Dodgers Astros Game Two Preview


It can’t be coincidence that the Dodgers got no-hit on a day that neither Dodgers’ Way writer was able to write a recap.

Good news, probability states that the Dodgers likely won’t get no-hit today. Yesterday’s game was the low point of the season, so it’s all uphill from here. Hopefully, the Dodger bats come out angry today and the Dodgers can get some revenge for yesterday’s contest.

Things should be better today, as Zack Greinke is on the hill. Pitching wasn’t the issue yesterday as Brett Anderson and the Dodger bullpen were both solid last night, but games always seem more exciting when Greinke or Clayton Kershaw are on the hill. Unfortunately, in an AL park Greinke won’t be hitting today, so there is still a chance of getting no-hit.

Aug 18, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Enrique Hernandez (14) reacts after striking out against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at Coliseum. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4 in extra innings. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Greinke should fare pretty well on the hill against the power-hungry Astros. Houston leads baseball in home runs and scored their three runs on two homers yesterday. Greinke hasn’t allowed multiple home runs in a game this season and has only allowed one since June 13. He has the lowest ERA and WHIP in all of baseball and it definitely feels good to have him on the mound after a rough loss yesterday.

Greinke is 3-1 in five career starts at Minute Maid park and has given up eight runs in 24 innings. He’s never surrendered a home run there and has only given up two homers in 87 plate appearances against current Astros (Carlos Gomez and Jed Lowrie). Jose Altuve and Luis Valbuena are each hitting over .400 in double digit plate appearances against Greinke.

Scott Kazmir, who probably should have been a Dodger at the trade deadline, is on the hill for Houston. He was out of baseball three years ago, but has been pretty solid over the last couple years and is arguably having the best season of his career this year. His first two starts with the Astros were solid, but he hasn’t made it out of the sixth in his last three starts. He gave up six runs and nine hits in five 1/3 innings last time out against Tampa.

Kazmir hasn’t faced the Dodgers since June 2010, when the Dodgers scored five runs in four innings against him and the Angels. Jimmy Rollins only has one hit in 13 career plate appearances against Kazmir, and weirdly enough lefties Carl Crawford and Chase Utley have had the most success against Kazmir in the past. Crawford is 5-8 with a walk and Utley is 3-8 with a homer, and neither of them have ever struck out against Kazmir.

Yasiel Puig returns after leaving Wednesday’s game in Oakland with a hamstring strain. Clearly, it wasn’t all that serious and hopefully three days off will do him some good.

With a lefty on the hill, the Dodgers are rolling out a primarily right handed lineup. This is where the Utley acquisition pays off, as Enrique Hernandez is now free to play in center to give Joc Pederson a day off.

This marks Yasmani Grandal‘s fifth start against a left handed pitcher this season. In 49 plate appearances against lefties this year, Grandal is hitting .341, but only has one extra base hit. However, he’s caught Greinke’s last 14 starts and 22 of his 26 starts this season. This also sets up A.J. Ellis to catch for Kershaw in tomorrow’s day game.

Alex Guerrero is back in as the DH. He’s struck out in three of his last four at bats and hasn’t hit a home run since July 31. With a lefty on the hill, Ellis is the lone right handed bat off the bench.

First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PST and will be shown on Sportsnet LA.