Dodger Lineup vs. ArizonaTony Gwynn 8 Elian Herrera 4 Bobby Abreu 7 Andre Ethier 9 Adam Kennedy 5 James Loney 3 A.J. Ellis 2 Dee Gordon 6 Aaron Harang 1
Aaron Harang-3-2 vs. Trevor Cahill-2-4 4.01
Tonight the Dodgers play game two of this three game series against the Dbacks in Arizona. After last night’s 6-1 win over Arizona, the Dodgers are an MLB best 29-13. The Dodgers have a seven game lead in the NL west over the second place Giants, and a 10.5 game lead on Arizona. The Dodgers come into tonight with a five game winning streak, and have scored six runs or more in five straight games.
On the injury front, nothing new to report. Jerry Hairston is still due to be activated on Friday, when the Dodgers return home. Matt Kemp is still on track for his May 29 return. Juan Uribe is still waiting to see a wrist specialist. I am not sure what they are waiting for. It seems like Uribe has been waiting forever to see that specialist. Mattingly has said that he is improving, but as to when or if he returns I anybody’s guess.
Tonight marks the return of Dee Gordon to the Dodger lineup. The struggling Gordon has been riding the pine for the last few days. My confidence in Dee is waning, and I am very impressed with Don Mattingly for doing the right thing here, and removing him from the leadoff spot. Tonight Gordon bats eighth. Young players are going to struggle, it happens, but I have been saying for weeks that the Dodgers needed to move him down in the order. Elian Herrera starts at second base, batting second. With the righty Cahill on the mound, Bobby Abreu returns batting third. Adam Kennedy again bats fifth, at third base.
Let’s talk about tonight’s pitching match-ups. Aaron Harang will take the mound for the Dodgers. Harang has pitched very well over his last three starts. In his last three starts, Harang is 2-0, with a 1.29 ERA, allowing just three runs, and whiffing ten. His last start he shut down San Diego through seven innings. Harang has been pretty consistent whether on the road or at home. He has almost a two and a half whiff to walk ratio, although it is a little lower on the road. His whiff per nine rate is only slightly higher at home, 7.5, compared to 7.1. Harang’s ERA on the road is 4.03, while his ERA is 3.54 at home. Harang will be pitching against a team he has had some success against. Looking at his numbers, he has pitched very well in Arizona. Harang is 3-6 but with a 1.99 ERA against the snakes. In Chase Field he is very tough. Harang is 1-3 with a 1.38 ERA, in four games his whiff per nine rate is nearly seven. Unfortunatly Harang has never gotten much run support in games he pitches in Chase Field, which could explain his poor record, but good ERA.
Now while Harang has had a lot of success overall, this current group of Dbacks have hit him. Collectively the Dbacks are hitting .291 off of Harang. Lyle Overbay of all the guys has done the most damage. Overbay is hitting .409 (9 for 22) against Harang. Chris Young is another guy that has hit Harang hard over the years. Young is hitting .353 (6 for 17), with three home runs, and five RBIs. Snakes catcher Miguel Montero has also done damage, going 7 for 14 with a home run. Justin Upton however has struggled against Aaron Harang. Upton is only 2 for 15, which is a .125 batting average.
The Dbacks will counter with right hander Trevor Cahill. The 24 year old righty from Oceanside, was acquired via trade from the Oakland A’s during the winter. Cahill who won 18 games back in 2010, has been merely mediocre this year for the snakes. Cahill is 2-4 with a 4.01 ERA. The Dodgers haven’t really ever faced him. Cahill only has five career innings against the Dodgers. The only Dodger with more than a few at-bats facing Cahill is Bobby Abreu. His numbers against Cahill aren’t very good. Abreu is hitting .143, (3 for 21), but he does have a home run and four RBIs. Cahill has struggled of late and hasn’t won since May 1.
It’s think blue t.v. tonight, as the game will be televised on KCAL 9. Game time at 6:40. Can the Dodgers be snake charmers, and keep their streak going for another night? Keep it here to find out. Go Blue.