NL West Round-up: Week 7

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We are about a third of the way through the season and the NL West is once again the Giants and Dodgers show. The Dodgers sit 4.5 games out of first place, but also boast the highest run differential in the division. In other words, the offense, although frustrating, is not in bad shape. Fortune should favor the Dodgers soon enough. Until then, let us see how the division did this last week.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers opened Week 7 at home against the Reds. The Reds are a poor baseball team. They are a team that anyone in the league should beat. Fortunately, the Dodgers swept them over a three-game series. Following the series, the Dodgers headed to New York to face the Mets. Despite losing the first game, the Dodgers took two of three to win the series against the team that knocked them out of the NLDS last season. Here are the box scores.

H R W/L (Dodgers)
05/23 vs. CIN 5 1 W
05/24 vs. CIN 11 8 W
05/25 vs. CIN 3 3 W
05/27 vs. NYM 8 5 L
05/28 vs. NYM 14 9 W
05/29 vs. NYM 9 4 W

Notable Injuries

Trayce Thompson left the game early on May 28 with lower back soreness. He sat out on May 29. In 116 PA, Thompson is hitting .274/.336/.528 with a .369 wOBA and 135 wRC+. His health is one that needs to be preserved, especially if the NL West becomes a race against a healthy Giants team. Thompson has given the Dodgers much needed depth in the lineup and in the outfield, where they’ve seen their share of injuries with Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, and Scott Van Slyke. Thompson is expected to return by May 31.

San Francisco Giants

Much like the Dodgers, the Giants made short work of a team anyone in the league should beat – the Padres. Following the sweep, San Francisco headed to Colorado to face the Rockies. Much like the Dodgers, the the Giants dropped the first game to the Rockies but picked up the next two to win the series. Let’s look at the box scores.

H R W/L (Giants)
05/23 vs. SDP 5 1 W
05/24 vs. SDP 9 8 W
05/25 vs. SDP 9 3 W
05/27 vs. COL 7 2 L
05/28 vs. COL 16 10 W
05/29 vs. COL 17 8 W

Notable Injuries

Matt Cain was placed on the 15-day DL on May 28, sidelined with a right hamstring strain. His return is expected in June. Angel Pagan was placed on the 15-day DL on May 24 with a left hamstring strain. His return is expected in June as well. Also notable, but happening after Week 7, Matt Duffy found himself listed day-to-day on the DL with a bruised left wrist suffered after being beaned with a ball on May 30. His return is expected shortly.

Colorado Rockies

I’m always impressed with people that are impressed with the Rockies. They’re like the car that won’t start, ever, yet someone always goes out hoping that, somehow maybe, it will. Out of their last 15 played, including May 30, the Rockies have gone 6-9. Their week started with a loss in Pittsburgh, followed by a three game series in Boston where they lost the series. Despite being able to win the first game of the series against San Francisco, and string together back-to-back wins, Colorado could not get it together and dropped the final two games against the Giants. To the box scores!

H R W/L (Rockies)
05/23 vs. PIT 7 3 L
05/24 vs. BOS 6 3 L
05/25 vs. BOS 10 3 L
05/26 vs. BOS 12 8 W
05/27 vs. SFG 11 5 W
05/28 vs. SFG 9 5 L
05/29 vs. SFG 8 3 L

Notable Injuries

Nick Hundley, who has been on the 15-day DL with a left oblique strain, took batting practice on May 26 and caught live batting practice on May 28. He is expected to return today, May 31.

Arizona Diamondbacks

The D’backs are in just as bad of shape as the Rockies, except they have played three more games which have given them three more opportunities to tack an L in the standings. Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller – their ace and number two starter – have thrown a combined 5.65 ERA. To put that in perspective, the National League average for ERA is 4.05. Week 7 for Arizona started off in Pittsburgh. They were swept on the road, came home and added another loss to San Diego – dropping the first game in a three game series. They were able to string together two wins to take the series. Have a gander at the box scores.

H R W/L (Diamondbacks)
05/24 vs. PIT 6 1 L
05/25 vs. PIT 9 4 L
05/26 vs. PIT 13 3 L
05/27 vs. SDP 6 3 L
05/28 vs. SDP 10 8 W
05/29 vs. SDP 9 6 W

Notable Injuries

Rubby De La Rosa was placed on the 15-day DL on May 27 with right elbow inflammation. His return is TBD. Shelby Miller is sidelined with a sprained right index finger and was placed on the 15-day DL on May 27, but retroactive to May 26. His return is TBD. David Peralta has been out with right wrist inflammation. He hit off a tee on May 24 and his return is expected to be late June. A.J. Pollock is still recovering from elbow surgery. His return is possibly in late 2016.

