Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Dodgers Begin Battle for First Place Tonight in San Francisco


Dodgers Lineup vs. Giants

Hairston 7

M.Ellis 4

Kemp 8

Ethier 9

Ramirez 5

Loney 3

Cruz 5

Ellis 2

Fife 1

Stephen Fife-0-0 vs. Matt Cain-10-3

 

The Dodgers fly into San Francisco for one of the most important series of the season, that will end their current ten game road trip. So far the Dodgers are 4-3 on this current trip. After sweeping the Mets at Citi Field, and winning the first of the four game series against St. Louis, the Dodgers lost three crapfests in a row to the Cardinals, including a 12 inning crapfest.

As the Dodgers prepare for their three game series against the Giants, the trade deadline is only days away, and the rumors continue to swirl. The Dodgers have been rumored to be involved in trade talks for the following players, Ryan Dempster, Brian Lahair, Alfonso Soriano, Angry Bird Man Zack Greinke, Shane Victorino, James Shields. So basically everyone. Regular Bird Man Cole Hamels signed an extension with the Phillies, so he is no longer available. While the Dodgers have been on this trip, they stunned the Baseball world a couple of days ago, by trading Starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and a minor league pitcher to the Miami Marlins for former Batting champion Hanley Ramirez, and lefty reliever Randy Choate. It’s no secret the Dodgers have been looking to upgrade their corner infielders, sine Juan Uribe is an Automatic out, and James Loney is utterly useless. We had our first looks at Hanley during the St. Louis series as he tripled in his first Dodger at-bat. Going from Uribe to Hanley at third base is like going from a hand drawn picture on a napkin that I drew after a meal to the picasso or Mona Lisa. Ramirez will continue to play third base for the next few games as Mattingly gets him comfortable before switching him over to shortstop until Gordon returns. Once that happens, Ramirez should move back over to third base, and hopefully Uribe moves far away from all of our lives forever.

It is obvious that Hanley Ramirez is a skilled and naturally gifted athlete and player. However the Dodgers did pay a price to get him. They had to give up their number five starter Eovaldi. Because of this, the Dodgers had to scramble to find a replacement for his spot in the rotation. The Dodgers have little choice but to give the start to Rookie Stephen Fife. If you remember Fife made his first start for the Blue while filling in for the injured Chad Billingsley. The Fifster was actually pretty darn good. Back on July 17th, against Philadelphia, Fife went six frames, allowing only two runs on four hits, walking three and whiffing one. He made 90 pitches that night, but came away with a no-decision because the Dodger bullpen blew the game.

Tonight the Dodgers will give him a very tough assignment. Just go out and pitch in San Francisco against Matt Cain. Hey good luck kid! Fife was 8-5 with a 4.31 ERA in 19 starts for Albuquerque this year. The 25 year old righty will be making the most important start of the year.

Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE

The kid will have to go toe to toe and beat Matt Cain. The all-star right hander is 10-3 with a 2.74 ERA, and pitched a perfect game earlier this season against Houston. Cain however has not had much success over the years against the Dodgers. Cain is 3-8 with a 3.56 ERA and 90 whiffs career versus the Dodgers.

Newest Dodger Hanley Ramirez has hit Cain well to the tune of a .280 batting average, (7 for 25) with two doubles and a home run. Matt Kemp is hitting .263 off of Cain, (10 for 38), with three doubles, a triple, and a home run. Jerry Hairston is 3 for 10 (.300), but the two Dodgers who have just killed Cain in the past is Andre Ethier, and yes, James Loney. Our offensively challenged first baseman is hitting .341 (14 for 41), with five doubles, a triple and 10 RBI. Ethier is hitting .468, (22 for 47), with three RBI, and an OPS of 1.022. Overall the Dodgers are 64 for 224, which comes out to a .286 average against Cain, with two home runs, and 20 RBI. Remember this isn’t the same Cain we have seen and beat in year’s past. This is the Cain who rarely if ever allows more than two runs, and pitched a perfect game. He’s only had two starts since May where he has allowed more than three earned runs, although one of those was his last start against Philadelphia where he allowed five runs through eight innings, and came out with a no-decision.

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The Dodgers had to make a corresponding roster move to get Fife up ths quickly, and put Scott Elbert on the DL with a sore shoulder. Elbow not shoulder. (Elbert’s Elbow) Apparently Elbert has been bothered by a sore shoulder for the last few weeks now, although this is the first I have heard of it. Elbert who is one of two left handed relievers, is 1-1 with a .245 ERA in 39 games, and was quietly having a very solid season. The addition of lefty Randy Choate from the Ramirez trade, should soften the blow to a bullpen that has been run ragged of late.

The Dodgers come in with a 53-47 record, and are three games behind the Giants in the NL West. The Dodgers have also lost three in a row. This is a very important series. The Dodgers must win two of three if they want to avoid falling out of the race completely. Please also note, that the Giants will be without Infielder Pablo Sandoval, who is out with a strained hamstring. Sandoval is hitting .299 with 8 home runs, and 33 RBI, for the Giants. Fife will still have to deal with Melky Cabrera, and Buster Posey though.

The battle for first place starts tonight! Join us as the Dodgers battle the Giants, in the first of 12 remaining head to head games with our hated rivals. Game time tonight starts at 7PM. Please remember to tune back over here for our detailed Dodger recap. Let’s hope everyone is coming over here to read about a Dodger win. Let’s beat those bastards! Battle stations Dodger fans! Go Blue.

Tags: A.J. Ellis Andre Ethier Bobby Abreu Dodgers Don Mattingly Featured Hanley Ramirez James Loney Jerry Hairston Jr. Juan Rivera Juan Uribe Matt Kemp Popular Randy Choate Scott Elbert Stephen Fife Tony Gwynn Jr.