Dodgers: An Opening Series Preview of the Best Rivalry in Baseball

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Clayton Kershaw
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Clayton Kershaw /
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Game Two – Alex Wood vs Johnny Cueto

Alex Wood:

Not a lot needs to be said about the 2017 All-Star, Alex Wood. He has good command, controls both sides of the plate, works efficiently by generating many ground-balls, and mixes his pitches well. Wood has really fine-tuned his slider to form it into his strikeout pitch – to go with his ability to get ahead of hitters early in the count.

Wood will have to really take care of the 2012 NL MVP, Buster Posey – if he wants to limit any significant damage that can be had. Posey has two doubles and has slashed a line of .467/.600/1.100 in 15 ABs against the lefty, Wood. There is certainly no moment to let a slider get away and end up hanging or letting a fastball drift over the middle of the plate to be crushed by the Giant backstop.

Johnny Cueto:

Johnny Cute barely struck even last year as he went 8-8, with a 4.52 ERA. Historically speaking, he has been much better than he was last year; that alone gives good reason to believe that he is set on bouncing back into his well-known form. The Cueto that Major League Baseball knows is one of compelling style – mixed with a winning mentality. As a 32-year-old, we still are much aware of the fact that Cueto, when on, can be one of the top pitchers in the game. Assuming he plans on varying his deliveries and switching his pitching style every now and then, he could throw his way to a successful first outing if he disrupts the Dodger hitters enough.

An older Dodger face has had number 47 shaken up a few times in the past, and hopefully, Matt Kemp will be able to rattle Cueto once again. The veteran who the Dodgers recently brought back has hit Johnny Baseball well; posting a .324 batting average and three home runs on the resume. There is a chance that the success of Kemp will force him to be more anxious at the plate – as he tries to feast on fastballs. If Cueto can mess with Kemp’s timing, and work the breaking pitches down and away, he could be on a fast track to a solid game.