The Big Series

The series to watch this week is the matchup between the Dodgers and the Giants.

Originally Published: June 21, 2004
By Buster Olney | ESPN The Magazine

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants

The Big Stakes: Playing a four-game series, the division-leading Dodgers have a chance to create a little space between themselves and the pack. The Giants continue to crawl forward, improbably, and put themselves in position to take the NL West.

Barry Bonds

Eric Gagne

The Big Matchup: Eric Gagne vs. Barry Bonds. The closer who never blows saves against arguably the best player in history. If the game is on the line and Gagne must pitch to Bonds, it will be pure theater -- especially in light of the bomb Bonds slammed off Gagne back in April.

The Big Pivot: Game 3 of this series will pit two talented young pitchers who can be very good or much less than that -- the Dodgers' Jeff Weaver against San Francisco's Jerome Williams.

The Big Question: If the Giants -- left for dead a month ago, after some early injuries -- continue to surprise, will they add some more bodies for the pennant drive? Or will they be sellers before the trade deadline?

The Big Stat: The Dodgers have allowed only 12 unearned runs this season, second-best in the NL; on the other hand, the Giants have surrendered 32 unearned runs, and only three teams have allowed more.

Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. His book, "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty," will be released later this summer, and can be pre-ordered through

Buster Olney | email

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine