LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers don’t have to look too far to understand just how important games against the Giants are, even when the calendar reads as early as May 3.
Last season, despite tying a franchise record with 106 wins, the Dodgers finished one game behind the Giants in the National League West. The race came down to the final day of the regular season. San Francisco won the season series, 10-9, proving that every game between the two division rivals was meaningful.
Because Los Angeles didn’t win the division, it was forced to play a Wild Card Game against the Cardinals before taking on the Giants in the NLDS. Though the Dodgers advanced, they admitted to being mentally and physically fatigued during their NLCS against the Braves.
As they try to avoid a similar path this season, the Dodgers are looking to take care of business more often than not during the 19 meetings against their longtime rival. They got off to a good start in the 3-1 win over San Francisco on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers were able to take the first round between the two teams due to more stellar pitching. Left-hander Julio Urías got the start on Tuesday and delivered six shutout innings. Urías needed just 65 pitches to get through the six frames.
After a shaky first start in Colorado, Urías has looked much more like himself over his last four starts. The Mexican left-hander has allowed just two runs over his last 22 innings, striking out 19. He’s still working to find consistent velocity on his four-seam fastball, but it hasn’t stopped him from being effective on the mound. His season ERA is 1.88.
Following Urías, the Dodgers’ bullpen continued their early season dominance. Brusdar Graterol and Alex Vesia combined to allow a run in the seventh. The rally, however, was started by shaky defense at third by Justin Turner. Vesia ended the threat by striking out outfielder Luke Williams. Daniel Hudson and Craig Kimbrel shut the door in the eighth and ninth, respectively.