Bruce Bochy has a chance to finish the San Francisco era of his managerial career with a winning record against the club’s chief rival when the Giants host the Los Angeles Dodgers beginning Friday night in the final three games of their skipper’s career.
The Dodgers (103-56) will be looking to build upon a four-game winning streak as they perform their final three dress rehearsals for next week’s playoffs, in which they will be the National League’s top seed.
They will open the postseason at home on Thursday against the winner of Tuesday’s NL wild card game.
With the Dodgers locked into place, the Giants (77-82) will have the emotional edge in their final series, assured of a third-place finish in the NL West.
That’s because the three games will serve as a grand going-away party for Bochy, who led the franchise to World Series championships in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
With the Giants having opened Bruce Bochy Appreciation Week with two wins in three games against the Colorado Rockies, Bochy will enter the final series with a 2,003-2,026 overall record. He’s 220-205 against the Dodgers, including 119-119 in his 13 seasons with the Giants.
Bochy admitted Thursday it’s fitting that he’s scheduled to go out against a team that’s most closely geographically linked to his clubs both for 12 years in San Diego and since 2007 in San Francisco.
“All the battles I’ve had with LA — key games, important games, games that have gone to the wire at times,” he gushed to reporters. “As I look across the field at the Dodgers, it’s going to be a lot of reflecting for me.”
One guy Bochy won’t see on the mound in the series is Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who pitched a 1-0 win over San Diego on Thursday. His 23 career wins head-to-head against Bochy’s teams are far and away the most among all pitchers, with Randy Johnson a distant second with 15.
Kershaw would have six days’ rest should the Dodgers start him in Game 1 of the NL Division Series next week, but manager Dave Roberts insisted Thursday he’s still weighing his rotation options.
“We’re going to talk to Clayton,” Roberts told reporters. “We’re going to talk to him, talk to all three of those guys (including Walker Buehler and Hyun-Jin Ryu) and figure out what makes the most sense for them individually and more importantly for us.”
Buehler (13-4, 3.25) is scheduled to make his final regular-season start in Friday’s series opener against the Giants. He’s never lost to San Francisco, going 2-0 this season and 3-0 in his career with a 2.79 ERA.
The Giants are expected to counter with fellow right-hander Johnny Cueto (1-1, 2.57), who has yet to go more than five innings in his three starts since returning from Tommy John surgery.
The 33-year-old has recorded a 7-8 record with a 3.21 ERA in 19 career starts against the Dodgers.
–Field Level Media