Results tagged ‘ Clayton Kershaw ’
Clayton Kershaw will be a favorite for the NL Cy Young, and he was on the losing end of a miserable outing on Friday night in Game 6 against the St. Louis Cardinals. For a guy that had a FIP below 2.50 for September and at 2.20 for the second half and had struck out more than 40% of the lefties he faced in 2013, you regularly expect excellence out of him, and rightly so, I believe. Maybe the innings caught up with him. Maybe it was one of those days where he was off his game and he faced a team that was ready for the punishing like they always seem to be against Matt Cain of our beloved Giants. Whatever it was, it didn’t feel right.
I hold Kershaw in the highest of lights for pitchers, considering him the best pitcher in all of baseball. I love watching him dominate when he’s doing his work, I’m even a little awestruck when he’s on against the Giants, or even just having a slightly bad day and only going seven innings and striking out five. Really it is no wonder there were rumors of him getting big money before the regular season started. His fastball sits around 92-93 with pretty great command, his slider gives you a different look of a good pitch, and his curveball is straight out of baseball heaven with the numbers to prove it. That repertoire can go up with the best of them, and has been successful, too.
When the Cardinals went up 1-0, 2-0 in Game 6, that was exciting. It could be all Michael Wacha needed, I thought and wondered, and the wasn’t necessarily a game that was out of reach, even for the bats of the Dodgers. Then the Cardinals went up 4-0, and even though it was only the third inning, I worried that this game was over before a third of it had been completed. Kershaw had thrown 81 pitches through three, there was no way he’d be able to go six. The Cards would eventually double the score plus one, and within that time Kershaw was pulled, a couple relievers used, and then it was over. If only the game had stayed closer, and Kershaw hadn’t been lit up, then this would have been a bowing out I would not have felt so odd over, but in the end, would I rather have this 9-0, STL NL Champions in 6, than possibly start the game over and see if the game could be closer?
Now my attention turns to rooting for the American League, because nobody wants to see the Cardinals win besides people connected with the team and their fans (really, what sort of “best fans” call themselves “best fans in baseball?”). I do wonder if the media will do another sketch featuring a Red Bird defending the trophy against a team with a payroll $30-$40 million more than themselves. Sure, it’s not around $100 million more like the Dodgers were compared to the Cards payroll, but doesn’t every team that lacks have the farm depth to make a team have to do some buying to field a competitive team?
Game 6 of the ALCS between the Tigers and the Red Sox is tonight at 5PM on FOX.
I’ve been mostly quiet on the internet today due to some computer gaming, a habit that’s been developing this week, but will probably die out next week because I’ll start to be busying myself with other, more career-minded business. The world moves on, and the lineups were posted for tonight’s game, with the Dodgers noting Carl Crawford and Mark Ellis were injured, but available tonight, and not in the starting lineup. Then Adrian Gonzalez get scratched from the lineup with neck pain, but unfortunately the Dodgers are allowed to replace him. Therefore, the lineup for the visiting Dodgers look like this:
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 4, 2013
Meanwhile, in the Champions corner, Barry Zito and company lookalike this:
Tonight’s #SFGiants lineup: Pagan cf, Scutaro 2b, Sandoval 3b, Posey c, Pence rf, Arias ss, Torres lf, Belt 1b, Zito p
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) May 3, 2013
Also important to note that the Giants finally sent down the very much offensively-struggling Hector Sanchez, and called up the doing-well-in-Fresno Francisco Peguero. Jeremy Affeldt also was taken off the disabled list today. You might be aware that tonight is Metallica Night at AT&T Park, and while Brandon Belt‘s mug with a wig has been floating around the tubes, a Panda picture surfaced:
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) May 4, 2013
Game time is 7:15PM PST, and should be a good challenge against Kershaw. I won’t remind you how it went last time they saw him.
The Dodgers come to San Francisco this weekend for a three-game series against the Giants where there will be a license plate frame giveaway to the first 20,000 fans on Saturday, and a Sergio Romo Gnome on Sunday to the first 30,000. The matchups tell us this is whom we should expect to see on the bump this weekend:
Raise your hand if you thought of Zito, Vogelsong, and Cain, Zito would have the best ERA going into May of the three. The stock on Zito was pretty high going into this regular season, but not so much that you thought he’d outdo them by almost double. As Giants fans, you know what you’re going to get out of Zito, Vogey, and Cainer, but do you know what you’re getting out of Kershaw (yes), Lilly (lol), and Ryu (did you know the media guide now says to say his name as “Roo”)?
