The San Francisco Giants won’t have a chance to end the playoff hopes of their biggest rivals.
One night after being eliminated from playoff contention, the Los Angeles Dodgers head to San Francisco to begin a season-ending four-game series with the NL West champion Giants.
This was the third straight year the Dodgers hung in the playoff race until late in the season before coming up short. Thursday’s loss was the second time in three seasons that Los Angeles was eliminated in its 157th game. Last year, the Dodgers were eliminated in Game 161.
“To be this close two years in a row and fall just short is frustrating,” Dodgers center fielder Dave Roberts said.
Making matters worse, they will have to watch the rival Giants appear in the playoffs for the third time in four years.
Though San Francisco wrapped up the NL West long ago, it still has something to play for this weekend. The Giants trail the Atlanta Braves by one game for the league’s best record and home-field advantage through the NL championship series.
The Giants are also trying to avoid having to play a makeup game in New York against the Mets on Monday. If San Francisco trails Atlanta by a half-game after Sunday’s play, it will have to travel to Shea Stadium, where a victory would clinch home field because the Giants won the season series with the Braves.
San Francisco has won four of six, but comes off a 2-1 loss at Houston on Wednesday that cost the Giants the chance to sweep the series. Barry Bonds was 0-for-1 and still needs three homers to tie Willie Mays for third on the career list with 660.
STANDINGS: Dodgers - 2nd place, 13 1/2 GB, NL West. Giants - 1st place, NL West.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Kazuhisa Ishii (9-6, 3.52 ERA). Ishii matched season lows by lasting just three innings and yielding five earned runs in the Dodgers’ 7-5 victory over the Giants on Sunday. He is 0-3 in seven outings since his last win on July 18. The Japanese left-hander is 1-0 with a 3.92 ERA in four lifetime starts against San Francisco.
GIANTS PROBABLE STARTER: Kirk Rueter (9-5, 4.63 ERA). Rueter has won two straight decisions, and comes off an excellent outing. The left-hander gave up five hits in six innings as the Giants beat the Dodgers 6-0 on Saturday. He is 10-9 with a 3.93 ERA in 27 career games against Los Angeles.
SEASON SERIES: Giants, 10-5.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Dodgers - Los Angeles has been held to two runs or fewer 60 times this season. … RHP Eric Gagne remains on 55 saves and needs two to tie Bobby Thigpen’s single-season major league record. Giants - Bonds is 0-for-7 and has struck out four times against LHP Ishii. … SS Rich Aurilia needs three hits to reach 1,000.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Dodgers - 38-39 on the road; Giants - 54-23 at home.
INJURIES: Dodgers - OF Brian Jordan (knee), 60-day DL; LHP Troy Brohawn (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Darren Dreifort (knee), 60-day DL; RHP Alfredo Gonzalez (shoulder), 60-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL. Giants - RHP Jesse Foppert (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Robb Nen (shoulder), 60-day DL.