San Diego Padres

We sure are at the bottom of the barrel aren’t we. In any division, a team always has to be at the bottom but the Padres waste no time making their way down there. With a 20-32 record and a -42 run differential, there is no doubt about them being the worst team in the NL West. Their week started with three straight losses in San Francisco, followed by a win in Arizona, then two more losses against a team that is only slightly better by virtue of not being the Padres. To the last of the box scores.

H R W/L (Padres)
05/23 vs. SFG 2  0 L
05/24 vs. SFG 9 2 L
05/25 vs. SFG 9 3 L
05/27 vs. ARI 18 10 W
05/28 vs. ARI 10 7 L
05/29 vs. ARI 5 3 L

Notable Injuries

Tyson Ross has been out with right shoulder inflammation. His injury report was updated May 27 to state that he could began playing catch as of May 30. His return is expected after the All-Star Break. Cory Spandenberg is out with a left quad strain. His return is expected early July. Cesar Vargas is on the 15-day DL with right elbow soreness as of May 29. His return is TBD.


Run Differential Says Things Aren’t So Bad

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Following last night’s game, the Dodgers are coming off of a three-game winning streak. Despite this success (let’s celebrate the small stuff,) you will not be shocked when I say that this team is underperforming. The offense is impotent and the bullpen is a mishmash of wet noodles for arms and Kenley Jansen. The rotation –  not complete garbage as others may make it seem – is having struggles of its own. Without Clayton Kershaw, the rotation is the not-so-proud-owners of a 4.34 ERA. Throw Kershaw back into the rotation and the pitching staff’s ERA drops to 3.55. When all of this is combined, we end up watching a Dodgers team playing to the tune of a 24-23 record, 4.5 games out of first place.

A section of the Dodgers Twitterverse will have you believe that if the Dodgers are not in first place, all is doom and gloom. Of course, this same group of Twitter will also have you believe the worst is just around the corner even when the Dodgers are in first place. The point of this post is not to convince you the team is free of its flaws; that is far from true. Instead, I am going to talk about run differential and how the NL West should  look according to runs scored and runs allowed. Hopefully, that will alleviate some stress felt when looking at the standings.

A Primer on Run Differential

Simply put, run differential is the difference between runs scored and runs allowed. Theoretically, a run neutral team – one that scores exactly as many runs as it allows – is a team with a .500 record. If we take a 162-game season, a team that scores the same number of runs it allows should finish the season with 81 wins and 81 losses. If a team scores more runs than it allows, it should also have more wins than losses. In fact, every ten more runs scored in relation to runs allowed translates to one extra win. This is not an exact science. Rather, run differential is an indication of whether a team is underperforming or overperforming. Naturally we want to see the Dodgers outperform its run differential. In fact, we have seen this happen the last three years.

Season Runs Scored Runs Allowed Run Diff Actual W/L Pythagorean W/L
2013 649 582 +67 92-70 88-74
2014 718 617 +101 94-68 91-71
2015 667 595 +72 92-70 88-74

Looking at the table, you can see that the Dodgers outperformed their expected win-loss record the last three seasons. Were the Dodgers of years past bad teams? Definitely not. Think of it this way, if you expected to get a B in statistics but instead got an A, you were never a terrible student to begin with. Instead, you simply did better probably for a variety of reasons.

What Run Differential Says About 2016

Now let us look at the standings so far. The Dodgers are 4.5 games out of first place. Is that the expected outcome? Looking only at run differential, the expected outcome has the Dodgers in first place.

Team (Current Standings) Run Differential Acutal W/L Pythagorean W/L (Expected Standings)
Giants +13 29-19 25-23 (2nd)
Dodgers +22 24-23 26-21 (1st)
Rockies -11 21-26 23-24 (3rd)
Diamondbacks -15 21-26 22-25 (4th)
Padres -38 19-28 20-27 (5th)

Granted, what is expected does not change what has already happened but it should provide some hope for a season that has been frustrating, to say the least. Yes, the Giants are a team that should be feared, after all, they won the World Series after gaining the second Wild Card spot with only 88 wins. If the Giants continue to outperform their Pythagorean expectations, it will likely be because they dabble in devil magic and Hunter Pence is Lucifer incarnate. And I guess because they do have a solid team. Should the winning streak end and the Dodgers hit another skid, it will be difficult to regain ground lost against San Francisco. But the Dodgers will get back on course. Though it has been tough to watch them, they are not playing as bad as the rest of the NL West. Those teams are playing below expectations with a negative run differential. That’s like losing a footrace because you’re slow and you have no legs. At least for the Dodgers, they have legs, they’ve just tripped over several hurdles.