Kershaw has been harassing the Giants since 2008. How much harassing? Let this table show you:
I miss when Clayton Kershaw wasn’t a starter, because even though I’m sure he’d shut down the Giants 1-2 innings at a time, at least he wouldn’t be doing it 6-9 innings at a time as a starter, which he kinda does these days. He averages at least 7.0 IP in every start against the Giants in his career. That’s insane. I’m not sure I’ll get to watch Friday’s game, and I’m not sure it’d make me that happy to anyway. But it is Barry Zito. Somehow, he has done some crazy things lately, and do you wanna be the one that bets against crazy?
Here’s Kershaw’s pitch usage for this year
Ted Lilly… hasn’t been good. He was tolerable in 2012, but so far, nothing to report. The Rockies teed off on him in his last start, and unless he gets ruled out due to injury, this is who I’ll get to see pitch for the Dodgers in person on Saturday.
Low velocity everything, so Lilly does not have that big of a margin for error, and as you can guess, he’s not been pitching within that margin, and so he’s been getting hit. The Dodgers are probably happy they have a day off tonight and a Kershaw start tomorrow so the bullpen will be well rested for Saturday’s game.
Hyun-jin Ryu is still the new guy on the block, but he’s actually ahead of Clayton Kershaw in terms of percentage of strikeouts, which doesn’t really make anybody who’s an opponent feel better about facing him, but at least the Giants have seen him once before. It was that ten hit game, and maybe there were some first-game jitters for Ryu, but he’s certainly not the reliever we thought he’d be at worst, and definitely looks like he belongs in the Dodgers rotation.
Opponents are still getting used to his four pitches, and I’ll admit I’m still getting used to what he’s putting out there despite having the TV on to the Dodgers whenever they’re on down here in sunny Southern California. Always seem to hear from pitching veterans though that a good fastball-changeup combo will do you good, and hey, throw in a third pitch in his slider that’s major league average, and there’s a starter for you, gosh darnit.
All series with the Dodgers are always spirited, but if you make your way to the yard, make sure you play nice!
This morning’s news from LA Times beat writer Dylan Hernandez:
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) April 21, 2013
There has been speculation even before now that Chad Billingsley might need Tommy John surgery, and if that turns out to be the case, chances are he’s done until 2014. Stephen Fife has been called back up to the big league team to help fill the gap for now.
Remember when the Dodgers had something like eight starting pitchers? It was pretty funny, especially because people knew the Dodgers would have a tough time getting rid of the extra pitchers that might be able to help out a second-tier major league roster. But they had depth! That depth can come in handy if there’s an injury, or somebody needs to make some mechanical issues. The original roster of pitchers looked as such:
Now, Greinke’s out after his unforgettable shoulder drop vs. Carlos Quentin, Bills could be done for a couple weeks, or a whole year, Harang was traded to the Rockies for Ramon Hernandez (and then Harang was traded to Seattle), and Lilly should actually be coming up this week to give the Dodgers a fifth pitcher. Oh, and Capuano also has a strained left calf, so he’s on the 15-day DL. Funny how baseball can work, it can give so much, and it can certainly taketh away so much more.
Questions are coming around from Dodger fans to their favorite Dodger bloggers when they can expect from the estimated time of arrival for their top prospect Zach Lee (a break from all the Yasiel Puig questions!), and the consensus seems to be that it’ll be later (2014) rather than sooner (2013) that he’ll be able to contribute to the club. This of course assumes Lee is still a Dodger in 2014 and not in somebody else’s minor league system. I’m not sure if fretting about other former prospect Allen Webster, whom was called up to pitch for Boston today, is all that worthwhile, since he did help LA land Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford (and those other guys). Giants fans will show no sympathy for that “should have kept” complaining.
