Tonight's game at Dodger Stadium between the Dodgers and the Giants gives us a pitching matchup of the highest order. Clayton Kershaw takes the mound against his fellow 2006 first-round draftee Tim Lincecum, in a battle between two pitchers who figure to vie for the Cy Young Award this season. The two pitchers have met just once before, and that game gave us a nickname for our current manager.
Last July 20, Kershaw and the Dodgers were leading 5-4 after six innings, but Kershaw and manager Joe Torre were ejected after Kershaw
intentionally hit Aaron Rowand with his first pitch of the seventh inning. Luckily for the Dodgers, however, they held onto the 5-4 lead into the ninth inning, when Jonathan Broxton entered for a possible save. This is what happened next:
With one out and the bases loaded in the top of the ninth, up by a run, acting manager Don Mattingly made a visit to the mound to discuss strategy withand the infield. However, as he was leaving the mound, Mattingly got to the grass, then turned around after asked a question.
Technically, Mattingly made two visits to the mound, meaning Broxton had to be removed from the game. At that point, nobody was warming up, naturally with their closer on the mound, so the Dodgers had to scramble to find relief.was brought in to turn switch-hitter around, but the embattled reliever allowed a two-run double and the lead was gone.
Three ninth-inning runs later, and the Donnie Two Times moniker for Mattingly was born.
Kershaw & Valenzuela
The Dodgers haven't had a left-handed starting pitcher on opening day since 1988, when Fernando Valenzuela took the hill against the Giants at Dodger Stadium. Valenzuela, who made six opening day starts for the Dodgers, is throwing out the ceremonial first pitch tonight, so it's only perfect that another southpaw in Kershaw will throw out the real first pitch as well. At 23 years, 12 days old, Kershaw is the youngest Dodger opening day starter since Valenzuela in 1983.
Kershaw has allowed six earned runs in five career starts against the Giants, including his only career complete game and shutout, last September 14 in San Francisco. Kershaw has 28 strikeouts in 20 career innings against the Giants at Dodger Stadium, though he has three no-decisions in three starts.
Lincecum is making his third straight opening day start for the Giants, with mixed results in his previous two season openers. Last year, Lincecum was wonderful, allowing four hits and no runs in seven innings while striking out seven, but in 2009 he was pulled after throwing 78 pitches in three innings, allowing three runs on four hits and three walks.
The Giants are 7-2 in Lincecum's nine career starts against the Dodgers.