The Los Angeles Dodger embark on their first interleague series of the season in a two-game series against the Detroit Tigers. For some, this match up is a potential 2014 World Series preview as both teams are their respective league’s early favorites. The Tigers and the Dodgers have dominant starting pitching as well as big bats in their lineups, and the next two games will undoubtedly be exciting.
Dan Haren makes his second start of the season and home debut today after a solid outing last week against the Padres. The righty pitched six innings giving up only one unearned run and four hits in his first win of the season. The 33-year-old is showing his discipline on the mound, but may see a little more difficulty with the Tigers’ lineup than he did with the Padres’ lineup. Torii Hunter has homered in all of his last three games, but the right fielder is 1 for 11 in his career against Haren, which means the Dodgers could be the team to cool him down.
The Tigers stellar pitching was a huge component of the team’s postseason success last year as they defeated the Oakland Athletics in the NLDS before falling to the eventual World Series champion Boston Red Sox during the ALCS. On the mound today is the 2013 AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer. The 29-year-old right-hander had an unsurprisingly impressive 2014 debut against the Royals last week going eight strong innings with seven strikeouts allowing only four hits and no runs. The Dodgers should expect nothing less from the Cy Young winner, but Scherzer will be forced take a few at-bats on the Dodgers home turf. He has reportedly been bunting since spring training and has even been working in the batting cages more recently.
The Dodgers will be without A.J. Ellis for today’s game as well as many more to follow as the catcher underwent knee surgery Tuesday morning to repair a tear in his meniscus. The starting catcher’s role will presumably be split between Drew Butera and Tim Federowicz, whom the Dodgers recalled ahead of Wednesday’s game. Federowicz’s call up comes despite backing up Miguel Olivo at the Triple-A level. Olivo has served as the Albuquerque Isotope’s primary catcher, starting three of the Isotopes’ four games thus far, with Federowicz only starting once.
Butera started in Sunday’s game against the Giants, going 0-for-3, and although he may not be a huge force at the plate, his defensive ability will hopefully offset his lack of production with the bat. Butera returns to the backup role at the very least for Wednesday however, as Federowicz gets the nod to start behind the plate. Yasiel Puig is missing a second consecutive game after injuring his thumb on a head-first dive into first base. Puig is still considered day-to-day.
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