Dodgers will make at least one Sunday Night Baseball appearance in 2013.

ESPNThe Dodgers’ game in San Francisco against the Giants on May 5 has been selected for a Sunday Night Baseball telecast on ESPN. It was one of 11 dates the network announced today as part of its first-half schedule:

March 31: Texas Rangers at Houston Astros
April 7: Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers
April 14: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees
April 21: St. Louis Cardinals at Philadelphia Phillies
April 28: Atlanta Braves at Detroit Tigers
May 5: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants
May 12: Los Angeles Angels at Chicago White Sox
May 19: Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers
May 26: Atlanta Braves at New York Mets
July 14: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
July 21: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

The second-half schedule is yet to be determined. The Dodgers made four Sunday Night Baseball appearances in 2012 (May 20, July 1, September 9, September 23) and went 3-1.

Brandon League has a bold prediction, a new contract, and a cool Halloween costume.

Brandon League's Halloween costume

Dodgers pitcher Brandon League is dressing up as Psy for Halloween. The Korean rapper is best only known in United States for the song and music video “Gangnam Style,” a frequent champion on “Dodgers Jukebox” this year.

Coincidentally, San Francisco Giants broadcasters Jon Miller and Dave Flemming were doing the “Gangnam Style” dance today — a “perk,” I suppose, when your team wins the World Series and throws a parade.

Usually, another “perk” of winning the World Series is that you’re considered the favorites to win your division next season. Not in League’s opinion.

“We are going to be the team to beat next year,” he said. “We have everyone coming back, everyone coming back healthy.”

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Poll: Who’s the favorite?

Six days ago, Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp was asked about his team entering the 2013 season as the favorites in the National League West. His response: “I don’t know if we’ll be named favorites. The Giants made it to the World Series.”

Who’s the favorite to win the National League West in 2013?

Less than a week later, the Giants are world champs after sweeping the Detroit Tigers in four games. San Francisco, like the Dodgers, also has few key free agents hitting the market. Aging second baseman Marco Scutaro is probably the biggest, followed by center fielder Angel Pagan and left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt.

So even though it’s early, it’s still worth asking … who is the favorite to win the National League West in 2013? I’ll even throw the Diamondbacks, Padres and Rockies into this poll for the sake of fairness.

There will be a new poll here every day for the next month, so keep coming back. No electoral college here – popular vote wins.

The view from San Francisco.

Most of the prose flowing from San Francisco about its baseball team focused on the playoffs. Must be nice.

Seems like the Giants are focused on the playoffs, too. They didn’t exactly blow through the Padres in San Diego over the weekend, losing 3-1 on Saturday and needing back-to-back ninth inning home runs Sunday to salvage a series victory. Writes Henry Schulman in the San Francisco Chronicle:

The optimist would say that the Giants are going through a temporary lackadaisical spell with their playoff ticket punched, which is not uncommon, and that once their Division Series begins Saturday, they will be back on track.

On the other hand, that rose-colored picture can be hard to see through the haze of errors, mental blunders and pitching troubles plaguing the National League West champs.

Just how lackadaisical have the Giants been?
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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:
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Deadline recap: Rangers win Dempster derby

The trade deadline has come and gone, and the Dodgers will have to be satisfied with a haul that includes third baseman/shortstop Hanley Ramirez, outfielder Shane Victorino and relief pitchers Randy Choate and Brandon League.

Just as notable was one player they didn’t get: Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, who went to the Texas Rangers for third base prospect Christian Villanueva and pitching prospect Kyle Hendricks.

Dempster, whose 2.25 ERA is second in the majors, would have instantly upgraded a rotation whose best right-hander is either Chad Billingsley or Aaron Harang, depending on the night. (Last night, it wasn’t Harang.) He also would have cost the Dodgers a pitching prospect they did not want to part with –Allen Webster and Zach Lee remain at Double-A Chattanooga.

Since he’s a free agent at the end of the season, the Dodgers could still go after Dempster in the winter.

The trade is another strike in the burgeoning arms race in the American League West, where the Angels stole headlines last week by obtaining Zach Greinke from Milwaukee. The Rangers also obtained Cubs catcher Geovany Soto in a separate deal last night.

It also points to August as an interesting month if the Dodgers want to obtain a starting pitcher through the waiver process.

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Giants 4, Dodgers 1.

The Dodgers couldn’t take advantage of another strong Nate Eovaldi start in a 4-1 loss to the Giants before an announced crowd of 10,084 at Scottsdale Stadium. [box score]

Mark Ellis and James Loney — the only two expected opening-day starters in the lineup — each had two hits. Jerry Hairston Jr. and Josh Bard had the only other hits for the Dodgers off Giants starter Yusmeiro Petit and four relievers.

