Even though the Dodgers sit in last place in the NL West, they have won five games in a row and are only 2.5 games behind the Giants. With the return of Hanley Ramirez and most recently Matt Kemp, the two should provide the Dodgers with the offensive spark that their 28th-ranked offense needs so desperately.
After a horrendous start to the season, a sweep of their division rival might be just what the doctor ordered to turn this Dodgers' season around.
One player to keep an eye on is Hanley Ramirez, who has been spraying the ball all over the ballpark for the first time since he was considered the best shortstop in baseball with the Florida Marlins. If he can return to being the caliber of player he was from 2007-10, the Dodgers' offensive production could skyrocket.
The Giants, on the other hand, have been in a downward spiral since mid-May. Their starting pitching and bullpen have been wildly inconsistent after both had combined to be one of the elite staffs in baseball for the past few years.
After a slow start, Matt Cain seems to have sorted things out. But outside of Madison Bumgarner, the Giants' starting rotation has been awful all season. Tim Lincecum's struggles, dating back to last year, have continued, and Barry Zito—while being effective at home—has been among the league's worst pitchers on the road.
On top of their staff's struggles, injuries have continued to pile up for the Giants, which is making 2013 even more reminiscent of 2011. After the Giants tried to defend their World Series title in 2011, injuries prevented them from even making the playoffs in 2012, as they had to use the disabled list 25 times, which was the most any team had amassed since 1987.
This year, Ryan Vogelsong, Santiago Casilla, Angel Pagan and Chad Gaudin are all on the DL at the moment, and players like Pablo Sandoval, Marco Scutaro, Hector Sanchez and Joaquin Arias have all been injured at one point this season.
With the Giants currently two games below .500, this marks the first time since 2008 that they have been under the break-even mark this late in the season. If the pitching improves and the Giants get healthy, there is more than enough time for the Giants to return as one of the favorites to win the NL pennant.
As of now though, the Dodgers are trending up while the Giants are going in the opposite direction.