The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants approached the end of a major statement series on July 27. The Dodgers used pitching dominance to take the first two games, as well as first place, away from the Giants. San Francisco had acquired former Cy Young winner Jake Peavy to bolster their own rotation -- but the modern day Peavy proved ineffective in stopping a Los Angeles sweep during a 4-3 loss.
Peavy wasn't exactly at a Cy Young level before he was traded from the Boston Red Sox, having lost his final nine starts in the American League. Moving to the National League and to an actual contender didn't quite revive him off the bat, as the Dodgers got six hits and four run off of him over six innings.
The Giants hoped they would get a break, since neither Zack Greinke nor Clayton Kershaw were facing them in the finale. But the Dodgers did send out Hyun-jin Ryu, who improved to 12-5, although his stats weren't that different from Peavy. Yet while Ryu also scattered six hits over six innings, he only gave up three runs.
Los Angeles did much of its damage in the fifth, scoring three runs on the strength of two Peavy wild pitches, a Carl Crawford triple and a Hanley Ramirez RBI. Dan Uggla, another new San Francisco player who has seen much better days, also hindered the home team with two errors.
The Giants did get luckier on offense than they did in the first two games, with their first extra base hits off of the Dodgers' staff. Nevertheless, Los Angeles outscored its arch-rivals and main NL West competitors by 17-4 in three road victories.
The Dodgers limped out of the All-Star break in games against the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates, which gave first place back to the Giants. But the NL West has been defined by mood swings, as the Giants were up by over nine games in mid-June before the Dodgers made their run. Now that San Francisco and Los Angeles have both traded first place, there's plenty of time for more shifts in the final two months.
Currently, the Dodgers are up by 1 1/2 games, which is hardly insurmountable. But without the likes of Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu on their rotation, and with Peavy still in a hole, the Giants are at an obvious disadvantage.