.