The Dodgers rotation will be interesting to watch in the next month, as their one ace works, Ryu has looked decent so far, Beckett doesn’t, Capuano will probably be pulling his weight for the most part, and Lilly is likely going to be getting calls for the DFA from fans. It’s gone from having two strong figures standing tall to protect the glory of Los Angeles to having Kershaw and him wondering what they’re going to get out of the other four, hoping things don’t go as bad as most baseball fans think they will.
While I was workin on the railroad all the live-long day (or like, about a third of it), MLB was celebrating its second of three Opening Day, and things were happening. Baseball things. I didn’t get to watch the team I support most play its game, but they’ll have 161 games left that I might get to watch in parts or in its entirety, so it’s not all that bad. If it seems like I’m biased towards good pitching and home runs, and Buster Posey, well… you’d be right.
We’ll start off with Bryce Harper hitting multiple dingers against the Marlins
Really, this kid is so incredibly good. He is someone that has brought himself into the game so young, baseball enthusiasts will talk about this kid for years to come, no matter what happens with his career.
Justin Upton begins his Atlanta tenure with a bang
Did I mention I have him tabbed to be my NL MVP this year?
Collin Cowgill had an Opening Day salami
Gave the projected bottom-half of the division Mets beat the projected bottom-half of the division Padres
Speaking of not projecting to win, the Chicago Cubs had a huge blast from Anthony Rizzo
I wanted to link more from this game and the other Chicago game, but nothing else was embeddable :(
Give credit where credit is due, Clayton Kershaw kept the Giants bats quiet, and his complete game shutout of the Champs reminded everybody that he never minds squaring off against his NorCal rivals, and if you can keep an open mind if you’re a Giants fan, he is an amazing pitcher to watch
Also, Kershaw said he didn’t want to discuss a contract extension during the season, and it sure didn’t get done, so how will that affect his price tag going forward? To those yelling that it won’t matter, we don’t know it can’t keep them from getting a decent set-up reliever in the future.
Baseball has only had one walk-off this season, and it comes courtesy of the Milwaukee Brewers
MLB’s being a little slow to embed a lot of different videos, so hopefully they’ll speed that up in the future, because who doesn’t like embedding stuff to their website to
generate site hits let people watch over and over!
The regular season begins
this Sunday tomorrow at 5:05PM PST when the Texas Rangers play the Houston Astros in that famous AL West rivalry, which means this week is all about previews, bold predictions, and message board put downs. I will say I am not good at predicting things, so let’s get that straight. Like everybody else though, I have an opinion on the matter of how events will play out. Let us preview the postseason, where the best team doesn’t always win due to the randomness of how the short series will go. It’s a first team to eleven wins once the DS begins, and normally the team that catches fire tends to do the celebrating. Also in my analysis, the team that scores more runs tend to win games. I’ll start with who I have going into the playoffs, then the predictions of the resulting postseason series. After that, I’ll go into regular season awards.
NL Playoff Seeding
1. Washington Nationals
2. Cincinnati Reds
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Atlanta Braves
5. San Francisco Giants
Wild-Card Play-in Game
Atlanta beats San Francisco
Atlanta beats Washington
Cincinnati beats Los Angeles
Cincinnati beats Atlanta
AL Playoff Seeding
1. Detroit Tigers
2. Toronto Blue Jays
3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
4. Tampa Bay Rays
5. Texas Rangers
Wild-Card Play-in Game
Tampa Bay beats Texas
Detroit beats Tampa Bay
Toronto beats LA of A
Detroit beats Toronto
World Series (game will be in AL Park when AL wins ASG)
Detroit beats Cincinnati
Don’t worry Tiger fans, I’m sure my predictions won’t be correct!
Regular Season Awards
I will go into who the MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year for both leagues will be. These will also probably be wrong.
AL MVP — Mike Trout
Asking me if I’m mad, bro? Nah, not mad, but let’s say Mike Trout does even 80% of what he did in 2012 in 2013, and his team gets to the playoffs, the voters are going to give him his “redemption,” and feel good that “see, we don’t hate advanced stats,” as we roll our collective eyes together. Sophomore slump? Maybe a little, but the only thing that will stop this fish is if he gets hurt playing the game.
NL MVP — Justin Upton
They say a change of scenery can do wonders for a player, and how about playing with an organization that wants you? I’d say that’s a good start. I think Upton will have a career year, players like Braun and Posey will regress a little, and Upton will find his team in the playoffs. Justin Upton may not have the best year of everybody, but I think he gets the award.
