The Red Sox are looking to strengthen their grip on the American League East lead. The defending World Series champion Giants, meanwhile, are just trying to climb out of the National League West cellar.
Coming off a disappointing 2012, Boston has been arguably the AL's best team this season. San Francisco, winners of two of the last three Fall Classics, has scuffled and struggled across the board. The two teams have gone in opposite directions this year, but they'll meet for three games this week, starting Monday night at AT&T Park.
Monday's series opener features the marquee pitching matchup, at least by sheer name recognition, with Boston's Jon Lester set to face San Francisco's Tim Lincecum. Both have put up fairly disappointing numbers this season, particularly compared to the ace-like form they've flashed in their respective careers.
Lincecum is coming off a rough outing, having allowed six runs in six innings against the Nationals on Wednesday, but he's mostly been trending in the right direction lately. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner has turned in a quality start in eight of his last 13 outings, a span during which he owns a 3.80 ERA.
Still, Lincecum's 3.00 ERA in August is the lowest figure he's posted in a single month this season, so he'll look to put his last outing behind him when he takes the mound at home Monday night.
Lester, meanwhile, is coming off a quality start Wednesday in Toronto but still took the loss after allowing two earned runs over 6 1/3 innings. It was his second straight quality outing after an ugly 4 1/3-inning start against the D-backs on Aug. 2.
"I thought Jon, he gave us a solid six-plus innings of work," Red Sox manager John Farrell said Wednesday. "He did his job."
Red Sox: Ortiz to get a chance at first
David Ortiz will play first base at least two games in San Francisco, as Mike Napoli is day to day with a left foot injury.
• The Red Sox are the only team in the Majors this season that has not been on a losing streak of four or more games. Boston's 1903 team was the only squad in franchise history to go an entire year without a four-game losing skid. The 2005 Cardinals were the last Major League club to do so over a full season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Giants: Scutaro pinch-hits, hopes to return Monday
Second baseman Marco Scutaro was out of the starting lineup Sunday due to a tight lower back, but he did make a pinch-hitting appearance in the series finale against the Marlins. Scutaro was uncertain before Sunday's game whether he would be available to start Monday's game, and a decision likely won't come until Monday afternoon.
"It's fine," Scutaro said. "I have to wait for the six-hour flight. It might be there."
• The Giants have won 12 of the past 14 games in which they've scored four runs or more. They are 43-13 overall this season when scoring at least four runs.
• Sergio Romo became just the sixth pitcher in Giants history to record 30 saves in a season when he locked down his 30th save in Saturday night's victory over the Marlins.
• The Giants are 34-22 this season when their starter throws a quality start. When they don't get a quality outing, the Giants are 21-46.
• Farrell changed the way the Red Sox are traveling out West, deciding to let them sleep in Boston on Sunday night after the lengthy series finale against the Yankees, and fly out Monday morning. Of course, most teams fly out after their game. Farrell is hoping the extra rest helps down the stretch.