The Dodgers look to get back to their winning ways in game two of their four game set in San Francisco.
The Dodgers suffered their first loss of the season yesterday and turn to a rookie to stop the hot bats of the Giants.
Yesterday’s game was a lot of fun if you only watched the first four innings. It got slightly less fun in the fifth, and the last three innings were torture.
The Dodgers went 2-8 last season in San Francisco, and yesterday’s loss brought back those painful memories for some fans. The Dodgers looked like they were set to spoil the Giants’ home opener, but everything fell apart in the final 4.5 innings. A win would have helped put fans at ease, but a loss is just a loss and hopefully that loss isn’t a precursor for the rest of the season. The Dodgers lost their first six games in SF last season (and split the final four-game set), so struggling up there would probably seem like a bad omen. Rookie Ross Stripling will make his Dodger debut in hostile territory after beating out Carlos Frias for the fifth starter spot.
Stripling put together a mostly-nice spring, but allowed five runs in his final tuneup against the Padres. He was a good pitching prospect in the past and had a chance to make a name for himself last season, but underwent Tommy John surgery and missed 2014 and abut half of the 2015 season. In his last full season, which came in 2013, Stripling posted a 2.82 ERA in 127 innings. He’s never pitched above AA, so jumping from Tulsa to AT&T might be a sizable mountain for Stripling to climb, but the Dodgers have been swinging the bat well and it could be another shootout up north. He gets a bit of a break as Buster Posey won’t play today, but this Giants lineup is deep and puts the ball in play.
Matt Cain gets the ball for the Giants, and this is a lot less scary of a sentence to type in 2016 than it was in 2012. Cain has fallen off hard since his days as a number one starter, possibly due to his inability to stay healthy. Cain didn’t make his first start in 2015 until July due to a strained flexor, and after 10 starts he hit the DL again. He returned a few weeks later, but never really put together a string of Cain-like outings.
Fortunately for the Giants, Cain enters this season as their number five starter, rather than the number two he was going into last season. If he struggles, it’s not like this team is depending on him all that much. The Dodgers haven’t faced Cain since May 2014, but Cain was already well into his decline at that point.
For the most part, the same lineup they’ve been running out there. A.J. Ellis and Austin Barnes continue their alternating days behind the plate, but I thought there was a chance Barnes would catch today, freeing up Ellis to catch Clayton Kershaw in the early game tomorrow.
Also peculiar is Scott Van Slyke starting over Carl Crawford against a righty. For the flak Crawford gets, he’s come up with some timely hits this season and in his first start yesterday, Van Slyke looked bad at the plate in three of his four plate appearances. Considering the Dodgers face a lefty in Madison Bumgarner tomorrow, I thought CC would get the start tonight. Maybe he’s hurt or they’re really pushing defense in a big park behind a rookie pitcher.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 and will be shown on Sportsnet LA. Assuming it doesn’t rain.