Dodger Lineup vs. GiantsGordon 6 M.Ellis 4 Kemp 8 Ethier 9 Rivera 3 Abreu 7 Uribe 5 AJ Ellis 2 Ted Lilly 1 Barry Zito-1-0 vs. Ted Lilly-3-0
The Dodgers and Giants will begin a new chapter in their storied rivalry starting tonight at Dodger Stadium. The three game set marks the first time these two teams have met this season. Thinking of the Dodger/Giant rivalry brings memories of loudmouth Bill Terry, Bobby Thompson’s shot heard round the world, annoying Joe Morgon’s home run in 82, Mike Piazza’s two home runs in 93, Steve Finley’s walk-off slam in 04, and Clayton Kershaw’s epic domination over rival ace Tim Lincecum and the Giants. These two teams will meet 17 more times after tonight, and play each other the last three games of the season. This is only the fist battle of a long war.
The Giants are limping into Dodger Stadium, even after beating up on the Brewers two in a row, snapped a six game home losing streak. The Giants again have been decimated by injuries. Blackbeard, Brian Wilson, blew out his arm and had to have Tommy John Surgery and is out for the year. Lefty Jeremy Affeldt is also on the DL. Apparently we have just learned that Giants reliever Guillermo Mota, the former Dodger, tested positive for a performing enhancing drug again. If you remember he was suspended back in 2006. This time he tested positive for some substance called Clenbuteral. I have no idea what this substance is, but apparently it is some kind of performing enhancing substance. Of course you couldn’t tell it was working looking at Mota’s awful start (ERA over 5.00). Mota was suspended for 100 games by MLB. Second baseman Freddy Sanchez never came back, Aubrey Huff has been battling an anxiety disorder, (Dodger fans can relate, remember Kuo?) and Tim Lincecum has gotten off to a poor start. The biggest blow to the Giants though is losing third baseman, resident fatman, Pablo Sandoval. The portly third sacker broke his hand again, and he will be out for 4-6 weeks. Conner Gillaspie has been starting in his place.
The Giants hobble into Dodger Stadium with a 14-14 record in second place, four games behind the first place Dodgers. They don’t have any middle infielders, and their defense has been horrendous. The Giants defense is ranked last in the National League in fielding percentage and most errors allowed. Their offense has been a bit better, ranked sixth in average and ninth in runs scored. The stat that jumped out at me the most about the Giants weak offense, is that they lead the league in fewest whiffs. Their hitters make contact more than any other team. The Dodgers are a close second ranked in fewest whiffs from their hitters.
The Dodgers come home with several injuries as well. Juan Uribe is supposed to see a specialist in Los Angeles for his banged up wrist. Apparently he is healthy enough to be playing since he is in the lineup tonight. I am guessing this means no DL for the big lug. Jerry Hairston is nursing a sore hamstring after pulling up lame in Chicago yesterday on a single. From what I have read, the injury may not be as serious as we had previously thought, possibly being just a leg cramp, and we will have more information on that later.
It is believed that Justin Sellers might be headed back to Los Angeles. The most important injury is Matt Kemp’s tight hamstring. Bison injured his hammy on Saturday in the ninth inning, and the Dodgers held him out of yesterday’s game for precautionary reasons. He did get into the game as a pinch-hitter which kept alive his consecutive games played streak at 392. He is back in the lineup tonight, making me very happy, happy indeed!
Tonight’s pitching match-ups, has two crafty veteran lefties facing off. For the Giants, lefty Barry Zito, who is the ire of many Giants fans disdain, has gotten off to a great start. A 1-0 record and a 1.76 ERA, including a complete game shutout of Colorado at Coors Field. Zito in his career against the Dodgers is holding them to a collective .227 average, with five home runs. The Dodger that hits Zito the best is of course Matt Kemp. Bison is hitting .426 against Zito ( 20 for 47) with two home runs, seven RBI, and an OPS of over 1.000. Bison must be in the lineup tonight. Hairston is hitting .364, 8 for 22, but of course he won’t be playing tonight. Hairston, Adam Kennedy, and Juan Rivera, have all hit home runs off Zito, who is 6-8 with a 3.97 ERA, and 97 whiffs against the Dodgers. Despite the good start, Zito did walk seven batters in his last start. Needless to say, the former Cy Younger is still prone to the meltdown.
The Dodgers will counter with lefty Ted Lilly, who may look old, but has pitched anything but. The 33 year old wily veteran, has a 3-0 record, a 1.38 ERA. Since last August Lilly is 8-4, and is looking to go 4-0 on the season, to join Cappy as the only two Dodger starters with four wins. Lilly who had to leave his last start in Colorado, after six innings with a strained oblique muscle, threw his bullpen session without pain, and is supposed to be fine for tonight’s start. Lilly has struggled against the Giants in the past. He is 3-4 with a 5.81 ERA vs. our hated rivals This current group of Giants are hitting .250 against Lilly. Buster Posey is the one to watch for, he is hitting .375 off Lilly, (3 for 10), with two home runs, and three RBIs. Lilly will be facing a depleted Giants lineup that is without Pablo Sandoval, and should feature youngsters Brandon Belt, and or Brett Pill. Ted Lilly has allowed just one home run since August of 2011.
Please also note, that new Dodger Bobby Abreu will be wearing number23, instead of number 33. Oh did I forget to mention it’s Loney’s birthday today? Tough break for him to be celebrating it from the bench. Happy Birthday Loney!
This is also the first game of the Magic Johnson/GBM era, of Dodger Baseball, and it’s cooler bag night! Awesome. So let’s kick this homestand off with a win, cooler bag style. Come on Giants, bring it… Bring it! Go Blue!