AL Cy Young — Justin Verlander
Kind of like Trout, he’s only going to get stopped by an injury. He should continue to rack up the pitcher wins, satisfying the old school, and his team will make the playoffs all with lots of money, and lots of strikeouts. Probably not many multi-homer against games though. Verlander is just excellent.
NL Cy Young — Clayton Kershaw
Dickey was a great story in 2012, but I still side with the overall metrics a bit on Kershaw, believing he got snubbed by just a little bit, nothing too controversial. Kershaw, like Verlander, will be getting plenty of pitcher wins behind a boosted offense, and he’s still really, really good. Oh, and his team will be going to the playoffs so that equals instant votes.
AL Rookie of the Year — Jackie Bradley Jr.
Shot up the prospect lists in 2012 into 2013, and is projected to start with the team. For the kid, the defense will be getting peoples attention, while the stick may not be able to do anything super special, it’ll be enough. Lots of names for both RoY awards, JBJ just happens to be my guess right now.
NL Rookie of the Year — Zack Wheeler
Wheeler will not come up until June and he’ll still get the award. Dominating the minors, and yes, I understand the pain he’s going to cause Giants fans, but the kid is good, and will be going after his opposition from the get-go with heat and curveballs and breaking balls and strikeouts.
Let’s hear what your predictions are! Pretty much anything goes before the season gets going.
Idea: Rank the best individual seasons of the 2012 MLB regular season (Spring Training, Minor Leagues, and Postseason are not included), while considering offensive and defensive facets of the game.
Consider: Using the individual metrics to measure individual performance; full avoidance of projecting results for shortened seasons, and past years performance to justify or dictate standings.
This is not: “Most Valuable” anything. Rather, this is “best,” like Baseball America does, so there is no confusion as to what I am ranking. It is also not a “this is a ranking of who I want in 2013, or wanted in any other year.”
This is: My opinion, and will be disagreed with by many.
20. R.A. Dickey (233.2 IP, 8.86 K/9, 3.39 tERA, 4.6 fWAR, 5.6 rWAR) – Had I considered age in this ranking, maybe Dickey would have been higher, but I’ll let someone else do that ranking. I think it’s still cool that we could have some more years to experience his dominance over hitters though.
19. David Price (211.0 IP, 8.74 K/9, 3.23 tERA, 5.1 fWAR, 6.4 rWAR) – Really had trouble ranking 19-21 with the three pitchers, but in the end, I just liked Price’s numbers the best
18. Aaron Hill (26 HR, 14 SB, .375 wOBA, 6.2 fWAR, 4.6 rWAR) – What a change of scenery can do for you, Aaron Hill looks like he’s found his comfort zone in Phoenix after being traded from Toronto.
17. Cliff Lee (211.0 IP, 1.19 BB/9, 3.21 tERA, 4.9 fWAR, 4.2 rWAR) – Poor Clifton didn’t get a lot of love because of the W-L record he sported, but it’s not his fault his team didn’t score runs for him, even if he was on for most of the season.
16. Michael Bourn (26 2B, 42 SB, .326 wOBA, 6.4 fWAR, 6.0 rWAR) – The speedy center fielder does his job tearing up the basepaths and covering his part out in CF. Jim Bowman suggested the Giants could be a fit, I think not. ($)
15. Felix Hernandez (232.0 IP, 8.65 K/9, 3.21 tERA, 6.1 fWAR, 4.6 rWAR) – The King may be the only true royalty in Seattle now, but he should have an army of arms coming to help out soon.
14. Aramis Ramirez (27 HR, 50 2B, .384 wOBA, 6.5 fWAR, 5.4 rWAR) – May be the most underappreciated season of the guys listed in this top percentage, but the BBWAA recognized it, and he finished 9th in NL MVP voting.
13. Yadier Molina (22 HR, 12 SB, .375 wOBA, 6.5 fWAR, 6.7 rWAR) – I know what you’re thinking: A Molina that steals bases, not just prevents SB? Yea, he does that, too.
