When the San Francisco Giants arrive in Los Angeles to face a red-hot Dodgers club in the opener of a three-game series Friday, it will not be with a full head of steam.
The Giants are returning to California having barely avoided a four-game sweep at the hands of the Miami Marlins, needing 16 innings Thursday afternoon in South Florida to do it. There should be exhaustion and jet lag aplenty, especially from Buster Posey, who caught all 16 innings.
Now the Giants will be facing one of baseball's hottest teams in a Dodgers club that has gone 9-2 in June and has crushed a baseball-best 30 home runs this month.
Back in April, when the Giants and Dodgers seemingly met on a daily basis, things mostly went San Francisco's way. The Giants took three of four in a series at AT&T Park in late April and won six of the first 10 matchups between the clubs.
The Dodgers struggled with runners in scoring position back then and barely showed any power. And when they did go deep the odds of nobody being on base were high.
That all has changed now, and the two hitters getting the most credit for L.A.'s power revival both have Bay Area ties.
Palo Alto native Joc Pederson has eight home runs this season, seven of which have come in June.
And former Oakland A's infielder Max Muncy is in the midst of a coming-out party for the Dodgers with 13 home runs, 30 RBIs and a .631 slugging percentage in 46 games. Before the season, Muncy played in 96 major league games and hit five home runs with 17 RBIs and a .321 slugging percentage.
"I try not to think about it, (but) it's hard not to," Muncy said, according to mlb.com. "Games are a lot of fun right now. Everyone's feeling the momentum up and down the lineup."
Also in a bit of a revival is Cody Bellinger, who had a home run in four consecutive games last week.
The common thread among Pederson, Muncy and Bellinger is that all three bat left-handed and the answer from the Giants will come with lefties Derek Holland (Friday) and Madison Bumgarner (Saturday) starting in the first two games of the series.
Holland (4-6, 4.54 ERA) has helped the Giants toward six victories in his last nine starts. In two starts against the Dodgers this season he is 0-1 with a 7.56 ERA. In three career outings against the Dodgers he is 0-2 with a 7.43 ERA.
"Definitely we don't feel good when you know going in these are ballgames you should be winning, and we're not getting (victories) like we should," the Giants' Andrew McCutchen said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's not something you take lightly."
The Dodgers are scheduled to send Ross Stripling (5-1, 1.65) to the mound in the series opener. The right-hander, who threw 7 1/3 no-hit innings in his major league debut at San Francisco in 2016, has won each of his last five starts, posting a 1.15 ERA in that stretch (31 1/3 innings).