(Photo credit: Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports)
Brandon Crawford plans to wave goodbye to an injury-plagued 2023 season -- and perhaps to a decorated, 13-year career -- when he returns in front of his hometown fans for the San Francisco Giants' final game Sunday against the playoff-bound Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Giants (79-82) and Dodgers (99-62) have split the season series 6-6 after each added a win over the past two nights, with San Francisco rebounding from a 6-2 loss in Friday's opener to claim a 2-1 victory on Saturday.
The games were managed in the home dugout by Kai Correa, promoted to the interim position before Friday's series opener following the Giants' firing of Gabe Kapler.
Crawford could only watch the split while he completed the final stages of rehabilitation from a strained right hamstring that has kept him out of the last nine games.
The 36-year-old, three-time All-Star hasn't said if his 1,654th game will be his last. But even if it is, the San Francisco Bay Area native would like to continue to make an impact on local sports, much as he's done throughout his career and especially the last three years, when he's been nominated three straight times for Major League Baseball's prestigious Roberto Clemente humanitarian award.
"I'm definitely proud of the stuff that we've done off the field," said Crawford, a two-time world champion who believes he's been equally powerful at Oracle Park as he and wife, Jalynne, have been in the community. "I would definitely like that to be part of what people remember me for."
Crawford figures to get his first hacks Sunday against Dodgers right-hander Bobby Miller (11-4, 3.89 ERA), who has won his past two road starts against the Seattle Mariners and Colorado Rockies, allowing a total of five runs in 12 2/3 innings.
The rookie suffered his first big-league loss in a 15-0 shellacking at home to the Giants in June, bombed for seven runs in 5 2/3 innings. The 24-year-old served up a three-run homer to LaMonte Wade Jr. in the loss. It's the only time he's faced the Giants.
Dodgers batters can expect to see a Giants rookie for the third straight day as left-hander Kyle Harrison (1-1, 4.85) has drawn the start.
After a stellar opening to his big-league debut in August, when he went 1-0 with a 1.86 ERA in two starts, the prized prospect has yet to win in September, going 0-1 with a 6.30 ERA in four starts.
The 22-year-old faced the Dodgers on the road in his most recent start on Sept. 21, limiting them to two runs and three hits in 5 1/3 innings in a 7-2 loss. J.D. Martinez had a homer off him in the game.
Martinez hit a three-run homer in Friday's win, then had one of the Dodgers' eight hits in Saturday's loss, continuing a hot streak he hopes to take into the playoffs.
Friday's homer was Martinez's eighth in September and put him over 1,000 RBIs in his career.
"J.D., man, he's on one right now," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "You look at the totality of his run production, given how much time he's missed, it's remarkable. He just comes to work every day ready to help us win, and he obviously makes us a lot better. What a season he's put together."
--Field Level Media