Dodgers Lineup:Crawford 7 Puig 9 Gonzalez 3 Hanley 6 Uribe 5 Ethier 8 Federowicz 2 Punto 4 Fife 1
Did I mention that the Giants are in last place? After Juan Uribe single handedly defeated his former team on Friday night in Frisco, the Giants are battered and bruised and sitting in last place in the N.L. West. The fallen champions look a lot like the Dodgers did during the first two months of the season. Their offense is stagnant, their defense is shoddy, and their pitching has taken a turn for the worse. Matt Cain, who was instrumental in the Giants journey to their World Series crown last season, has been plagued with a case of Capuanoitis. That disease includes disastrous innings where he serves up many, many runs. Last night Cain allowed 8 runs in less than three innings.
The Dodgers on the other hand are winning and moving up within the division at record pace. They’ve made up a lot of ground, but there is still work to be done. With an acquisition of a semi-solid fifth starter, the Dodgers could really shore up their starting rotation and make a case for the best in the division (the bullpen is of course still in a dubious state). Hyun-jin Ryu is quietly making his case for Rookie of the Year. Stephen Fife, who goes to the mound Saturday afternoon, has been solid as a rent-to-own sort of semi permanent solution after Josh Beckett, Ted Lilly, and Matt Magill fell to injury, rustiness, and the Walkapalooza™.
Stephen Fife, who hopefully will remain in the rotation if the Dodgers should land Nolasco, has pitched quite well over his last three starts. In fact, the right-hander has only allowed more than 3 runs just once which was during his first start back in April. He’s won his last two starts, and last time out against Philadelphia he pitched 7 innings of shutout ball and only allowed 4 hits with 5 strikeouts and a walk. He also beat San Francisco back on June 25th when he allowed 3 runs on 4 hits over 6 2/3 innings of work. So far Fife is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA against the pumpkins in 13 innings.
The Giants will have their best pitcher this season on the mound with Madison Bumgarner.
Bumgarner has been the most consistent starter for San Francisco this season, and the Dodgers always seem to have trouble against the lefty. MadBum is 6-3 with a 2.54 ERA against the Dodgers in his career. Yet last time we saw him, the Dodgers defeated the Giants as he picked up the loss on June 24th at Dodger Stadium. He allowed 2 runs on 5 hits over 7 innings with 5 strikeouts and a walk. Bumgarner did win against Colorado in his last start by allowing one run on 4 hits with 5 strikeouts and 3 walks in 7 innings.
The Dodgers will have to go on without Matt Kemp for Saturday’s game after Kemp tweaked his shoulder on an awkward swing during the second inning Friday night. He suffered AC joint irritation in his left shoulder, and he had a cortisone shot. Mattingly would have likely sat Andre Ethier against the lefty today, but without Kemp Dre will be starting in center field instead. It’s been par for the course this season for the Dodgers. When one player returns from the disabled list, another takes his place. Kemp is day to day, and as of right now he is not heading to the D.L. Luckily the Dodgers have that extra outfielder. Even though many have called for the Dodgers to trade Ethier, with the precarious nature of Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp, they should not do so under any circumstance.
The Dodgers have been playing without Kemp for almost two seasons. Even though his shoulder issues and hamstring injuries have been frustrating, this Dodger lineup can pick up the slack. Hanley Ramirez is riding a 16-game hitting streak, Ethier and A.J. Ellis are hitting better of late, Adrian Gonzalez is consistent, and even Juan Uribe has been contributing and is now hitting .280 on the season.
The 4:15 p.m. game will be broadcast on FOX today. Will the Giants miseries continue to our enjoyment? The Dodgers would love to win this series before heading off to Arizona where the real challenge lie. Go Blue!