Eovaldi allowed three hits and two runs, both earned, the most runs he’s allowed in five spring starts. The right-hander struck out none, walked two, and saw his Cactus League earned-run average rise to 1.72.

“He continues to get more off-speed pitches,” manager Don Mattingly said. “He was using the curveball today more, using the changeup some.”

Reliever Todd Coffey allowed the Giants’ other two runs, on a two-run home run by Nate Schierholtz in the eighth inning.

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Giants 3, Dodgers 3.

The Dodgers salvaged a point in the standings before an announced crowd of 13,655 — a Cactus League record — at Camelback Ranch. [box score]

Dodgers right-hander Aaron Harang pitched four interesting innings; the stage was set when a whipping wind blowing out to left field picked up prior to the game. Brandon Belt benefited when his fly ball to left turned into a two-run homer that gave the Giants a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning.

But those were the only runs Harang allowed, thanks in part to a first-inning double play started by Justin Sellers at third base. Harang walked none, struck out four, and allowed seven hits in his third appearance of the spring.

The Dodgers got a run back in the bottom of the first. Sellers led off with a double and came around to score on a single by Juan Rivera. That was the only run the Dodgers’ lineup — counting only Rivera, Matt Kemp, James Loney among the projected opening-day starters — could produce against journeyman left-hander Brian Burres in three innings.

Kemp singled in Tim Federowicz in the fifth inning and Luis Cruz homered (to left field, naturally) in the sixth to put the Dodgers ahead 3-2.

In the eighth inning, Gregor Blanco doubled off minor-league pitcher Shawn Tolleson and scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly by Belt.

That accounted for all the scoring which, naturally, barely accounted for the story in the Dodgers’ third tie game of the Cactus League (8-4-3).

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Giants 8, Dodgers 4.

Ted Lilly allowed five runs in two innings in his spring debut, and the Dodgers could never catch up in an 8-4 loss to the Giants at Camelback Ranch, their first loss of the spring. [Box score]

Andre Ethier hit his first Cactus League home run, one of nine hits by nine different Dodgers.

Lilly allowed a home run to the first batter of the game, Melky Cabrera, who belted a 3-2 fastball out of the park to left field. The next batter, Emmanuel Burriss, doubled. Brett Pill followed that with another home run off a 2-2 fastball to left-center field.

The Giants increased their lead to 5-0 off a pair of runs in the second inning, thanks to a pair of doubles, a single and a wild pitch.

“It’s spring training but you’re still looking for results,” Lilly said. “I was going into the game with a plan of really just trying to execute fastballs, my fastball to both side of the plate. I didn’t intend to throw too many breaking balls, but when you’re not executing with location, for me, it puts me in a position where I have to throw more breaking balls. I threw more than I wanted to.”

Jamey Wright, Ramon Troncoso (on another Cabrera homer) and Matt Chico each allowed a run in their lone inning out of the bullpen. Josh Lindblom, Michael Antonini and Josh Wall did not.

A few more notes that won’t make tomorrow’s editions:
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Postgame: Dodgers 9, Giants 1

The Dodgers beat the Giants 9-1 tonight in San Francisco. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

Randy Wolf was dominant in eight innings of work, allowing just one run on three hits and a walk. He got his sixth win of the year and lowered his ERA to 3.43.

Manny Ramirez was truly a formidable force in the Dodger lineup, going 2-for-3 with a double, a homer, and 3 RBI, as well as two intentional walks. No. 3 hitter Andre Ethier went 3-for-5.

The runs for the Dodgers came in bunches — four in the fifth and five in the seventh. Ethier led off the scoring with a fifth-inning two-run double, and Matt Kemp capped it with a three-run homer in the seventh.

ETC…ETC:

Juan Castro made the start for the injured Orlando Hudson. Hudson’s likely to miss tomorrow’s series capper but is listed as day-to-day.

Jeff Weaver was announced as the starter for tomorrow’s game, replacing ace Chad Billingsley, who’s out with a hamstring strain. Weaver has posted a 2-1 record and 3.47 ERA in five starts so far this season while working primarily out of the bullpen.

The Giants had only one hit after the fifth inning, a single by Pablo Sandoval in the ninth. James McDonald retired the side in the ninth on just seven pitches by then getting Juan Uribe to ground into a double play and Ryan Garko to foul out.

ON DECK:

Jeff Weaver (5-4, 3.90) faces Tim Lincecum (12-3, 2.20) as the Dodgers try to sweep San Francisco.