Dodgers vs. Giants: Ricky Nolasco goes for crazy 8

Harry How

The Dodgers have won 10 of Nolasco's 12 starts since joining the Dodgers on July 6, and have averaged 5.33 runs per game of support.

Ricky Nolasco takes the mound on Saturday looking to continue the run of his career as the Dodgers host the Giants in the third game of a four-game series at Dodger Stadium.

Nolasco has won seven straight decisions and is 7-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his last eight starts, with 46 strikeouts and eight walks in 51 innings. He has six consecutive quality starts and has yet to allow more than three runs in any of his 12 starts since joining the Dodgers.

Dodgers starting pitchers are 31-12 with a 2.42 ERA in 62 starts since the trade for Nolasco on July 6, with 333 strikeouts and 76 walks in 391 innings, a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.38.

Nolasco allowed one unearned run on Monday against Arizona and hasn't given up an earned run at home since the second inning against the Mets on Aug. 12, a span of 27 innings. Nolasco has a 1.32 ERA at Dodger Stadium this season, with 29 strikeouts and seven walks in five starts.

Against the Giants Nolasco is 5-3 with a 2.09 ERA in nine career starts and hasn't allowed more than three runs in any one start. His 2.09 ERA against San Francisco is his second-best mark against any team, trailing only the 1.69 ERA in two starts against the Athletics. Saturday night is Nolasco's first start against the Giants since joining the Dodgers.

But even with that career success against San Francisco, several Giants have had career success against Nolasco.

Hunter Pence has four home runs in 31 plate appearances against Nolasco, hitting .276/.323/.759. Pablo Sandoval is 6-for-13 (.462) with three doubles and two home runs against him, and Gregor Blanco is 7-for-15 (.467) with a double. Buster Posey is 5-for-16 (.313) with a double and Angel Pagan is 6-for-21 (.286) with a double and three walks (.360 on-base percentage).

Even Tim Lincecum is 2-for-6 with a double and a triple against Nolasco, but it will be far more interesting to see what Lincecum does on the mound on Saturday than at the plate.

Lincecum's strikeout rate (23.1% of batters faced) and walk rate (9.3%) are pretty much in line with his 2011 campaign (24.4%, 9.6% respectively), but he is 9-13 with a 4.40 ERA this year, a far cry from his 2.74 ERA two seasons ago.

An increased home run rate — one every 60 batters faced in 2011, one every 40 batters faced in 2013 — might tell part of the story, but so does a fastball at 90.2 mph, two notches slower than two years ago (92.3 mph).

Lincecum has made two starts against the Dodgers this season. On April 3 he tied a career high with seven walks but picked up the win as he only allowed two unearned runs in five innings. On June 26 Lincecum tied a season high with 10 hits allowed and picked up the loss as he gave up four runs in 5⅓ innings in San Francisco.

A.J. Ellis has walked seven times in 21 plate appearances against Lincecum, so even though he is just 3-for-14 (.214) his on-base percentage is .476, and two of his three hits are doubles. Andre Ethier has hit .265/.333/.449 with two home runs in 51 PA against Lincecum, and Adrian Gonzalez is 9-for-47 (.191) with 16 strikeouts against the right-hander. Mark Ellis is 6-for-18 (.333) with a double and three walks, while Skip Schumaker is hitting .259/.310/.407 with a home run and a double in 29 PA against Lincecum.

The Dodgers are 7-7 against the Giants this season, including 5-3 at Dodger Stadium.

Game info

Time: 6:10 p.m.

TV: Prime Ticket

MLB Gameday

5:10 p.m.: Colorado at Arizona - Gameday

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