Even if you look at this and say, “Dude, this is shit,” you cannot change the fact that there is a ton of baseball to play – over 100 games still! Being 4.5 games back in May is different than being 4.5 games back at the end of September. The Dodgers have the ability and the time to make up the difference in the standings. Whether they do so remains to be answered.

NL West Round-up: Week 1

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After six long months without baseball, we are officially through the first week of the season. For the last few seasons, the NL West has been the Dodgers and Giants show. Let’s take a look at how the NL West is shaping in 2016 so far.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Our Boys in Blue started the season off on the road. They swept San Diego and kept them scoreless in all three games. The team traveled North and faced the Giants – a team they went 8-11 against last season. Things did not go well for the Dodgers. Take a look at the box scores from last week.

H R W/L (Dodgers)
4/04 LAD v. SDP 17 15 W
4/05 LAD v. SDP 6 3 W
4/06 LAD v. SDP 11 7 W
4/07 LAD v. SFG 13 6 L
4/08 LAD v. SFG 9 2 L
4/09 LAD v. SFG 10 3 W
4/10 LAD v. SFG 10 6 L

Notable Injuries:
Carl Crawford is on the 15-day DL with lower back pain. Chris Hatcher suffered a twisted left knee but is day-to-day. Scott Van Slyke is suffering from lower back stiffness but is day-to-day.

San Francisco Giants

The Giants opened their season against the Milwaukee Brewers – a team that is in rebuild mode in 2016. Madison Bumgarner was not on his usual game in the season opener as he allowed five hits over five innings pitched. He gave up two home runs and walked five batters but still walked away with the win because pitcher wins. While they did not sweep the Brewers nor the Dodgers, they have found themselves in sole possession of first place by a game. Here are there box scores for the week.

H R W/L (Giants)
4/04 SFG v. MIL 15 12 W
4/05 SFG v. MIL 7 2 W
4/06 SFG v. MIL 6 3 L
4/07 LAD v. SFG 17 12 W
4/08 LAD v. SFG 2 3 W
4/09 LAD v. SFG 5 2 L
4/10 LAD v. SFG 12 9 W

Notable Injuries:
According to, the Giants do not have anyone on the DL. We should all be scared.

Colorado Rockies

Can you believe that the Rockies got fifteen hits and scored ten runs outside of Coors Field?! On the season opener in Arizona, the Rockies trounced the Diamondbacks in amazing fashion. Of course, the story (EH? EH?!) this week within Colorado’s organization is Trevor Story. The rookie shortstop hit seven dingers in his first six games! That put him on pace to hit 189 home runs this season, which is definitely certainly likely to happen. Sadly, as is always the case with the Rockies, they are meandering in the middle of the standings because they are the Rockies. Whether or not the Rockies can take their success at Coors on the road remains to be seen this season. Take a look at last week’s box scores.

H R W/L (Rockies)
4/04 COL v. ARI 15 10 W
4/05 COL v. ARI 9 6 L
4/06 COL v. ARI 8 4 W
4/08 SDP v. COL 2 6 L
4/09 SDP v. COL 8 3 L
4/10 SDP v. COL 9 6 W

Notable Injuries:
Daniel Descalso is expected back sometime early this season. However, with Trevor Story crushing it, one has to wonder how the infield will adjust.

San Diego Padres

Remember last year when the Padres went all-in on offense last year. Yeah, that did not work for them. To remedy that, they brought in John Jay who represents a nice upgrade in the outfield. They also got Alexei Ramirez for $4M with a $1M buyout, who was a much-needed improvement at shortstop at a relatively low cost. The issue with Jay and Ramirez, however, is now the Padres have sacrificed some offensive power for strictly defensive upgrades. How has it worked out for San Diego thus far? To the box scores!

H R W/L (Padres)
4/04 LAD v. SDP 4  0 L
4/05 LAD v. SDP 2  0 L
4/06 LAD v. SDP 5  0 L
4/08 SDP v. COL 18 13 W
4/09 SDP v. COL 19 16 W
4/10 SDP v. COL 8 3 L
4/11 SDP v. PHI 6 4 L

Notable Injuries:
Tyson Ross has landed on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation. He is expected back in the rotation late April.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Speaking of teams that went all-in. The Diamondbacks inked a TV deal during the offseason and quickly signed Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller to outrageous deals. Even more concerning, if you’re a D-Backs fan, is that the team traded one of their top prospects to get Miller. How has that worked out for them? Combined, Greinke and Miller have made two starts and have posted a 6.00 ERA to start the season. I probably don’t need to tell you that is not what you want from your Number 1 and Number 2 starters. Let’s examine the box scores to see how they became the cellar dwellers in Week 1.

