Dodgers and Giants on First Place Seesaw, but The Ride Ends October Third

Joe Blanton (8-11, 4.96) vs. Tim Lincecum (6-13, 5.45)

Dodgers Lineup: vs. Giants

Victorino 7

Kennedy 4

Kemp 8

Ethier 9

Ramirez 6

Loney 3

Cruz 5

Ellis 2

Blanton 1

Last night we watched another frustrating home loss. If it weren’t for Hanley Ramirez‘s bottom of the ninth solo homerun, the Dodgers would have been shutout again by the Giants. Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw both pitched very well, and each pitcher both struck out ten opposing batters and walked none. Even without Melky Cabrera, the Giants still have some good bats in their lineup. Pablo Sandoval batted in both runs for San Francisco, and Angel Pagan scored both runs. On the Blue side, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier have been struggling at the plate. Without Bison and Dre hitting, the rest of the lineup isn’t able to pick up the slack. It’s a long season, and both Kemp and Dre have suffered injury (Kemp’s hamstring and Ethier’s oblique). It’s just disappointing to see the Dodgers play poorly at home when they started off as the best home team in all of baseball in the first half of this season. Clayton Kershaw was unbeatable at home for a long stretch, but the lackluster offense just couldn’t help his cause last night. Scott wrote a very interesting piece about the troublesome batting approaches the Dodgers have been making. Although Bumgarner pitched very well last night, it is clear that the Dodgers do well when they are aggressive early on. Remember in the beginning of the season when the Dodgers would strike early in the first inning? Most of the time when they did that they would end up with the win. Now it seems as though they are falling behind and allowing first inning runs to the opposing team more.

 

Can Joe Blanton finally win one with the Dodgers? Photo: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Joe Blanton will try once again for his first win as a Dodger tonight in game two. Blanton is 0-2 with an ugly 8.22 ERA since putting on a Dodger uniform. Last time out against the Pirates, Blanton had a disastrous start. He allowed three homeruns, and he was ejected after being hooked in the fifth inning after arguing with the home plate umpire. He allowed 8 earned runs on 7 hits with 4 walks in just 4 1/3 innings in the loss. He has allowed 18 hits and 14 earned runs since joining the Dodgers in his three starts. He has also walked 7 batters. Wasn’t everyone praising his low walk count for the year after the Dodgers acquired him? So much for that. In his career against the Giants, Blanton has a 2-4 record with a 4.75 ERA. He’ll have to watch out for Angel Pagan who has gone deep against Blanton twice, and Hunter Pence has hit a homerun against the right-hander as well.

Tim Lincecum has caused much frustration to Giants fans this season. The two-time Cy Young

Tim Lincecum goes for series win for San Francisco. Photo: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Award winner has had a less than ace-like season for San Francisco. I have heard that his troubles could have stemmed from when he tried to gain some weight and then subsequently lost it after the extra baggage messed with his mechanics. You know what they say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Last time out against the Nationals, Timmy lost after allowing 4 earned runs on 8 hits. The Freak is 6-5 with a 2.87 ERA in his career against the Dodgers. He has struck out 109 Dodgers in 106 2/3 innings pitched. Andre Ethier has hit the right-hander well in the past and has a couple of homeruns against him. Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino have gone deep against him as well.

The Dodgers and Giants each have 67 wins, but the 1/2 game difference lies in the extra game in the loss column for the Dodgers. Come October third, there will only be one team which wins the NL West crown. Every game is important as the 2012 season comes down the stretch. The team which ends up in second place will have to vie for one of two Wild Card spots. Pittsburgh, Atlanta, St. Louis, and even Arizona will be fighting for those two spots. It will be much easier if the Dodgers can end up on top in the West, but our Boys in Blue will have to finish strong.

Root for the Dodgers at 7:10 pm on KCAL tonight. Join us afterwards for a complete recap and analysis.

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Tags: Joe Blanton Los Angeles Dodgers Tim Lincecum