Thursday, March 31, 2011

Series Preview: Giants at Dodgers March 31-April 3

San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers
March 31 through April 3

Games
: 1-4
Location: Dodger Stadium
2011 record vs. Giants: N/A
2010 record vs. Giants: 8-10

2010: The Dodgers got off to a hot start against the Giants in 2010, winning five of the first six contests. The Dodgers would go on to lose nine of the next 12 games against the Giants. Two performances that stand out include Chad Billingsley's shutout on July 21 at Dodger Stadium and Clayton Kershaw's 1-0 masterpiece in 'Frisco on Sept. 14.

Game 1: Tim Lincecum vs. Clayton Kershaw
Lincecum career vs. Dodgers: 5-1 W-L, 3.43 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 9.84 K/9
Kershaw career vs. Giants: 1-1 W-L, 1.46 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 9.24 K/9

The best Giant hitters against Kershaw:
Miguel Tejada - .417/.417/.500, 1 2B, 0:1 BB/K ratio
Pat Burrell - .308/.267/.769, 1 HR, 0:3 BB/K ratio

Buster Posey is 1-for-9 (.111), Pablo Sandoval is 1-for-12 (.167) and Aubrey Huff is 2-for-11 (.182) lifetime against Kershaw.

The best Dodger hitters vs. Lincecum:
Rafael Furcal - .316/.500/.526, 1 HR, 7:4 BB/K ratio
Andre Ethier - .280/.379/.560, 2 HR, 4:7 BB/K ratio

Matt Kemp is 2-for-20 (.100) and James Loney is 5-for-27 (.185) lifetime against Lincecum.

Interesting note: Marcus Thames has faced Lincecum three times and has two home runs off him. Don Mattingly looks to be going with Tony Gwynn in left field on Opening Day, but it'd be interesting to see if Thames' performance against Lincecum was a fluke or for real (keep in mind, it's an extremely small sample size).

Game 2: Jonathan Sanchez vs. Chad Billingsley
Sanchez career vs. Dodgers: 2-5 W-L, 4.82 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 9.19 K/9
Billingsley career vs. Giants: 6-3 W-L, 2.63 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 7.36 K/9

The best Giant hitters against Billingsley:
Nate Schierholtz - .429/.467/.714, 2 2B, 1:4 BB/K ratio
Tejada - .389/.450/.611, 1 HR, 1:1 BB/K ratio
Posey - .385/.385/.462, 1 2B, 0:1 BB/K ratio
Aaron Rowand - .350/.423/.550, 1 HR, 4:5 BB/K ratio

Andre Torres is 2-for-14 (.143) and Sandoval is 4-for-27 (.148) lifetime against Billingsley.

The best Dodger hitters vs. Sanchez:
Kemp - .346/.414/.538, 1 HR, 3:7 BB/K ratio
Carroll - .300/.364/.500, 2 2B, 1:3 BB/K ratio

Ethier is 4-for-24 (.167), Loney is 4-for-23 (.174) and Furcal is 4-for-20 (.200) lifetime against Sanchez.

Game 3: Ted Lilly vs. Matt Cain
Cain career vs. Dodgers: 2-8 W-L, 3.76 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 6.99 K/9
Lilly career vs. Giants: 3-2 W-L, 5.57 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 6.00 K/9

The best Giant hitters against Lilly:
Posey - 3-for-5, 2 HR
Rowand - .333/.385/.542, 1 HR, 2:6 BB/K ratio
Freddy Sanchez - .333/.357/.481, 4 2B, 1:1 BB/K ratio
Tejada - .275/.327/.510, 3 HR, 4:9 BB/K ratio

Burrell is 1-for-11 (.091) and Huff is 5-for-29 (.172) lifetime against Lilly.

The best Dodger hitters vs. Cain:
Ethier - .488/.511/.561, 1 2B, 4:5 BB/K ratio
Loney - .378/.439/.568, 5 2B, 4:2 BB/K ratio
Jamey Carroll - .313/.353/.438, 1 3B, 1:3 BB/K ratio

Gwynn is 3-for-16 (.188) and Rod Barajas is 0-for-8 lifetime against Cain.

Game 4: Barry Zito vs. Hiroki Kuroda
Zito career vs. Dodgers: 6-8 W-L, 3.83 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 6.82 K/9
Kuroda career vs. Giants: 2-2 W-L, 3.56 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 6.07 K/9

The best Giant hitters against Kuroda:
Sandoval - .375/.333/.500, 1 2B, 0:0 BB/K ratio
Ross - .250/.250/.563, 1 HR, 0:3 BB/K ratio

Tejada is 2-for-14 (.143), Sanchez is 2-for-12 (.167) and Rowand is 1-for-11 (.091) lifetime against Kuroda.

The best Dodger hitters vs. Zito:
Kemp - .419/.500/.488, 1 3B, 7:9 BB/K ratio
Furcal - .342/.432/.526, 1 HR, 6:7 BB/K ratio
Barajas - .314/.368/.686, 3 HR, 3:5 BB/K ratio

Ethier is 5-for-29 (.172), Juan Uribe is 2-for-16 (.125) and Loney is 2-for-26 (.077) lifetime against Zito.

Analysis: This is shaping up to be a great series for pitching. There are some dominant starters going, but there are also some guys with major ownage on the pitchers (Ethier on Cain, Kemp on Zito, Tejada on Kershaw and Billingsley). The rivalry could be heightened with the Giants' success last season. The teams got into it a little last season, but there hasn't been a big-time spat in a few years (Eric Gagne v. Michael Tucker comes to mind, but even that was tame).

The Dodgers seemingly have the clear edge in Game 2, with the Giants, despite Cain's poor record against the Dodgers, having the edge in Game 3. Game 1 could go either way with the two aces on the mound. Game four also could go either way -- depending which Barry Zito shows up and if the Dodger hitters show up against him.

Prediction: Split, with the Dodgers winning the first two games of the series.

Next meeting: April 11-13 in San Francisco

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The Dodgers also officially announced their 25-man Opening Day roster. It is as follows:

Catchers (3)
A.J. Ellis
Rod Barajas
Hector Gimenez


Infielders (6)
Jamey Carroll
Ivan DeJesus
Rafael Furcal
James Loney
Aaron Miles
Juan Uribe


Outfielders (5)
Andre Ethier
Tony Gwynn
Matt Kemp
Xavier Paul
Marcus Thames


Rotation (4)
Chad Billingsley
Clayton Kershaw
Hiroki Kuroda
Ted Lilly

Bullpen (7)
Jonathan Broxton
Lance Cormier
Matt Guerrier
Blake Hawksworth
Kenley Jansen
Hong-Chih Kuo
Mike MacDougal

Thoughts: I was a little surprised the Dodgers kept three catchers, but it definitely isn't the worst move. Cormier over Elbert is a bit of a head-scratcher, but he shouldn't be around too long.

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