(Photo credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
The San Francisco Giants and Dodgers have six more games against each other over the next 10 days, including Friday's at Los Angeles, and Brandon Crawford intends to play in one of them.
The Giants shortstop was placed on the 10-day injured list before Thursday's four-game series opener with a hamstring strain. The IL move means that the only possible game Crawford can play in the regular season is the Oct. 1 finale against the Dodgers at San Francisco.
It could be Crawford's final game in a Giants uniform after 13 seasons.
"It's going to be emotional, probably," said Crawford, giving a wink to his straightforward demeanor. "You guys know how emotional I typically get. In a way, I guess I'm looking forward to it. Just to have that game.
"I guess it's hard to process just because I've been here my whole career. It's not something I've really ever had to think about. That's kind of why I guess I don't have a whole lot of words for it."
Without Crawford in the series opener, the Giants fell 7-2 and failed to gain ground in the National League wild-card race, remaining three games out of the final spot. San Francisco has lost six of its past seven games.
The Giants will send left-hander Sean Manaea (6-6, 4.82 ERA) to the mound on Friday. Manaea will be making his third start since returning to the rotation, giving up three runs over 5 1/3 innings in a win against the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
In nine career appearances (six starts) against the Dodgers, he is 0-5 with a 9.00 ERA in 35 innings.
The Dodgers will mix and match on the mound Friday, using an alternative plan just as manager Dave Roberts has suggested he might do on occasion in the playoffs. Caleb Ferguson (7-3, 2.56) will be the opener, while fellow left-hander Ryan Yarbrough also will pick up some innings.
Los Angeles has just three set starters heading into the playoffs in Bobby Miller, Lance Lynn and Clayton Kershaw. When it comes to Lynn and Kershaw, those veterans might be on moderate pitch counts with the bullpen doing heavy lifting on those days.
Pitchers like Yarbrough, Emmet Sheehan and Ryan Pepiot might be asked to pick up as many as three innings per appearance.
The plan becomes less disconcerting if the Dodgers' offense can deliver. Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman are having MVP-caliber seasons at the top of the order. J.D. Martinez is on a power surge with five home runs in 12 games since returning from a groin injury, with his latest blast coming on Thursday.
But All-Star Will Smith has yet to hit his stride following an early-season rib injury, batting .222 in 43 games going back to July 28. However, he did have a triple and a run on Thursday.
"He went a little sideways," Roberts said of Smith's struggles. "I think that that led to a lot of missed pitches in the hitting zone. There was probably a little bit of guarding initially after, and when you're talking about the rib, the oblique, that sort of dovetails into some changed mechanics."
--Field Level Media