LOS ANGELES -- Despite having a starting rotation that continues to be ravaged by injuries, the National League West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers remain a confident bunch heading into a three-game showdown beginning Tuesday with the second-place San Francisco Giants.
"We're looking forward to it," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Adrian Gonzalez launched three of the Dodgers' seven home runs and had a career-high eight RBIs in Monday's 18-9 romp against the Reds in Cincinnati. However, the injury bug struck again as neck and back problems plagued starter Scott Kazmir, who couldn't make it out of the third inning and allowed four runs on six hits with three walks and a strikeout.
Kazmir is expected to undergo an MRI in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Kazmir is the latest in a string of casualties that have hurt the club's starters for much of the season. Ace Clayton Kershaw (herniated disk), who is scheduled to throw another bullpen session Tuesday and could return in September, Brandon McCarthy (right hip soreness) and Rich Hill (blisters on pitching finger) remain on the disabled list.
However, Hill, who has yet to make his Dodgers' debut since being acquired from the Oakland Athletics at the trading deadline, and Brett Anderson are penciled in to start against the Giants on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Anderson, who returned Aug. 14 from herniated disk surgery against the Pittsburgh Pirates, served up five runs and lasted just one inning before departing with a wrist injury. Anderson also had his last start Saturday cut short by a blister on his left index finger Saturday at Cincinnati.
Another starter, Bud Norris, has been in and out of the rotation with injuries, while Hyun-Jin Ryu (left shoulder surgery) has yet to pitch this season.
Still, despite all those painful scenarios, they haven't short-circuited the Dodgers (69-55) battling the Giants for the division lead.
The Giants (68-56), who were off Monday and trail the Dodgers by a game after a four-game split with the New York Mets over the weekend, have stumbled to an 11-23 record since the All-Star break.
"I do think we're playing better ball," manager Bruce Bochy said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "The guys are swinging it pretty good. Some games we've scored some runs and the pitching has not been quite as sharp."
Giants All-Star Madison Bumgarner (12-7, 2.25 ERA) will oppose the Dodgers' Kenta Maeda (12-7, 3.29 ERA) in the opener.
Bumgarner is 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers this season. In his last start Thursday against the Mets, Bumgarner gave up four runs on six hits in five innings but claimed the decision in a 10-7 win. He also homered.
The Giants have claimed six of the 10 meetings against the Dodgers.
Maeda last pitched Aug. 16 at Philadelphia, fanning nine, walking one and holding the Phillies to two runs on three hits in six innings. Maeda is 4-0 with a 3.45 ERA since July 23.
He beat the Giants in his only start against them on April 17, limiting San Francisco to a run on four hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts and a walk in a 3-1 decision.