Today we preview the first two games of the series between the Dodgers and the Giants. Giants currently sit in first place in the division. Can LA cut the deficit or will they dig themselves a deeper whole?
I've said since the beginning of the year when the Dodgers had the best record in baseball, that they were a five game over .500 squad and that is exactly what they are around right now. They have absolutely no pitching besides Clayton Kershaw.
They made a decent move in bringing in Hanley Ramirez to try and revive his career and the offense but even he is only hitting .250 and hasn't produced at all the last two years. This Los Angeles line up simply cannot produce runs unless Matt Kemp is playing out of his skull and at the moment that is not happening.
In Game 1 LA will face one of the best right handers in the game in Matt Cain and their struggles look to get even worse, being the Dodgers are hitting just .223 as team averaging barely 3 runs per nine innings against RHP.
Matt Cain and Stephen Fife
These two RHPs will take the hill in Game 1, with the Giants holding a significant pitching advantage. Although Cain is coming off one of his worst outings of the season, in which Philly rocked him for five earned and 3 deep balls. Things look to turn around today though for Matt as this game will be played at AT&T Park. At home Cain is completely dominate with 1.96 ERA, giving up just 44 this in 69 IP and just 15 earned runs. The Dodger offense is certainly in for the long haul today.
Stephen Fife made his first career start 10 days ago against the Phillies and went 6 innings of four hit balls, giving up one earned run. Fife has a very strange delivery to plate, it looks almost as if he is constantly pitching out of the stretch, with a quick herky jerky move, picking up his left foot very quickly about an inch off the ground and delivering the ball to the plate with no stride at all. This type of thing can certainly throw hitters timing off big time.
The Giants offense hasn't been much to write home about either in the past four games. Over that time frame they have scored more than three runs just one time and that came against the lowly Padres and Clayton Richard.
Cain will return to his dominate ways, especially in his own ball park, rarely do you ever see this kid have back to back bad outings. Matt Kemp struck out 3 times yesterday against the Cardinals, so he is certainly not feeling good at the plate and that spells bad news for the Dodgers offense. With Fifes quirky deliver, it’s going to take at least 4-5 innings for the Giants offense to get their timing down and figure him out, so runs surely should be hard to come by for both teams.
We like the UNDER in Game 1 of this series as part of our MLB picks.
In Game 2 we have Chad Billingsly and Barry Zito squaring off. Both pitchers have been flying under the radar as of late and been surprisingly good. I think the Dodgers and Billingsly hold the edge here in this second game of the series.
It looks as if Zito is back to his old Oakland Athletic ways. He has certainly picked up the slack in the Giants rotation, while Tim Lincecum has completely fallen off. In his last three starts, Zito is 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 14 Ks. Though when we look under the surface, the numbers show Zito has been getting by with pure luck. His xERA is 5.20, a full point higher than his natural ERA and he has benefited from a 75% strand rate. Those runners are surely going to start crossing the plate soon and we will see a correction in Zitos ERA and not for the better either.
On the other hand Chad Billingsly was thriving than hit the DL. In his first start back against the Cardinals, Bills dominated going 6 innings, scattering 7 hits, while giving up just 1 earned run and striking out 4. Chads K:BB ratio is off the charts this year, striking out 104 batters to just 33 walks, so his 4.15 ERA does him no justice. Chads xERA of of 3.68 shows he has pitched much better than his 4.15 indicates, he's been burned for a 68% strand rate while batters are hitting .338 batting average of balls in play. We will see a correction in these numbers but unlike Zitos, they will not be for the worst.
Barry Zito is, plain and simple, just way too unreliable to back as a starting pitcher, especially if the Giants are laying chalk in Game 2, which they most likely will be
. If there ever was a time for the Dodger offense to get loose and break out, it will be against Zito. Barrys numbers show a big time correction is coming and his ERA is soon to balloon and what better time to start than Game 2 of this series.We like the Dodgers in Game 2 of this series.