If you read my recap from last night’s win in Kansas City, you probably noticed that I didn’t mention what happened yesterday at AT&T Park. Tim Lincecum pitched his second no-hitter against the San Diego Padres again. I noticed there were Giants fans using the opportunity to talk bad about Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers. I surely didn’t bad mouth the mustached Freak when Kersh hurled his gem. Surely Kershaw’s near perfect game which was complete with 15 strikeouts and no walks against Colorado, one of the best hitting teams in baseball this year, is a notch above Lincecum’s no-no against the lowly Padres. Comparing no-hitters seems to be a negative way to discuss a feat which is uncommon in baseball and deserved of acknowledgment of achievement even if it is coming from an opposing pitcher. Yet it’s only natural to compare the differences since each no-hitter is unique in its own right just like each individual baseball game is never a repeat.
Congratulations, Tim Lincecum. There.
Clayton Kershaw will pitch another no-hitter soon, it’s inevitable. Until then, we have Josh Beckett to look to on Thursday night at home at Dodger Stadium. Beckett pitched a beauty of a no-hitter himself back in May, and I’d argue his masterpiece was better than Lincecum’s as well. Perhaps Beckett can continue his Comeback Player of the Year run against the Cardinals as the Dodgers open a four-game set on Thursday. Beckett turned 34 just 10 days before his no-hitter. The veteran, in his 14th season, is making it one of his best yet. Beckett has a sparkling 2.28 ERA, and even if you don’t think ERA reflects a pitcher’s value, Josh’s numbers reflect his success this season.
Last time out in San Diego, Beckett was able to shut down the pathetic Padres as well. He pitched 7 shutout innings and only allowed 4 hits in the win. He struck out 8 batters, his season best. Against the Red Birds, Beckett is 2-2 with a 4.68 ERA in 7 career starts. Beckett will of course have to be wary of Matt Holliday who is hitting .304 against the right-hander with 7 hits including a double, a triple, and a homerun.
The Cardinals have had their issues this season. Mike Matheny, like Don Mattingly, has been questioned at times due to nonsensical double switches (we like to call them DonnieSwitches™ here) and other Don-like moves. Like the Dodgers, the Cards have been plagued with injuries especially to their pitching staff. Shelby Miller had back spasms in the third inning of Tuesday’s game, and Joe Kelly, Michael Wacha, and Jaime Garcia are all hurting. The Cards will most likely have to use some minor league pitchers to fill-in. Hey, we know what that’s like.
The Dodgers will have to battle Adam Wainwright who has notched 10 wins already even though he missed a start with elbow tendinitis.
Wainwright has the second-best ERA in the league (2.08), and his name is circulating amongst others for NL Cy Young consideration albeit it’s only half way through the season. Wainwright, a perennial ace, allowed just 1 run on 6 hits over 8 innings in his last start against Philadelphia. He is 4-4 with a 3.10 ERA against the Dodgers in 13 games (10 starts). He is 1-2 at Dodger Stadium with a 5.16 ERA in 6 games. Andre Ethier hits Wainwright quite well, and the outfielder has hit 3 doubles and 3 homeruns against him in the past.
The Cardinals sit 4 1/2 back of the hot Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central while the Dodgers are 3 games back of San Francisco. The Dodgers have won their last four series, and they have made up a lot of ground even though they haven’t had a consistent lineup, injuries galore, and a shaky bullpen. The Dodger bullpen actually pitched very well against the Royals on Wednesday night, and Brian Wilson collected his first save since 2012. There’s a glimmer of hope for the bullpen.
Juan Uribe returns. After missing a lot of time, Juan Uribe is finally set to return to the Dodger lineup. The Dodgers have been filling in at third base with an assortment of players in his absence. No one is quite the same as Uribe who was hitting well before he succumbed to injury. The corresponding move once Uribe is activated most likely will be the optioning of Carlos Triunfel. With Miguel Rojas‘ good defense and key plays of late, his relevance has increased. I have missed Uribe a lot, and I can’t wait for the party to come back to the dugout.
Prediction: Yasiel Puig homers in the home opener.
The Dodgers and Cardinals had a big clashing last season in the NLCS, and I’m sure the series will be exciting. Hanley Ramirez shoulder continues to flare up, so there might not be any ribbing this time.