View from the North.

The Dodgers geared up for the stretch run Saturday by completing a 9-player blockbuster trade that brings first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to Los Angeles.

How will their National League rivals opponents respond?

For what it’s worth, sports columnist Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group opined that the first-place San Francisco Giants already improved when they lost their best hitter, Melky Cabrera, to a 50-game drug suspension 10 days ago. Uh-huh.

This was all written before the Gonzalez trade and after the Giants swept the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine, mind you, but read on:

It was the way the Giants dominated this series and have played over the course of the season-and the way they are built and managed-that showed why they’re better than the Dodgers.

-The Dodgers aren’t managed very adeptly, by the way. I’m not the biggest Bruce Bochy pal in the world, but Bochy vs. Mattingly, move for move, especially in the late innings, is not even fair.

-Bochy is a very good manager, thinks ahead, has been given a nice flexible roster by Brian Sabean, and Bochy is excellent at using all facets of it. And he happens to own Mattingly. Just owns him.

-Example: Bochy sets up his bullpen to get lefties ready for Andre Ethier in crucial situations, because Ethier can’t hit lefties. At all. What’s Mattingly’s counter-move? He doesn’t make counter-moves. He keeps Ethier in there, EVERY TIME. And Ethier makes an out, every time. Giants win that move. Every time.

-And sending the 2012 Juan Uribe into key pinch-hitting situations… ever? Uribe is not a major-league player now, yet up he goes to face Sergio Romo in the late-going. Mindless Mattingly, just mindless.

Practically, it’s all about winning the division, and I believe that means getting to 88 wins. The Giants only need to go 19-19 from here on out to get to 88, and with their relatively easy schedule, that should be the minimum for them.

The Dodgers, with a much tougher remaining schedule, will need to play extremely well from here out just to get within reach of 88, and I don’t think they’re up for that.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.