Although they clinched their 12th National League West title nearly a week ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers still have plenty of work to do as they continue their three-game road set against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday. Matt Kemp homered for the first time since July 21 to send the Dodgers to their third straight victory. However, Los Angeles remained two games behind the Braves as it attempts to secure home-field advantage during the National League playoffs.The Dodgers' pitching appears to be primed for a postseason run, giving up one run during their winning streak after San Francisco ended their 28 2/3-inning scoreless streak in Tuesday's 2-1 victory. Tony Abreu's homer provided the Giants' lone run in the opener, and the offense has struggled mightily as the season draws to a close. San Francisco has totaled six runs over its last 49 innings and scored two or fewer runs in five straight games.
TV: 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN, KCAL (Los Angeles), CSN Bay Area (San Francisco)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers RH Ricky Nolasco (8-2, 3.14 ERA) vs. Giants LH Barry Zito (4-11, 5.91)
After an eight-start stretch in which he went 7-0 with a 1.59 ERA, Nolasco has surrendered 11 earned runs over his last two outings - spanning 6 1/3 innings. The 30-year-old escaped with a no-decision in Thursday's 7-6 division-clinching win at Arizona, giving up six runs and nine hits over five frames. Nolasco was tagged for seven runs (five earned) over 1 1/3 innings five days earlier in a loss to the Giants, but is 5-4 with a 2.73 ERA in 10 career starts against them.
Zito, who hasn't pitched Sept. 2, will get the call as the Giants chose to shut down Madison Bumgarner after 201 1/3 innings on Tuesday. The 2002 American League Cy Young Award winner was jettisoned to the bullpen after going 0-3 with a 11.58 ERA over his last three turns. Zito settled for a no-decision May 3 in his only outing versus the Dodgers in 2013 and will look to improve on his 9-10 record and 3.65 ERA in 27 all-time appearances (26 starts).
1. Los Angeles relievers have allowed two hits over 12 2/3 scoreless innings over the last five games.
2. Giants RF Hunter Pence, who went 8-for-17 with five homers and 12 RBIs against the Dodgers during a four-game set Sept. 12-15, went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the opener.
3. The Dodgers are 63-61 all-time at AT&T Park, making them the only NL team with a winning record at the venue.
PREDICTION: Dodgers 4, Giants 2