Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he wasn't sure which of his outfielders would start Friday night against Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. His options are not very attractive.
For all the buzz about having too many big-name outfielders, their track record against Bumgarner is far from prime time. Carl Crawford is 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Andre Ethier is 3-for-24 with nine strikeouts. Matt Kemp is 4-for-24 with seven strikeouts. Yasiel Puig is 4-for-15 with five strikeouts, while Scott Van Slyke is 2-for-5 with three walks.
Puig and Van Slyke will probably start at the corner spots with Kemp in center field, as Mattingly said he'd probably stick with his right-handed hitters.
Miguel Olivo figures to start behind the plate, having gone 4-for-9 against Bumgarner.
The Dodgers counter with Paul Maholm, who is 2-4 with a 4.23 ERA in 12 career starts against the Giants.
Maholm is coming off a quality start last time out, allowing three runs in six innings of a no-decision in Miami.
If trends mean anything, Bumgarner's chances for victory would appear promising.
Bumgarner is only 3-3, but he snapped a three-game losing streak in his most recent appearance, Sunday at Atlanta, where he allowed an unearned run and three hits while striking out nine in six innings. The Giants triumphed, 4-1.
The left-hander has pitched particularly well on the road, going 2-1 with a 1.48 ERA in four starts. That contrasts with his 1-2 mark and 5.87 ERA in three games at home.
Moreover, Bumgarner owns a lifetime 9-4 record with a 2.68 ERA in 14 games (13 starts) against Los Angeles. That includes a 6-2 mark and a 1.98 ERA in nine Dodger Stadium appearances.
Giants: Hudson's a savior
As the Giants began a new series Thursday, they were still influenced by the previous one. Fortunately for them, the effect was positive.
Monday's 13-inning endurance test at Pittsburgh could have drained the bullpen. But Tim Hudson's complete-game effort in Tuesday's 2-1 loss gave the bullpen some much-needed rest and put them back on course -- just in time for the Giants' current showdown with the Dodgers.
Since keeping a pitching staff fresh and healthy is a top priority for every manager, Bruce Bochy of the Giants felt thankful for Hudson's ability to save the bullpen.
Asked Thursday if he felt happy about the staff's condition overall and the bullpen's readiness in particular, Bochy said, "Really happy. Things could have gotten out of sorts or out of control. You have to look at Hudson's start as the game [that] got things back in order."
Bochy's care and feeding of the relievers has paid off thus far. The bullpen has held opponents scoreless in seven of its last eight games. The Giants' 1.77 bullpen ERA is the lowest in the Majors.
Dodgers: Whiffs by Withrow
The Dodgers' bullpen is loaded with veterans, most of them having closed during their Major League career. But the most dominant of the bunch so far this year is 25-year-old Chris Withrow, in his first full Major League season.
With 1 1/3 scoreless innings Thursday night, Withrow extended his streak to 7 2/3 innings over his last eight appearances. He's allowed only three hits in 51 at-bats (.059 opponents average), while striking out 24 in 17 innings.
Withrow appears to have leaped over Brian Wilson to share the seventh and eighth innings with Chris Perez, setting up for closer Kenley Jansen.
• The Giants are in the midst of their longest stretch of the season without a scheduled off-day -- a 17-game march that started last Friday in Atlanta. San Francisco's next scheduled day off is Monday, May 19.
• San Francisco improved to 6-1 in extra innings, compared to the Dodgers' 3-6 in bonus frames.
• Giants closer Sergio Romo has pitched scoreless relief in his last seven games, spanning 6 1/3 innings, since April 26.
• Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon stole his Major League-leading 21st base of the season in Thursday's sixth inning.