12. Adrian Beltre (36 HR, 33 2B, .388 wOBA, 6.5 fWAR, 6.7 rWAR) – I felt Heyward edged the 3B of Texas in the way he manned his position, and in the way he contributed on the bases, but still a great year for the guy that loves the headrubs.
11. Jason Heyward (27 HR, 21 SB, .351 wOBA, 6.6 fWAR, 5.5 rWAR) – Should Heyward be able to step up his game to another level in his age 23 season, he could get real scary.
10. Clayton Kershaw (227.2 IP, 9.05 K/9, 2.95 tERA, 5.5 fWAR, 6.2 rWAR) – I also struggled between JV vs. CK, but in the end, felt other peripherals not listed evened things out, giving the edge to Justin over Clayton with IP being the tiebreaker.
9. Justin Verlander (238.1 IP, 9.03 K/9, 3.43 tERA, 6.8 fWAR, 7.5 rWAR) – I really struggled where to start to include the pitchers, but here seemed like a good spot. Verlander is still good.
8. Chase Headley (31 HR, 17 SB, .378 wOBA, 7.5 fWAR, 6.0 rWAR) – If this were a “best second half of 2012” post, Headley might be #1.
7. David Wright (21 HR, 15 SB, .376 wOBA, 7.8 fWAR, 6.7 rWAR) – If this were a “best first half of 2012” post, Wright might be #1.
6. Miguel Cabrera (44 HR, 40 2B, .417 wOBA, 7.1 fWAR, 6.9 rWAR) – The dude’s just oozing power, and while the change of positions is a great story, the playing of the position itself must be considered in this ranking.
5. Andrew McCutchen (31 HR, 20 SB, .403 wOBA, 7.4 fWAR, 7.0 rWAR) – Worthy of being on the cover of a video game, I’m just glad Pittsburgh has had someone to cheer about.
3. Ryan Braun (41 HR, 30 SB, .413 wOBA, 7.9 fWAR, 6.8 rWAR) – Probably got a lot of flack for the PED-related stuff at the end of the season in 2011, but a 40-30 season will never stop being impressive.
2. Buster Posey (24 HR, .406 wOBA, 8.0 fWAR, 7.2 rWAR) – It’s no secret that the catcher position is an incredibly important one, and when your backstop is producing at the levels Posey is, well that warrants some respect. Bias possible.
1. Mike Trout (30 HR, 49 SB, .409 wOBA, 10.0 fWAR, 10.7 rWAR) – If 21 year olds are just getting started, in the Majors, it’s difficult to fathom where he goes from here.
While the Giants have been trying to figure out their roster for the postseason, the Dodgers have reeled off five straight victories to keep themselves in the hunt for the second wild card. With their elimination number being two, the Dodgers can only afford to lose one game of this series at the very most, and that assumes that the Cardinals woud lose all three games of their series with Cincinnati. If the Cardinals lose two against the Reds this week, the Dodgers must sweep to force a tiebreaker. Then there’s the number one crazy scenario that if the Dodgers sweep the Giants and the Reds sweep the Cardinals the Dodgers would make the playoffs while St. Louis would be left scratching their heads, making it the second year in a row the World Series champion from the season prior did not make the playoffs. Should the Giants eliminate the Dodgers/Dodgers get eliminated before Wednesday, I do not expect Clayton Kershaw to make the Wednesday start.
Monday, October 1st: RHP Matt Cain vs. RHP Aaron Harang
One sentence summary: In his three starts against LA, Cain has allowed 2 BB in 21.1 IP and 0 HR, while this will be Harang’s first look at the Giants, and he has allowed multiple walks in his last five starts, plus he’s also not been able to get to the sixth inning since mid-August.
Tuesday, October 2nd: LHP Barry Zito vs. LHP Chris Capuano
One sentence summary: In five starts against the Dodgers, the defense has backed Zito has he’s allowed 7 ER in that time, while in Capuano’s two starts against the Giants, he’s seen 8 ER attached to his record.
Wednesday, October 3rd: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw
One sentence summary: Ryan Vogelsong may have better results in the HRA department vs. his opponent than Kershaw does in this matchup (0 to 2) when SF-LA meet up, but it’ll be up to Vogelsong to show he can pitch well against someone other than the Padres.