H R W/L (Padres)
4/04 COL v. ARI 12 5 L
4/05 COL v. ARI 15 11 W
4/06 COL v. ARI 8 3 L
4/07 CHC v. ARI 8 6 L
4/08 CHC v. ARI 8 3 W
4/09 CHC v. ARI 4 2 L
4/10 CHC v. ARI 8 3 L

Notable Injuries:
Josh Collmenter is on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation. He is expected to return in mid-to-late April. A.J. Pollock is out for the season as he is recovering from elbow surgery.

Dodgers 2, Giants 3: Baseball is a dumb sport and we’re all dumb for watching it.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants
Apr 8, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA;  John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball is a game of anticipation. Players eagerly watch pitchers move across the mound as they run through their pitch sequence in their heads. As the pitcher takes the mound and places his toe on the rubber, the batter runs through the possible pitches he might see, having already expertly studied his opponents repertoire. The catcher and other seven position players’ muscles twitch as the ball is released from the hurler’s hands and glides towards one of two destinations: the catcher’s glove or the batter’s bat. Meanwhile, the fans, merely observers of the sport, are left on edge wondering what the outcome of each subsequent pitch will be. On nights like tonight, as each inning’s end tacks on another zero in the hit column, the fans’ anticipation builds into anxiety.

Every baseball fan is superstitious. It is around the fifth inning when we really start to notice opponents getting blanked across the board, yet we remain silent. We never want to be the one to say, “Hey guys, Stripling has a no-hitter heading into the sixth.” And if we do say it, we brush it off as “Jinxes are fucking stupid.” I mean, jinxes really are hokie stupid crap, but again, baseball fans are superstitious. Come the seventh, we can feel the stakes of a singular, non-postseason, beginning-of-the-season, game get higher and higher. Everyone starts thinking about history. We already start thinking how our stories will start, “I was at home doing….” The sentence will end with, “when so-and-so got the no-hitter.”

But baseball, as beautiful as she is, she is not easy. She will make you work for your exhilaration. On a night like tonight, if baseball were a hussy, she would have given Stripling his no-hitter, in his major league debut, on the road, against the Dodgers historic rivals. If baseball were easy, though, every young pitcher would have that and it would mean nothing. Instead, we will forever be left with, “Why?” after a down-by-one, extra-inning loss, in rainy San Francisco.

Despite the loss, there is still hope, should you choose to continue this terrible relationship with baseball. Ross Stripling looked amazing against a healthy Giants lineup. While the offense only scored two runs, it was able to muster nine hits against Matt Cain and the Giants bullpen.


Even better news, Clayton Kershaw will toe the rubber against Madison Bumgarner in the penultimate game of the series tomorrow. In his last start, Kershaw fanned nine batters and gave up only one hit over seven innings of work against the Padres. In his last start against the Giants, he struckout thirteen batters, gave up one hit – Oh yeah, the Dodgers also clinched the division.

Game time tomorrow is at 1:05 PM

Zack Greinke Gets Fifth Win But Gives No Fucks

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There is something to be said about a team that has the ability to have arguably the best pitcher in baseball and Zack Greinke. Usually, a team’s rotation consists of an ace and four other guys that are not the ace. Kershaw is the Dodgers ace, because duh. Greinke is not the ace only because he pitches second in the rotation. The reality is that the Dodgers have two aces pitching back-to-back most days. The benefit, if you are not following, is that if our first ace has a rough outing, we have the pleasure of watching a gem from our second ace. It is rare to see Kershaw and Greinke have tough nights one after the other.

Tonight’s game in Milwaukee followed an un-Kershaw like start. Last night’s game looked like vintage Kershaw until the seventh inning when the wheels fell off. Tonight, however, Zack Greinke looked sharp through 7.2 innings pitched. For the night, Greinke allowed two hits, two walks, and struck out seven. The only run the Brewers managed to score while Greinke was on the mound was courtesy of an odd error by Joc Pederson in the second inning. With the run being unearned, Greinke’s ERA drops to 1.57.

For a while, it seemed that the Dodgers offense would sloth its way into another loss. Then in the top of the sixth, Justin Turner hit his fourth home run of the season, pulling the Dodgers ahead 3-1. The Dodgers put more runs on the board in the top of the seventh. After a fly out by Guerrero, Greinke hit a double and bat flipped the crap out of it.(Courtesy of Dodgers Digest)

Zack Greinke obviously does not give a shit about silly baseball conventions. I really hope this is the beginning of a trend with the Dodgers. If Yasiel Puig does not want to bat flip, then the rest of the lineup should. After homers by Jimmy Rollins and Adrian Gonzalez, plus several more hits by the rest of the lineup, the Dodgers had a commanding lead, 8-1. The Brewers did score another run off of Daniel Coloumbe, but it be all they could muster against the newest addition to the bullpen.

