Mark Ellis 2B
A.J. Ellis C
After last night’s loss in San Francisco, the Giants secured a 5 1/2 game lead in the NL West. That’s the biggest lead they’ve had in the division since 2003. They can thank the Dodgers stale offense and below .500 play against division rivals and at home for the past few months. With only 23 games left on the schedule, the hope for the Dodgers to win the division is slim to none. Injuries have decimated the team, and Matt Kemp seems to be limping along to our frustration and concern. The Bison is 3-for 30 since slamming into the outfield wall at Coors Field. Kemp will not be in the lineup today, and the reports indicate that his shoulder is bothering him. Last night yet another injury befell on the Boys in Blue as Adam Kennedy‘s groin exploded again. He says it feels worse than before, and he felt a “pop.” That can’t be good. Let’s be realistic, the loss of Kennedy is not detrimental in the least. Don Mattingly should be starting Luis Cruz at third base every game remaining in this season anyways. Perhaps Kennedy had his last hurrah of his Dodger and maybe even Major League career as he hit a solo homerun against Tim Lincecum last night at AT&T Park.
The Dodgers are desperate for a win today in Frisco. If they drop this the second game of the series, the Giants can all but celebrate their divisional crown. Chris Capuano will try to regain his first half form this afternoon. Cappy has been struggling over the second half after starting
the season 7-1 with a 2.14 ERA. In his last ten starts Capuano is 2-6 with a 4.91 ERA. Cappy hasn’t won a game since August 12th in Miami. Last time out he was involved in a no-decision against the Arizona D-backs after pitching 5 innings and allowing 3 earned runs on 4 hits (including two homeruns). Cappy has allowed 20 homeruns in his 28 games started this season. When I look at Cappy’s career numbers against the pumpkin colored foes, it’s worrisome. He is 1-6 with a 5.58 ERA against San Francisco. Buster Posey has gone deep against Cappy, and Pablo Sandoval is hitting well in the few at bats he has had against the southpaw.
The Dodgers will have their work cut out for them as they face thirteen game winner Matt Cain. Last time out against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, Can wasn’t involved in the decision after pitching just 5 innings and allowing 5 earned runs on 6 hits. Cain, like Capuano, has allowed 20 homeruns in his 27 starts. Cain has had mixed results against the Dodgers in his career, and he has a 4-8 record with a 3.45 ERA against Los Angeles. Andre Ethier has hit the right-hander very well and sports a .450 batting average in his 40 at bats against Cain. Adrian Gonzalez is hitting very well against him too, and he has four homeruns versus Matt. Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp also have a homerun each against Cain, so the meat of our lineup shouldn’t stall out today in theory.
The Giants have now won four in a row against the Dodgers, and they lead the season series 8-5. Will the inner Beast within Matt Kemp wake up in these final games of the season? Can this team finish with a winning record? These next few weeks will answer all our questions, and it will give us a clearer picture of what needs to be accomplished over this offseason.
The game will be televised nationally on FOX today at 1:05 pm. Come back to Lasorda’s Lair to read about all the highlights and lowlights of the game.