MLB Baseball

2
Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
San Francisco1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 290
LA Dodgers0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 161
1
  W: M. Bumgarner (4-9)   L: H. Ryu (5-8)   S: S. Dyson (14)
6:10 PM PT7:10 PM MT8:10 PM CT9:10 PM ET21:10 ET1:10 GMT9:10 6:10 PM MST8:10 PM EST8:40 PM VEN5:10 UAE (+1)8:10 PM CT, September 23, 2017
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California  Attendance: 51,093

Division clinched, Dodgers still have work to do

LOS ANGELES -- With a fifth consecutive National League West title finally theirs, the first look at how the Los Angeles Dodgers will handle things the rest of regular season will come on Saturday.

When the Dodgers face the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night, the starting lineup could be loaded with reserves and September call-ups, at least for one day, even if manager Dave Roberts has not yet admitted it.

The Dodgers have stumbled badly for nearly a month now after a historic start that saw them go 91-36 and grab a 21-game lead in the division. Then, in losing 20-of-26 before clinching the National League West on Friday, the offense looked vulnerable and the bullpen appeared to be on fumes.

What the Dodgers hope now is that clinching the division is the positive feeling they need to get back to being a championship contender.

"You still have work to do, you have to find that edge, find what you're looking for and get back rolling like we were before," Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager said. "(Friday's victory) was a really competitive game for us. We competed all the way through and that has what we had been looking for basically, just a full complete game."

The Giants wouldn't mind exposing more of the Dodgers' late-season flaws, even in a season when they are 60-94 and have essentially locked up last place in the NL West. San Francisco had actually been playing a better brand of baseball of late, winning three consecutive games before arriving in Los Angeles, including a brief two-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.

There certainly will be no doubting the motivation of the always-intense Madison Bumgarner (3-9, 3.48 ERA), who will take the mound for the Giants on Saturday. Bumgarner has faced the Dodgers just once this season, holding them to seven scoreless innings on July 30. The Dodgers eventually earned a 3-2 victory.

Bumgarner is 14-9 with a 2.59 ERA in 28 appearances (27 starts) against the Dodgers in his career, but adding to his motivation could be that he is just 1-4 with a 3.24 ERA in his last eight starts against the Dodgers.

Since returning from the disabled list after a dirt bike accident in April, Bumgarner is 3-9 with a 3.48 ERA, going 0-4 with a 5.40 ERA over his last four outings.

The Giants enter their last eight games knowing they need to win three of them to avoid the second 100-loss season in franchise history.

"I mean, I believe we're way better than we've played this year," Bumgarner said, according to the San Jose Mercury News. "There's a lot of variables, and I'm not trying to make excuses for anybody, but I definitely believe in the guys we have here regardless of what's happened this year."

The Dodgers do have the best record in the National League and in the major leagues to play for so there is motivation to not completely shut down until the postseason. Also motivated is the Dodgers' Saturday starter Huyn-Jin Ryu (5-7, 3.46), who is trying to make a case for a postseason rotation role.

Ryu has pitched well over his last 11 starts, going 3-1 with a 2.62 ERA, while striking out 63 batters in 65 1/3 innings. Ryu would be vying for the role as the Dodgers' No. 4 starter in the playoffs, behind Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Yu Darvish.

Ryu is 0-1 in two starts against the Giants this year, but that record is not of his doing. He has a 0.69 ERA against San Francisco this season, giving up one run in 16 innings. The left-hander is 4-5 in 11 career games against the Giants, posting a 3.36 ERA.

Updated September 23, 2017

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