Here are some early morning notes as the Dodgers prepare to face the Giants and their two-time defending National League Cy Young Award winner:
- The last time the Dodgers faced Tim Lincecum was a Sunday home game, which means I was here to cover the game (and take home a Webkinz!). The first 16 Dodger batters last September 20 took the first pitch, and with the Dodgers' patient approach Lincecum was done after throwing 86 pitches and giving up five runs in four innings, tied for the fourth-shortest outing of his career.
- Ronnie Belliard was in the midst of his hot streak that day, and had a key two-run single that helped chase Lincecum from the game. Belliard is expected to start both games this weekend, today at third base for Casey Blake.
- The outfield is powering this 6.8-runs-per-game offense, with eight home runs in the first four games of the homestand. Matt Kemp has homered in all four games, Andre Ethier has three long balls, and Manny Ramirez chipped in with one on Tuesday. It's a great sign when Manny and his .969 OPS is the forgotten one in the outfield
- Here are the strikeout rates per nine innings for today's starters: Charlie Haeger 16.7, Lincecum 10.9
- With Hiroki Kuroda and Vicente Padilla each having strong outings the last two games, the Dodgers have back-to-back starts of seven innings or more for the first time since last August, when Randy Wolf and Haeger turned the trick against the Cubs.
Xeifrank's simulation of today's game is here.
Game Time: 1:10pm