Superstar Bats Are Prevailing
Matt Kemp may not be leading the team in HR (23), but the loved-by-LA Bison has roped 4 HR in the past week while sporting a crazy .650 wOBA in the past week (.390 wOBA overall). The previously cold Shane Victorino (.468 wOBA Last 7, .316 wOBA overall) and AJ Ellis (.460 wOBA L7, .337 wOBA overall) have even contributed a dinger to the cause. Adrian Gonzalez (.430, .345) may not have HR’d in the past week, but his .524 BABIP has led him to be a team player as well. Let us not forget this team just played the Padres and the Rockies. Mark Ellis (.247 wOBA L7, .316 wOBA overall) and Andre Ethier (.240, .343) have the lone scuffling numbers within the past week for LA.
So there’s this guy that’s making an MVP run and his name is Buster Posey and despite two GIDP’s lately to bring his total up to 19, he has been the Giants hottest bat of late (.519 wOBA L7, .404 wOBA overall). Next in line are three guys that weren’t starters at the beginning of the year: Hector Sanchez (.479 wOBA in 12 PA, .293 wOBA overall), Marco Scutaro and his sickness (.423 wOBA L7, .327 wOBA overall), and Xavier Nady and his X-ness (.421 wOBA in 14 PA, .260 wOBA overall). Just to humor you, Aubrey Huff (.268) has a higher wOBA than Nady. Maybe that didn’t make you laugh. Whatever. You should know though that they’re going to need one guy to get warmer and that is Angel Pagan who sits at the top of their lineup doing a bit not well of late (.171 wOBA L7, .338 wOBA overall). Milestone updates: Angel Pagan is 2 HR away from 10, and 1 SB away from 30; Gregor Blanco is 4 SB away from 30; Brandon Belt and Marco Scutaro are 3 HR away from 10. If Marco Scutaro gets 14 hits this series, he’ll get 200 hits for the season. 14 hits in a series would also likely be some sort of record.
Series Prediction: Good Night, LA
Although I never predict the Giants to lose a series (because baseball), I think they’ll close out the season with a series win and actually feeling decently confident as they go home to start a playoff series on Saturday.
Monday: Giants win (Matt Cain > Aaron Harang)
Tuesday: Dodgers win, yet get eliminated
Wednesday: Giants win thanks to Kershaw’s replacement
The separation is 7.5 games, the magic number at 11, the Giants have 18 games left to play, and the Dodgers have 17. The focus for the Dodgers is really on winning the wild card, while the Giants are looking to just build a lead while LA scrambles to figure out what’s going on. This could be one problem:
That wall hit was on Tuesday, August 28th, and it’s mid-September now. Many people on twitter have a cult-like following to ESPN Insider Keith Law, and he was at the Dodgers-Cardinals game the other night:
Heyward, as you might know, is doing just fine this year after his shoulder was bothering him last year, so this might be a need for rest, and I know I’ve heard at least one Dodger fan call for Kemp to be shut down if the Dodgers hopes for the playoffs become out of reach. One other person they might need to shut down:
After a long season, everyone’s playing hurt, and that includes Clayton Kershaw, who is dealing with maybe a little more hurt than most ML pitchers. This hip pain is not going away, and it’ll be interesting to see what’s done about him to close out the season. It’s not that the Dodgers playoff hopes would go to zero if Clayton’s out, but if you take away an All-Star and one of the game’s best, it’s going to at least mess with your confidence. Speaking of All-Stars being left out:
If Melky had addressed the team before he bolted, I wonder how that would’ve changed things. Would the Giants even be playing the same way? (There’s been so much talk about the Giants being “angry,” and if they have been playing that way, it’s interesting to think about how would’ve played less angry). A lot of people are mad at Melky, and I can get that, but the people who are mad at him for PED use are not mad at Guillermo Mota, so I know there’s some double standard stuff going on here. My stance on all this: if the players and the team wants him back, let him back in. If they’re done with him, then OK. I don’t really care about fan opinion on this one, the “we don’t need him” blabber, because we sure don’t need someone that can hit consistently and has a rocket arm in LF. Nope.
This was a fun stat from yesterday before the Dodgers erupted for 8 runs on the Cardinals:
Now they’re third-to-last in MLB for runs in September (33), just ahead of the Reds (32), and the Mariners (30). The Giants are 6th with 68.
