The Los Angeles Dodgers faced off against the San Francisco Giants for their home opening series two weekends ago, and the two teams will meet yet again today, but this time at AT&T Park. Although the Dodgers were able to sweep the Diamondbacks this weekend, the teams was only able to take one game from the Giants during their last meeting. With the plethora of NL West match ups so early in the season, the Dodgers are looking to assert their dominance as the front runners of their division.
Josh Beckett takes the mound for the second time this season after making his long awaited comeback from a Thoracic Outlet Surgery performed last May. With almost a year without making a start, Beckett returned on April 9 against the Detroit Tigers and did not look very comfortable on the mound. The 33-year-old right-hander went only 4.0 innings allowing five hits and four runs, but given the veteran’s prolonged absence from regular season pitching, Beckett won’t be too heavily scrutinized until these types of outings become a regular occurrence.
Many attributed his poor numbers last year to the numbness in his hand, but with the tingling gone, Beckett is expected to post better numbers and be a more reliable starter. Hopefully he can put his first start of the season behind him as he looks to regain the dominance at the mound he once had.
For the Giants, Tim Lincecum is today’s starter. Whereas Dodger starters triumphed against Arizona’s bats this weekend, Lincecum has not had the same walk through the park. The 29-year-old right-hander has made just two starts this season, both of which have been against the D-backs, and he currently has a 9.90 ERA having given up 15 runs and 11 earned runs in just ten innings pitched. If Lincecum shows the same kind of performance tonight, the Dodgers lineup should have little trouble facing the two-time Cy Young winner.
After missing two consecutive games, Carl Crawford is back in the Dodgers lineup, batting second. With the left fielder’s return, Yasiel Puig moves down in the order and is batting fifth. It’s an interesting spot in the lineup for Puig, who is hitting behind the streaking Adrian Gonzalez. Puig has only faced Lincecum eight times in his career and the inexperience could lead to Gonzalez being pitched around. The hot-hitting first baseman has homered in four consecutive games and has an extra base hit in eight straight.
Before the game, the Dodgers activated Brian Wilson from the disabled list and optioned left-hander Paco Rodriguez to Triple-A. The move came as a bit of a surprise, especially considering that the team now has just one southpaw out of the bullpen.
Both of Gonzalez’s streaks will be put to the test as he has neither a home run or an extra base hit off Lincecum in 52 career at-bats.
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