Despite a solid spot start by Scott Baker on Sunday afternoon, the Dodgers dropped game three to the Padres and failed to complete the three-game sweep. After a frustrating 2-4 road trip, the Dodgers are surely happy to return home to beautiful Dodger Stadium where they have played extremely well so far this season. The Dodgers are 8-1 at home this season and 3-6 on the road so far.
The Dodgers are still in first place, and they are one game ahead of both Colorado and San Diego in the N.L. West. The Boys in Blue will play three games against the pumpkin colored foes and three games versus the D-backs before they take off to Milwaukee and Colorado on their next road trip. The Giants already swept the Dodgers at AT&T Park on the losing road trip, but hopefully they can return the favor at Dodger Stadium this week.
Even though the Dodgers have had early season injuries to Yasiel Puig, Hyun-jin Ryu, Brandon League, Joel Peralta, Kenley Jansen, A.J. Ellis and Brandon McCarthy, the Dodgers roster depth assembled by the new front office this offseason has really been important. The Dodgers are second in the league in batting average (.270), first in homeruns (26) and lead in OBP (.349), SLG (.480) as well as OPS (.830). Not too shabby.
The main concern right now for the Dodgers is their starting pitching rotation which may take a big hit should Brandon McCarthy have any significant elbow injury. Further tests are awaiting. The Dodger starters have a combined ERA of 4.00 and lead the league with 19 homeruns allowed (9 of which were served up by the injured McCarthy).
The Dodgers bullpen has been conversely very effective even without their closer Kenley Jansen, and the relief squad is third in the league with a combined 2.63 ERA and they are tops in strikeouts (71). Yimi Garcia, the rookie southpaw, has been amazing. Garcia is 2-0 with a 0.93 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings of work. He has only allowed 1 earned run on 3 hits with 3 walks. Paco Rodriguez has also only allowed 1 earned run thus far, and the lefty has struck out 5 in 4 2/3 innings.
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The Dodgers need a strong start from starter Brett Anderson on Monday night who will be making his fourth start in Blue. The 27-year old southpaw lost his last start against the Giants. He allowed 4 runs on 9 hits with 1 strikeout and no walks in 4 innings. Anderson’s starts have progressively gotten shorter with his first start lasting 6 innings, second was 5 innings and third was just 4 frames long. No Dodger starter has pitched more than 7 innings so far this season.
Anderson will have to deal with the Giants and their plethora of bloop hits once again…
Anderson is winless against the Giants in his career (0-3) with a 6.19 ERA in 4 career games. Justin Maxwell already has 3 hits in 5 at bats against Anderson.
The Dodgers will have to deal with old nemesis Tim Lincecum once again in the rematch who already has beaten Anderson once up north this season. Timmy allowed 1 run on 5 hits with 5 strikeouts and 3 walks over 6 innings against the Dodgers in the 6-2 Giants win. Overall, The Freak is 10-7 with a 3.31 ERA in 27 games (25 starts) against the Dodgers. He is 5-5 with a 3.64 ERA in 13 games at Dodger Stadium. Andre Ethier and Juan Uribe have both hit 2 homeruns against Lincecum in the past.
All eyes will be on Alex Guerrero this series after the Cuban infielder has dazzled with his five homeruns in just 24 plate appearances. He has collected 13 RBI and has a 1.773 OPS. Even though supposed scouting reports (I have yet to read these firsthand) claimed that Guerrero was defensively subpar, I have always maintained that Guerrero is at least capable around the infield after following him and documenting his work at second and third base on video over two Spring Trainings. We also followed Guerrero’s shortened season with Albuquerque before Miguel Olivo bit his ear off derialing his progression.
Even though Juan Uribe is still a favorite of mine, Alex Guerrero should get some more playing time at the hot corner after proving himself this Spring and with this fantastically magical start to his “rookie” season. Guerrero made two great defensive plays at third base during Sunday’s loss to San Diego.
Home sweet home. The Dodgers are back at the Magic Castle, and I’m looking forward to them getting some revenge on the Hated Ones.