Dodgers Giants Game One Preview

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Apr 5, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) laughs before the game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) laughs before the game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /
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Fresh off a series victory, the Dodgers hope to fare better against the Giants this time around.

Clayton Kershaw will make his 2016 home debut and will face off against the Giants and Madison Bumgarner. It really doesn’t get much better than this.

After a great first outing in San Diego, Kershaw “struggled” in his start in San Francisco against the Giants and Bumgarner. Relatively speaking, of course, but on a game that was slightly delayed due to weather, Kershaw gave up a pair of uncharacteristic moonshots to the Giants. The first, an absolutely crushed homer for Bumgarner. The second was hit by number nine hitter Ehire Adrianza and was equally demolished. The Dodgers got runners in scoring position in three of Bumgarner’s six innings, but only mustered a run off him on a bases-loaded hit by pitch.

The Dodgers went on to win the game in the 10th on back-to-back doubles by Corey Seager and Charlie Culberson. While the Dodgers have been frustrating and seemingly struggle with RISP, they currently have the fourth highest batting average with runners in scoring position in baseball, only behind the Giants, Marlins and Rockies. A lot of that could be from their first series against the Padres, but the Dodgers are more than capable.

This will be the ninth time Kershaw and Bumgarner face off in their career. I’m not as concerned about Kershaw the pitcher against Bumgarner the pitcher, as the Giants have scored more than two runs against him three times in his 31 career starts against them and have never scored more than four against him. However, Bumgarner has two home runs against Kershaw, and while it’s slightly annoying when one of the many talented position players on the Giants takes Kershaw deep, it’s downright infuriating when Bumgarner does.

With a second straight lefty on the mound, the Dodgers sit Joc Pederson again. He’s sat against all three lefties the Dodgers have faced this season (granted two of the games have been against the same pitcher). Like I wrote yesterday, I really don’t think he should be a part of a platoon. He’s too talented and hasn’t showed that he can’t hit lefties yet.

Justin Turner returns to the lineup after a day off yesterday. Howie Kendrick moves back to second, and Culberson starts at short for Seager. I would like Seager starting against a tough lefty, but he looked as bad as I’ve ever seen him at the plate yesterday and a day off would probably do him some good.

Chris Hatcher has been activated from the paternity list. The Dodger will carry 13 pitchers as Austin Barnes, not Adam Liberatore, was sent down for Hatcher. As much as I love Barnes and as much as he deserves a spot on the major league team, getting him playing time is also important and he’ll be able to do that more consistently in OKC. This also gives the Dodgers a second lefty out of the bullpen.

Tonight is Jackie Robinson day at the stadium and all around the majors. Amanda wrote about Robinson’s legacy and the ceremonies before tonight’s game.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PST and will be shown on Sportsnet LA and MLB Network (blacked out in LA and SF markets).

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