Johnny Cueto and Scott Kazmir will get their first taste of the rivalry between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday after shining in their first starts with their new clubs.
Cueto looks to help the Giants take three of four from the Dodgers in his home debut, one day after the matchup between Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw resulted in a second straight extra-inning affair in the series.
San Francisco (4-2) signed Cueto, the NL Cy Young Award runner-up to Kershaw in 2014, to a six-year contract worth $130 million after he helped Kansas City win the World Series last year.
He proved his worth in his first start Tuesday, allowing one run over seven innings of a 2-1 win at Milwaukee.
''I felt very comfortable since Day 1. I'm going to be here for a long time based on the contract that I signed,'' Cueto said. ''It's good that I had a good outing, especially the first one.''
The same can be said for Kazmir, who signed a three-year deal for $48 million to replace Zack Greinke as the Dodgers' No. 2 starter. Kazmir gave up one hit over six innings in a 3-0 victory at San Diego on Tuesday.
''I just wanted to get out there and have a good start to the season, get some outs early and just get in the dugout as quick as possible,'' Kazmir said. ''I've got a defense behind me that gives me a great deal of confidence to make pitches even behind in the count. Overall it was a good day.''
This series began with the Giants winning 12-6 on Thursday before a wild game Friday. Los Angeles' Ross Stripling was pulled despite not allowing a hit in 7 1-3 innings during his major league debut, and San Francisco went on to win 3-2 on Brandon Crawford's solo homer in the 10th.
On Saturday, Bumgarner homered off Kershaw for the second straight season, but the Dodgers (4-2) scored once in the ninth to tie it and won 3-2 in 10.
''We're going against the best pitcher in baseball, we had the lead with the closer out there. That's all you can ask for,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. ''This was one that got away from us today.''
Cueto went 2-5 in eight starts against Los Angeles while pitching for Cincinnati despite posting a 2.79 ERA. Chase Utley has the most success among the Dodgers when facing the right-hander, going 9 for 21 with a homer.
Kazmir, who made his first NL start Tuesday, has faced the Giants twice - both in San Francisco. The left-hander pitched seven scoreless innings in a 6-1 win while with Oakland in July 2014 and lost 3-1 on Aug. 11 after allowing two earned runs over 5 2-3 for Houston.
Brandon Belt homered twice off Kazmir last season, and he agreed to a $72.8 million, five-year contract Saturday that starts in 2017.
The Dodgers will be without outfielder Carl Crawford after he was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a lingering lower-back injury. His replacement Saturday, Scott Van Slyke, left in the third inning with lower-back tightness.
"I just wanted to make sure it didn't get any worse," Van Slyke told MLB's official website. "I felt like I was good enough to go and finish the game, some guys are banged-up, but I took that swing and felt it was time to come in and get treatment."