Already eliminated from postseason contention, the Giants will have one goal in mind when they head down the Pacific Coast this weekend for a four-game set with the Dodgers: playing spoiler.
With San Francisco's hopes of defending its World Series championship from a season ago now officially dashed, the club will shift its focus the last few weeks to ending its frustrating 2013 campaign on a high note. A nice way to start to that objective, of course, would be raining on its division rival's parade, or at least postponing it.
The Dodgers' magic number to clinch the National League West is down to six, despite a loss to the D-backs on Wednesday night. That means they could have their victory party during this series, if Arizona also loses at least twice to Colorado this weekend. The Giants will do their best to delay the proceedings.
"That's going to be our job. We don't want to be the ones to make anybody celebrating," Giants outfielder Angel Pagan said. "We want to ruin parties. That's what we want to do. That's part of our mentality from now on. We just want to play hard, like we're going to go somewhere and finish strong."
Said Giants relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt: "You don't want anybody to clinch on you. So yeah, that's just kind of an incentive to keep that from happening. Let them clinch on somebody else."
As for Thursday's series opener at Dodger Stadium, the matchup will be a meeting of two of the better right-handers in baseball with Matt Cain going for the Giants and Zack Greinke taking the mound for the Dodgers.
While Cain hasn't had the best of years in 2013 -- he's 8-9 with a 4.37 ERA -- he's coming off a solid outing his last time out, when he held the D-backs to two runs over 6 1/3 innings in his first start since a brief stint on the disabled list. On Thursday, however, Cain will be looking to avenge one of the worst outings of his career back on July 5 when he surrendered eight runs to the Dodgers in just 2 1/3 innings.
"I just want to finish the season healthy, hopefully get some good momentum going into the offseason," Cain said.
For Greinke, the 29-year-old continues to be on an incredible run of dominance dating all the way back to July 25, the last time he allowed more than two earned runs in a start. In his last outing, his eighth straight of giving up two or fewer runs, Greinke went six innings vs. the Reds while striking out nine.
Giants: Affeldt ready for return, Gaudin close behind
Sidelined since July 21, Jeremy Affeldt (groin) is expected to be activated from the disabled list Thursday.
"I feel fine. I feel great," Affeldt said. "Whenever they decide to let me throw, I'll be more than happy to do that for them."
Meanwhile, Chad Gaudin (right side carpal tunnel syndrome) will throw at least one more simulated game before being activated from the DL.
"He doesn't feel he's quite ready. In L.A., either tomorrow or Friday he will throw to hitters, see if we can get him to where he's comfortable and feels he's ready," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday.
Dodgers: Garcia joins relief corps
Looking to protect the left-handed side of their bullpen, the Dodgers called up southpaw Onelki Garcia on Wednesday. The 24-year-old native of Cuba, the organization's No. 8 prospect, according to MLB.com, had been working out at the Dodgers' Spring Training facility after splitting this season between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Albuquerque. He posted a 2.90 ERA over 35 combined appearances, including six starts.
Garcia made his debut in the ninth inning on Wednesday night, but was pulled after walking the only batter he faced on four pitches.
The Dodgers have used Paco Rodriguez 70 times in his first full Major League season, while fellow lefty J.P. Howell has made 59 appearances spanning 55 1/3 innings, his most in four years. Garcia made a brief debut on Wednesday, walking the only hitter he faced on four pitches.
"Onelki will hopefully be able to take a little pressure off those guys as far as usage, and it gives him a little experience," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "We felt like it's a good time to protect Paco and J.P. At the same time, it gives him a little taste of what's going on here. Hopefully it's something positive for him moving forward."
• With their win Wednesday, the Giants moved to 38-38 at home this season. The club, however, is just 28-42 on the road.
• The Dodgers are 29-29 this season against NL West opponents.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.