What an electric atmosphere yesterday at Dodger Stadium as the team welcomed the good (Magic Johnson and GBM), but also the bad (the San Francisco Giants) to town. Both were welcomed properly as the owners shined in their debut, while the visitors laid down and took a 9-1 drudging by the home team.
The Giants have now lost five-of-their-last-seven games and could be in for an even longer evening when the Dodgers send Clayton Kershaw to the mound. Kershaw comes off of an outing that saw him allow three home runs for the first time in his career. Still it was not enough for the Rockies to give him a loss. It did snap a nine-game winning streak the Dodgers had on a Kershaw outing. But as for Clayton, he has still won 10 straight decisions, lifting the Dodgers to a 23-10 record last season with him on the bump.
Opposing Kershaw will be Ryan Vogelsong, a pitcher that is looking to right the ship this season having lost two games already. After a shaky beginning to the season (0-1, 4.19 ERA), Vogelsong settled down against the Marlins, holding them to two runs (one earned) on eight hits in 7.0 innings. His control was shaky, walking four batters, a tale that last night’s starter Barry Zito personally witnessed that would seal his doom. Vogelsong will allow hits, giving up six per game, a little less than one per inning that he’s averaged.
San Francisco Giants (14-15) at Los Angeles Dodgers (19-10)
7:10 PM PST, May 8, 2012
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
TV: KCAL, MLB Network
Radio: 570 AM (English), 1020 AM (Spanish)
Game-Time Weather: 71 degrees, clear
For more information on the Giants, check out our pre-series report.
Dodgers Last 10: (6-4): W vs SF, L @ CHC, W @ CHC, L @ CHC, L @ COL, W @ COL, L @ COL, W vs WAS, W vs WAS, W vs WAS.
Giants Last 10: (4-6): L @ LA, W vs MIL, W vs MIL, L vs MIL, L vs MIA, L vs MIA, L vs MIA, W vs SD, W vs SD, L vs SD.
- The Dodgers trail the overall series against the Giants by a margin of 1,098-1,084.
- Clayton Kershaw understands well what this rivalry is all about, quashing the Giants with a 6-1 record and a 1.25 ERA in 11 outings, including 5-0 and a 1.07 ERA in six matchups last year, posting a 6.13 K/BB ratio.
- Ryan Vogelsong is 1-1 with a 6.52 ERA at Dodger Stadium, and is allowing a .338 batting average to Dodger hitters.
Keys to a Dodger Victory:
- Be Patient
Control issues doomed Zito last night. He walked four batters and lasted 6.0 innings, throwing 103 pitches. His ERA for the game of 4.50 was not terrible, but the same cannot be said about the bullpen. In 2.0 innings of work five hits were smashed by the Dodgers, scoring six runs (five earned), and giving both Steve Edlefsen and Travis Blackley a combined 22.50 ERA for the evening. Vogelsong, like Zito is prone to the walk, and can be punished for doing so. The Dodgers have to get on this in the quickest way possible, and further expose a bullpen that is now minus both Brian Wilson and Guillermo Mota.
- Smooth Sailings Clayton
I made a prediction last night that Clayton Kershaw could no-hit this Giants lineup that consists of several names that nobody has heard about. Kershaw’s numbers are again, surreal against the Giants. He understands who he’s facing, and what he must do to shut them down. Without big names Freddy Sanchez, Aubrey Huff, and most importantly, Pablo Sandoval, the Giants are hitting just .204 against Kershaw, and account for just one RBI by Ryan Theriot. So long as nothing changes, the game can be yours Clayton. Learn from your last outing.
- Keep Churning that Lead
The NL West historically gets a bad reputation for having a terrible division. Thus it’s easy to write off it’s division leader come playoff-time. For this the Dodgers must pounce on their opponents. They boast the best home record in the Majors at 11-2 and play host to three teams with a combined winning percentage of .460. I failed to mention that those teams are in second, fourth, and third place behind the Dodgers in the division. The Giants are now five back. Arizona is 5.5, with the Rockies 6.5. The team did it’s job in going 6-1 against the Padres, and as such stand 9.5 on top of the Friars. But I remind you: Lots can change. It’s still early, so get back to work boys!
Best-Case Prediction: Dodgers 7, Giants 0
Worst-Case: Giants 2, Dodgers 1