The San Francisco Giants ruined the arch-rival Los Angeles Dodgers‘ much anticipated home opener on Thursday, exploding for six runs in the first inning before coasting to a mostly laid back 8-4 win. It was a meaningful victory for the Giants, albeit an early season win. San Francisco showcased why its capable of beating the Dodgers, scoring eight runs with two outs. Through five games in the 2014 season, the Giants have now scored 25 of their 31 runs with two outs in an inning.
Most baseball pundits chalk the Dodgers as the hands-down favorite to win the NL West this season. On paper, that sentiment makes sense. The Dodgers are loaded with a premier lineup and deep pitching staff. They’re certainly built like a playoff-caliber team. They’ve also been there before, having won the division in 2013 en route to an appearance in the NLCS. While the Giants recognize the talent the Dodgers boast, they’re not deterred by their arch-nemesis.
Despite enduring the brutal disappointment of suffering a 76-win season in 2013, the Giants won 11-of-19 games against the Dodgers. Los Angeles hasn’t won the season series against San Francisco since 2009, and continues to struggle against the orange and black, regardless of venue. The Giants have essentially proven that beating the Dodgers isn’t a problem. That said, they must continue to hand down losses to their division rival in head-to-head situations. Los Angeles is capable of stringing together a ridiculous number of wins in a short time period, indicated by their record-setting 42-8 stretch last summer.
As a team, the Giants are off to a fantastic start. Although the Giants’ starting pitchers haven’t performed up to expectations as a unit in the early going, the team’s offense has carried the load, mitigating an immediate need for shut down efforts from the mound. San Francisco is averaging 6.2 runs per game, ranking second in total runs scored in the big leagues at the moment. It’s distinctly unlikely for the Giants to maintain that level of production throughout the season, but it’s a good sign that their offense is capable of putting crooked numbers on the scoreboard, especially with two outs.
The Giants seem to play their best baseball when outsiders dub them as pretenders. San Francisco wasn’t given a ton of respect in preseason power rankings across most major sports information entities. The Vegas Consensus charted the Giants as an 84-to-88 win team in 2014. While those numbers aren’t exactly disrespectful, they’re not indicative of what the Giants are capable of.
Over the past season, the Giants have proven they’re capable of pummeling the Dodgers, a feat they accomplished during the Dodgers’ home opener. They’ll look to continue their winning ways against Los Angeles throughout the season, ideally planting a seed in the Dodgers’ clubhouse — the Giants are going to make some noise in the NL West.