The Los Angeles Dodgers began the 2014 regular season by winning both games of the Opening Series in Australia, but have since had multiple pitchers succumb to injury and are 2-3 in their last five games, including dropping the first two games of the three-game series with the San Francisco Giants. A pair of left-handers made their respective starts on Saturday and Sunday pits two right-handers against each other.
Charged with helping the Dodgers avoid being swept at the hands of their bitter rival is Zack Greinke. Fully recovered from a calf strain suffered in spring training, Greinke made his first start of the season on Tuesday against the San Diego Padres in impressive fashion. The 30-year-old pitcher retired the first 10 batters he faced and struck out 10 in five innings of work en route to earning the win. Greinke only faced the Giants once last season, going six innings, allowing one run and striking out five in a Dodgers 3-2 home win.
In both of the Giant wins, they have managed to score within the first two innings of each game, putting the Dodgers in an early hole. Historic thorns in the Dodgers’ side, Joaquin Arias and Angel Pagan have had the most success against Greinke, though in limited plate appearances. In five at-bats against Greinke, Arias is hitting .400 and Pagan is batting .333 in six at-bats. Pagan went 2-for-4 with a double, one RBI and a walk in the Giants win on Saturday.
Coming off a disappointing 2013 season where he went 8-10, Matt Cain makes his second start of 2014. Cain pitched five innings in the Giants’ second regular season game, allowing three runs on seven hits and ending up with a no-decision. Cain started five games against the Dodgers in 2013, including on Opening Day, and went 1-4. Whereas Madison Bumgarner entered his start on Saturday with an impressive stat line at Dodger Stadium, the Giants are 6-7 in Cain’s career starts at Chavez Ravine.
Collectively, current Dodgers on the roster are hitting .319 off Cain. When taking into account the total number of times a batter has faced Cain, Andre Ethier arguably has had the most success. In 68 career at-bats against Cain, Ethier is hitting .441 with a 1.040 OPS. Yasiel Puig appeared to injure his left thumb while diving into first base on an infield single and is not in Sunday’s lineup. X-rays on Puig’s left thumb were negative, but the outfielder left the clubhouse prior to the game to undergo an MRI. Other notable changes in the Dodgers’ lineup are Dee Gordon leading off and Drew Butera drawing his first start this season.
Sunday’s 5:00 PM PT start will be broadcast on ESPN2, which is another opportunity for those without Time Warner Cable’s SportsNet LA to see the Dodgers in action. Negotiations between TWC and DirecTV reportedly broke down on Thursday and the Dodger network is currently only available through Bright House Networks, Champion Broadband and TWC.
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