This is a big series not because we are playing the Giants but because the Rockies are playing the Padres and we can expect no help from the boys down south who are undermanned and will probably be overwhelmed by the hottest team in baseball.
So to keep our two game lead, the boys in blue will need to take at least 2 of 3 from the struggling Giants. The Giants still have a potent pitching staff and recently added Madison Bumgarner to the back end of the rotation. The current rotation of Lincecum/Cain/Sanchez/Zito/Bumgartner is a scary sight and will be a scary sight for years to come. Since being demoted to the bullpen and having to make a spot start which turned into a shocking no-hitter, Sanchez has been a solid force giving them four quality starting pitchers. Zito jokes abound but this year they don't have much zing because Zito is doing the job. Since the all-star game here are the splits for the rotation:
Four pitchers in the rotation, none with an ERA over 3.17 and none with an OPS against > .652 since the all-star game. They have turned every hitter into a Russell Martin. Since our team already has trouble scoring runs expect this series to be tight.
Luckily for the rest of the league the Giants can't hit at all. If you think the Dodgers are wasting some great pitching you should see what the Giants are wasting. The biggest shock is not that the Giants can't hit, but that they are not the worse scoring team in the NL, only the 3rd worse. They brought up the future in Posey but have yet to get him one single at bat in a week of play. Who knew the 2nd best hitter on the team would only be window dressing as they fight for a playoff spot. If they want to shoot themselves in the foot, who are we to argue with them.
Tonight we face Cain who has consistently been one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2009, but unlike other teams we can counter with an Andre who owns Cain like no one else in baseball with over 25 at bats against him. Andre carries a 1.238 OPS against one of the better pitchers in baseball with 17 hits in 30 at bats. Unfortunately only two of those 17 hits are for extra bases and none are home runs so while we can expect Andre to get on base, someone is going to have to drive him in. Who will step up to the plate tonight? In the past the Dodgers have had more success against Cain then any NL team other then the Phillies with a .822 OPS. Facing Cain will be Kuroda in what has been a forgettable season for him. Now would be a good time to make the same run he made last Sept but can he pitch effectively after taking that line drive off the bong? He will need to with Kershaw/Wolf sitting out this series.
The Giants need to win to keep pace with the Wild Card, they really need a sweep with the Rockies playing the Padres, we need two out of three. This is Sept baseball, don't hate on it, enjoy it. The Giants are desperate, their season swings on this series. Baseball at it's best is baseball that means something in Sept.
ROAD WARRIORS – The Dodgers have won a season-high three straight road series for the third time. Los Angeles also won three straight road sets from May 12-27 (2-1 at Philadelphia , 2-1 at Florida , and 3-0 at Colorado ) and from July 3-12 (2-1 at San Diego , 2-1 at New York Mets, and 2-1 at Milwaukee ). The Dodgers last won four consecutive road series from August 29-September 18, 2008 (2-1 at Arizona , 2-1 at San Diego , 2-1 at Colorado , and 3-1 at Pittsburgh ).
BIG TIME – The Dodgers are 7-5 against the Giants thus far in the 18-game season series, and they need to go at least 3-3 in the remaining six games to assure a season series victory. Los Angeles hasn’t lost a season series to San Francisco since 2005, when it went 9-10 against the NL West rival. The two teams split their 18-game season set last year 9-9.
KEEPING THEM IN IT – Dodger pitchers have given up five runs or less in 29 consecutive games beginning August 10, posting a Major League-best 2.67 ERA (78 ER/263.1 IP) overall in that span. In 27 of those 29 games, Dodger pitchers have allowed four runs or less, including nine contests in a row. Los Angeles last gave up more than five runs in a game on August 9 vs. Atlanta , an 8-2 setback. Despite the sterling ERA, the Dodgers are just 16-13 in their last 29 games.
GIVE BLOOD – The Dodgers and the American Red Cross are hosting the Heroes Blood Drive today at Dodger Stadium from 3:00-9:00 p.m. All donors will receive a commemorative Dodgers item and may enter a drawing to win a chance to be honored as the Blood Donor of the Game at one of the remaining regular-season Dodgers home games. To schedule an appointment, or for additional information, please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE, or visit GiveLife.org.