Giants matchup with the DBacks at 5:10PM PST today, while the Cards and Dodgers get going an hour later. I’ll be at the latter of those two games today, and hopefully I’ll have a write-up on it by the time you wake up on Sunday.
Here we go again. The Dodgers lead the season series 5-4 over their cross-state rivals and there’s nine more games between these two love birds set to happen, alternating venues per each three game series. You probably know by now the 162-game season will very likely end with the Giants visiting the Dodgers in early October (as opposed to making up a rained-out game or something). If there’s any team that’s confident right now, it’s the Dodgers. They just went to Pittsburgh and Atlanta and won a 5 of 7 from those playoff contenders, while the Giants lost a series to the Nationals (really no shame in that) and couldn’t sweep against the Padres (I blame you, Everth Cabrera), so it’s no wonder these two teams are still within a game of the top. The Dodgers know they swept the Giants back into contention with their full squad and now the Giants are missing Melky due to his suspension which really has been getting stupider by the day. Nevertheless, both teams know it’s time to put their full focus on each other in a series that is sweepable for both teams, but at the same time, if you called each game a “pick ‘em,” I wouldn’t blame you.
Monday, August 20th: LHP Madison Bumgarner vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw
One sentence summary: ESPN has the pleasure of picking this game up, and there is probably no better way to start it off as both of these lefties are straight up dominant at what they do, especially Bumgarner in “high leverage” situations.
Tuesday, August 21st: RHP Tim Lincecum vs. RHP Joe Blanton
One sentence summary: As much of a low-scoring game as the first game could be, this one has the potential to be the exact opposite as Timmy still looks for his groove while Blanton has allowed 26 HR this year.
Wednesday, August 22nd: RHP Matt Cain vs. RHP Chris Capuano
One sentence summary: Don’t let Capuano’s name fool you as he’s pitched to a level any team would want to feature in a division series, while Matty Cain hopes for the same kind of run support he got in San Diego.
Your Bats May Not Do Much This Series, But Bring ‘Em Anyway
File this under the “things you never thought you’d hear” article for 2012, but the two “hottest” guys in the past week have been that infield duo of Joaquin Arias (.475 wOBA, .290 wOBA overall) and Brandon Crawford (.441 wOBA, .277 wOBA overall). Hunter Pence has turned it up lately since his slow start (.420 wOBA L7, .328 wOBA overall). What isn’t necessarily surprising is that there have only been three HR in the last seven days by the Giants (Arias, Crawford, Scutaro), and there has only been one stolen base (Scutaro). Chances are if the Giants want to score more and increase that chance of winning, both those numbers will need to get turned up a notch. Notably cold is Ryan Theriot (.176 wOBA L7, .281 wOBA overall), but I’ve talked about it on Twitter before, he and Scutaro are better bench players than regulars, so to rely on them for consistent production is — while understandable — a little silly.
How time flies, as Hanley Ramirez already has 100 PA with his new team, and it looks like he’s settling in just fine (.489 wOBA L7, 3 HR L7, .339 wOBA overall). The guy who’s lighting it up is Luis Cruz, who after plenty of Minor League action did not even have a ML HR before having 4 this year (.557 wOBA L7, 2 HR L7, .344 wOBA overall), so we’ll see if/when he regresses or he’s just doing the 2010 Andres Torres thing. James Loney is another name that has been the focal point of a lot of Dodger frustration, but every dog has their day (.399 wOBA L7, 2 HR L7, .274 wOBA overall) for a guy contributing less than Ryan Theriot is for the Giants. Someone who’s been surprisingly cold but you wouldn’t expect it to last much longer is Matt Kemp (.233 wOBA L7, .421 wOBA overall) because he just has too much talent to stay sleeping, but you know not many people outside of the Dodger organization would mind if he took a rest-of-the-season break.
I’m predicting it won’t be a sweep, and the Giants come out a 0.5 game ahead of the Think Blue crowd.
Monday: Dodgers win (MadBum gets Cain’d)
Tuesday: Giants win (Timmy finds a way to do less worse than Blanton)
Wednesday: Giants win (Matt Cain because he’s Matt Cain)