Van Slyke LF
After another deflating loss at AT&T Park, the Dodgers hope to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of their arch rivals on Thursday afternoon. Five of the Dodgers’ nine wins have been against the incredibly troubled looking Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers have only won one game against the Giants so far in five games.
It wasn’t the starting pitching that has cost the Dodgers either of the first two losses in SF. Josh Beckett and Paul Maholm combined to allow just one run in their starts. The Dodgers problems stem from some erroneous defense, offensive shortcomings and bullpen questions. While the Dodgers were relishing in the glory of sweeping the Snakes in Arizona just days ago, now they are on the brink of being swept themselves.
It won’t be easy for the Dodgers to avoid the sweep in the bay since they will have to counter Madison Bumgarner once again. The Dodgers always have a hard time against the lefty who is yet to lose this season. Bumgarner even hit a grand slam in his last start against Colorado along with a sacrifice fly good for 5 RBIs. That was the most RBIs collected by a Giants pitcher since 1914. He beat the Dodgers twelve days ago, but he did allow 2 runs on 8 hits over 6 1/3 innings of work. The young southpaw already has 20 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings this season with just 5 walks. The only homerun he has surrendered so far was to Carlos Gonzalez. Overall he is 9-3 with a 2.60 ERA against the Dodgers in his career. Juan Uribe currently has the most hits off Bumgarner with 6 including a homerun.
Hyun-jin Ryu was excellent in his last start against the D-backs. He pitched 7 shutout innings and only allowed 2 hits. He also struck out 8 and only walked one. Ryu’s only loss on the season came by the way of San Francisco. On April 4th, Opening Day in Los Angeles, Ryu allowed 6 runs on 8 hits during the disastrous start at Dodger Stadium. Ryu has yet to allow a homerun this season, and he has struck out 22 batters in 21 innings of work. The southpaw is 2-3 with a 3.89 ERA in his career against Frisco. He’s made 3 starts at AT&T, and he is 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA up by the cove.
Ryu will have to be more aggressive with the Giants this time out. The often times insistent San Francisco lineup has had success against Ryu. Hunter Pence is hitting .400 with 6 hits and 5 RBIs against him. The Dodgers will be looking to Adrian Gonzalez to provide some offense, and the first baseman is taking a 11-game hitting streak into Wednesday’s game. Dee Gordon has been proving himself a honest-to-goodness everyday player, and the swift second baseman is hitting .404 with 19 hits and 10 stolen bases.
Hanley’s hand will be a big factor for the Dodgers now, and if Hanley is unable to play expect Justin Turner to play shortstop. Why is it
always Hanley who gets plunked? Without Hanley, the Dodgers would be short their best pitcher, hitter, and catcher. The loss of those three players could spell a early season wrought with the team not playing to potential due to the injuries. We have been there before, but I was hoping for at least one healthy season…
As for the bullpen, I think you know my feelings by now. Brandon League needs to be released. This project, albeit an expensive one, has failed. Paco Rodriguez shouldn’t be wasted in AAA while the Dodgers lean on one lefty out of the bullpen. League’s spot is blocking not only Paco but Jose Dominguez as well. Kenley Jansen will be fine, and I think his struggles are due to his cutter’s ineffectiveness which causes him to overthrow when going with his fastball. Kenley has been so good over the years, and I think we shouldn’t be questioning his role in the bullpen just yet.
Prediction: Dodgers sparked by early offense
Stay tuned for our postgame recap, and let me know in the comments what team you are most looking forward to seeing the Dodgers play this season. The next team the Dodgers will face outside of their division will be Philadelphia.