Shohei Ohtani and the Dodgers dominate the Giants

Eleven months ago, the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants looked like two franchises headed in somewhat different directions.

In June, a surging Giants team came to Dodger Stadium, swept a three-game series in dominant fashion, and jumped their intradivison rivals in the National League West — marking the clear nadir of the Dodgers’ slow start to 2023.

A year later, the clubs are still seemingly headed in opposite directions.

Only now, it’s the Dodgers who are cruising with a big division lead, and the Giants struggling to gain any traction, in danger of suffering through yet another wasted year in the shadow of their Southern California counterparts.

The Dodgers’ 10-2 blowout of the Giants on Tuesday at Oracle Park served as the latest example.

The Dodgers had more hits (13 to nine), fewer errors (none to the Giants’ two), a better starting pitching performance (thanks to a six-inning, one-run effort from Gavin Stone), significantly more production from their star players (highlighted by Shohei Ohtani’s 12th home run and three total hits), and even a more vocal presence in a split crowd of 33,575.

Going back to last year, the Dodgers (29-15) have won six straight games against the Giants (19-25). They have clinched four straight series in a suddenly one-sided rivalry. And, not even two months into this season, they are already 10 games clear of San Francisco in the standings.

Rarely in this series’ recent history has one club’s stock been so up, while the other’s has been so dreadfully down.

“We’re catching them at the right time,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “But they’re not gonna feel sorry for us. We’re not gonna feel sorry for them.”

In almost every facet Tuesday, the Dodgers’ superiority over the Giants was pronounced.

Look at the team’s biggest offseason acquisitions.

The Giants saw their $54-million third baseman, Matt Chapman, go just one for four, leaving his batting average at .210; and their currently injured $42-million designated hitter, Jorge Soler, get drilled in the head during pregame batting practice by a ball that ricocheted off the cage.

Ohtani, meanwhile, maintained his MLB leads in batting average (.361), extra-base hits (29) and OPS (1.107), punctuating his three-hit night — he came just a triple shy of the cycle — with a towering 446-foot home run in the fourth inning that just landed short of McCovey Cove beyond the right-center-field bleachers.

“I was disappointed it didn’t go over,” Ohtani joked through his interpreter.

“That’s Barry territory,” Roberts added, referencing the long drives he used to watch Barry Bonds hit while teammates with him on the Giants. “There aren’t too many guys that can do that.”

The clubs’ rookie starting pitchers were another point of comparison.

Giants right-hander Keaton Winn was punished repeatedly for mistake pitches over the heart of the plate, giving up five runs in less than five innings.

Stone, on the other hand, continued his promising start to 2024, lowering his ERA to 3.27 by again inducing soft contact (he had only two strikeouts but gave up only five hits) and working in and out of trouble.

“This is a dream park to play in, especially with the Dodgers,” Stone said. “You can definitely feel the rivalry.”

The discrepancies didn’t end there.

The Dodgers received production from both of their big stars (Mookie Betts also had two hits) and the bottom of the order (including a triple from Gavin Lux and doubles from James Outman and Miguel Rojas).

They got three stress-free innings from the underbelly of their banged-up bullpen, a group that continues to shine even without several key relievers.

And, as the Dodgers poured on four insurance runs in the ninth inning, chants of “Let’s Go Dodgers” rang out around the ballpark, with almost nothing but blue-and-white-clad spectators left populating the stands.

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