The Los Angeles Dodgers have a chance to tie their franchise record for wins in a season when they go for two in a row against the host San Francisco on Saturday afternoon.
With the spotlight on outgoing Giants manager Bruce Bochy in the opener of the last series before his announced retirement, the Dodgers (104-56) used three home runs, including one by Cody Bellinger, to overpower their National League West rivals 9-2 on Friday night.
The 104th win allowed the Dodgers to tie the second-most in their storied history with the 1942 and 2017 teams.
In between, the Dodgers, then based in Brooklyn, won 105 games in 1953, a total the club has a chance to surpass by weekend's end.
More important than Friday's win was left-hander Rich Hill's pain-free pregame bullpen session, which drew rave reviews from Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
"Richie was really good," the skipper said. "Today was the best he's thrown the baseball, including the games. It was electric today."
Roberts has not announced a playoff rotation, but is expected to go with some arrangement of Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and Hyun-Jin Ryu in the first three games.
Hill is slated to start Sunday's regular-season finale at San Francisco. If all goes well, he would be a candidate for Game 4 of the NL Division Series, should one be necessary.
Ryu (13-5, 2.41 ERA) will make his final regular-season start Saturday, with a chance to wrap up the league's ERA crown.
He begins the day with a slim lead over the New York Mets' Jacob deGrom (2.43), who is not scheduled to make another start.
If Ryu were able to retain or build upon his lead over deGrom, it's possible the Mets could use their ace in relief on Sunday, as he will have had three days' rest since his Wednesday start.
Ryu has gone 1-0 in two starts against the Giants this season and 6-6 with a 2.79 ERA against them in 17 career starts.
Bellinger also has a personal incentive as he attempts to build upon his Most Valuable Player credentials. He went 2-for-3 with a home run with an intentional walk on Friday.
The homer was his 47th, which ranks third in the NL behind Pete Alonso (52) and Eugenio Suarez (49).
With his record in 13 seasons at the helm of the Giants having fallen to 1,052-1,052 as a result of Friday's loss, Bochy enters the weekend needing a sweep to finish with a winning San Francisco ledger.
The Giants (77-83) took a few minutes between Bochy tributes to announce before Friday's game that Kevin Pillar had been selected as the winner of the club's prestigious Willie Mac Award denoting the team's most inspirational player.
"I didn't know Kevin before he got here," Bochy said after the announcement. "I heard a lot of things about him, and it was all that was advertised. How he plays the game, how dependable, how durable he is. I mean, I just took for granted he was fine every day and put his name in the lineup."
The Giants are expected to send rookie right-hander Logan Webb (2-2, 5.61 ERA) in search of Bochy's 2,004th career win Saturday. The 22-year-old has never faced the Dodgers.
--Field Level Media
Dodgers need win over Giants to tie team mark
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