Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his homerun with Justin Turner #10 for a 3-1 lead over the Colorado Rockies during the third inning at Dodger Stadium on April 26, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
The four-game series starting Thursday night between the Dodgers and Giants is not just two rivals squaring off, at least for one of the managers.
The Giants have a 21-13 record and are tied with the Colorado Rockies for first place in the National League West.
The Dodgers are in third place, and their skipper, Don Mattingly, says if his team plans on being in the race at the end of this marathon called the regular season, his players will have to prove themselves over the next four days.
"Yeah, we have to establish that we can play with them," Mattingly said. "They have a good club and we knew they were going to be tough."
Lately, the Giants have been especially tough. They’ve won 10 of their last 13 games holding their opponents to three runs or less in eight of those wins.
The Giants relievers have been almost unhittable.
They have a Major League best 1.81 ERA and opposing hitters have a paltry .202 batting average against them.
Dodger Stadium has also become like a second home for San Francisco.
Since 2012, the team has won five of their last six series at Chavez Ravine, including the last series in April. Despite losing four out of six games this season to the Giants though, Mattingly likes how his team has played in those games.
"I felt like the first series (at home) they swung the bats pretty well," he said, adding, "The San Francisco series could’ve gone either way, we could’ve swept them, they could've swept us."
The Rockies have made their presence felt early in the division race and their prolific offense will keep them afloat for awhile, but the Giants and Dodgers will likely be the two teams battling for the division title come September.
If LA wants to prevail they’ll need to play better at home where they're only 6-9.