Dodgers Dugout: San Francisco is like the Twilight Zone for the Dodgers

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and I'm wondering why the Dodgers seem to forget how to play baseball against the Giants.

Giants problem

Imagine if you will the Dodgers getting on a plane to San Francisco. As the players file aboard, Rod Serling suddenly appears in the foreground and starts speaking. “This is the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. For the last five seasons, they have been one of the better teams in baseball with a core group of men that know each others' thoughts and moves. What they don't know, and have never known, is that they are about to take another fateful plane ride to the Bay Area, where they will enter another dimension of sight and sound that will cause this team to play like a bunch of minor leaguers. Because the Los Angeles Dodgers are about to again enter — the Twilight Zone.”

The Dodgers lost two of three to the Giants at San Francisco, which should come as no surprise, considering their record is 15-29 against the Giants at San Francisco since 2013. If you narrow it down to the last three seasons, the Dodgers are 6-20 in San Francisco.

“Yeah, but they won Wednesday,” you are saying to yourself. Yes, but that wasn't a surprise either, since Clayton Kershaw was pitching. Of the six wins the Dodgers have over the Giants in San Francisco since the start of the 2015 season, Kershaw was the starter five times. Because not even the Twilight Zone can hurt him.

The Dodgers started their division title streak in 2013, and this is their overall record against NL West teams in that span:

San Diego: 53-29

Arizona: 52-31

Colorado: 49-36

San Francisco: 38-47

I have no explanation for why the Dodgers have trouble with the Giants, other than the Giants are usually a really good team. But the fact they are 15-29 at AT&T Park and 23-18 against the Giants at Dodger Stadium is mystifying. I can point out a lot of stats that show why they lose there, but if you've watched them play there, you see a team that looks nervous, looks tight and looks as if they shouldn't be anywhere near a division title.

By the way, Giants pitcher Matt Cain is 2-0 with a 0.71 ERA against the Dodgers this season. Against everyone else he is 1-1 with a 5.46 ERA.

Remember Dave Kingman?

Cody Bellinger has struck out 15 times in his last 28 at-bats, but in that span he is hitting .286 with three doubles and two homers. His slash line over that span, despite the strikeouts: .286/.355/.643. Six of his eight hits have been for extra bases.

Here's a sign for you

So, Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto gets mad because he thinks the Dodgers are stealing signs, leading them to score three quick runs against him Wednesday. Here's a thought: Come up with better signs. Of course, someone on the Giants complaining about sign stealing is pretty rich, considering that whole 1951 pennant race.

Good news

Rich Hill said he had no blister problems after his five-inning stint against the Giants on Tuesday.

Comparison

The Dodgers are trying to win their fifth consecutive division title. Let's take a look at this year's record and how it compares through the same point the last four seasons.

2017: 23-18, third place, 2 1/2 games behind Colorado

2016: 21-20, second place, 2 1/2 games behind San Francisco

2015: 25-16, first place, 1 1/2 games ahead of San Francisco

2014: 22-19, third place, 3 1/2 games behind San Francisco

2013: 17-24, fifth place, seven games behind Arizona

Ask Ross Porter

Once again, former Dodgers announcer Ross Porter is back to answer select reader questions. Email me a question for Ross, and I will pass it on. Here's this week's answer:

Fred Hoffman asks: Ross, I watched a replay of Game 3 of the 1978 World Series the other night and the announcers brought up the fact that the Dodgers had four catchers on their roster as they played the Yankees. Who were they?

Ross: Steve Yeager, Joe Ferguson, Jerry Grote and Johnny Oates. Brad Gulden was a fifth catcher used by the Dodgers that season.

Here are some numbers for you:

Yeager

Regular season: 94 games/266 plate appearances/.193 average

World Series: 5 games/4 for 13

Ferguson

Regular season: 67/235/.237

World Series: 2/2 for 4

Grote

Regular season: 41/83/.271

World Series: 2/0 for 0

Oates

Regular season: 40/80/.307

World Series: 1/1 for 1

Gulden

Regular season: 3/0 for 4

FYI: Steve Garvey was the highest-paid Dodger player in 1978, earning $333,333.

Next series

Thursday, 7 p.m. PT, Miami (Edinson Volquez) at Dodgers (Hyun-jin Ryu)

Friday, 7 p.m. PT, Miami (Justin Nicolino) at Dodgers (Alex Wood)

Saturday, 7 p.m. PT, Miami (Dan Straily) at Dodgers (Julio Urias)

Sunday, 1 p.m. PT, Miami (TBA) at Dodgers (Brandon McCarthy)

KTLA games

Sunday, May 21, 1 p.m. PT, Miami at Dodgers

And finally

With too many starting pitchers, Dodgers turn to the 10-day disabled list. Read it here.

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter:@latimeshouston.

Houston.mitchell@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimeshouston

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