The Los Angeles Dodgers are back at Chavez Ravine after a disappointing 5-4 record on a nine-game road trip that was complete with multiple rain delays and more extra-inning baseball. Beginning Thursday, the Dodgers face the San Francisco Giants for a four-game set.
The Dodgers and Giants have played each other six times thus far, with the northern California rival winning four of the games. In both three-game series, one played at each team’s respective stadium, the Giants have won the first two games.
Responsible with changing the Dodgers’ fortunes is Josh Beckett, who is making his second start against the Giants this season. Beckett faced the Giants in his second outing of 2014 and pitched five innings, striking out four, allowing two hits and no runs in what resulted in a 3-2 loss in the 12th inning for the Dodgers. The start came at a time when Beckett was attempting to develop some rhythm and work on his stamina.
In what’s been a common theme for the right-hander, Beckett took home a no-decision in the game and is just 0-1 through five starts. Beckett has a lifetime 4-5 record and 3.43 ERA in 10 starts against the Giants. Among the Giants in Bruce Bochy’s lineup who have a minimum of 10 at-bats against the Dodger right-hander, Hunter Pence has had the most success. In 19 career plate appearances, Pence is hitting .421 off Beckett.
Taking the mound for the Giants is Ryan Vogelsong, who like Beckett, has had his fair share of no-decisions this season — Vogelsong is 1-1 with a 4.60 ERA in six starts. The veteran right-hander faced the Dodgers on April 4, throwing just four innings and allowing four runs in the no-decision. Throughout his career, Vogelsong has been tormented by Dee Gordon and Matt Kemp, who are hitting .391 and .304, respectively, with each making 23 plate appearances against the pitcher.
Thursday’s outfield rotation landed on the names of Carl Crawford, Kemp and Yasiel Puig. Kemp and Puig have typically been in the lineup aside from days off for rest and Crawford’s recent hot hitting appears to have paid off. Drew Butera is starting behind the plate after catching Clayton Kershaw’s return on Tuesday.
Dodgers Pre Game: Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw And Yasiel Puig