With that, Greinke earned his fifth win and his tenth win in a row. Here are his thoughts on that:

The Dodgers continue their four game series against the Brewers tomorrow with Joe Weiland on the hill tomorrow.

Dodgers Pummel Vogelsong and the Giants, 7-3

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For the first time this season, Joc Pederson hit lead off. In his first at-bat at the top of the order, Pederson hit a solo home run to tie the game after the Giants scored in the top of the first. Zack Greinke did not look sharp tonight. In fact, he was already at 98 pitches going into the fifth inning. His totals for the night, through six innings, were seven hits, three runs allowed and two walks. His WPA for the night was .005, which, yikes. Though, He still managed to strike out 6 batters. Fortunately for Greinke, the offense showed up tonight.

Along with Pederson’s first inning bomb, Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier both hit dingers, a solo home run and a two-run homer, respectively, to extend the lead to 4-1. In 51 plate appearances, Ethier is hitting .310/.412/.548, and posting a .408 wOBA and 166 wRC+. He is expected to regress, however, ZiPS ROS still expects him to be a run generator as his end of season wRC+ is 110, still above the league average. Man I love this bench.

Greinke pitched a scoreless second and third inning, but not without struggling. In the bottom of the third, Jimmy Rollins added to the Dodgers lead with a solo home run of his own. Hopefully that is the spark that gets him out of his slump. Soon after, Howie Kendrick continued the rally with a double to center. On a fly-out to center by Gonzalez, Kendrick advanced to third. Scott Van Slyke brought Howie home on sacrifice fly, making the score 6-1

In the top of the fourth, the Giants scored two runs after a double by Casey McGehee and home run by Brandon Crawford. That would be all the Giants could muster for the evening despite giving Greinke quite the battle.

The Dodgers tacked on some more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Yasmani Grandal walked to start things off. Juan Uribe followed with a double. Zack Greinke hit a sacrifice fly to right which brought Grandal home, bringing the score to 7-3. Zack Greinke went on to pitch two more innings and seemed to have hit his stride. With over 100 pitches logged for the night, Greinke was finished.

The bullpen was fantastic once againe. Adam Liberatore shut down the side in the seventh. Chris Hatcher came out in the eighth and pitched a scoreless inning. And Yimi Garcia closed out the game by making the Giants look foolish.

The Dodgers claimed the series against San Francisco. It was sweet retribution after getting swept at AT&T Park. The Boys in Blue remain in first place at 13-8 and are two games ahead of the Rockies (wut?). They will enjoy a day off tomorrow before hosting the Diamondbacks over the weekend.

Game Day Preview: Giants @ Dodgers, Zack Greinke vs. Ryan Vogelsong

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The Dodgers face the Giants tonight for the last game in a three game series. So far this season, the Giants are 4-1 against the Dodgers. A win tonight for the Boys in Blue will restore order in the universe and also reaffirm my undying devotion to Zack Greinke.

Starting Lineup

CF Pederson
SS Rollins
2B Kendrick
1B Gonzalez
LF Van Slyke
RF Ethier
C Grandal
3B Uribe
P Greinke

Joc Pederson moves up to leadoff in the lineup, to which we say, “What the fuck took so long?” He is one of the hottest bats in the lineup and needs to be hitting leadoff more often. Or, more accurately, Rollins should be batting anywhere else but lead off. Pederson’s .428 wOBA, while unsustainable, should be used to the Dodgers advantage. On the pitching side, Zack Greinke gets the start tonight. Through three starts, Greinke has the third lowest ERA in the National League. Of course his peripherals tell a different story. His FIP and xFIP are at 2.73 and 3.23, once his BABIP starts to match his career levels, we can expect his ERA and FIP to rise accordingly. At the moment, however, Zack Greinke is amazing and we expect him to continue his brilliance tonight.

Starting Lineup

LF Aoki
2B Panik
CF Pagan
C Posey
1B Belt
RF Maxwell
3B McGehee
SS Crawford
P Vogelsong

When I was in kindergarten, I sat next to this kid name Giovanni. He ate glue and was my childhood bully, I remember him fondly. Kindergarten was a long, annoying year because of Giovanni. Giovanni. Giants. Illumaniti. Benghazi. Anyways, the Giants are going to make this year especially annoying for Dodgers fan. How can we really stick it to the Giants? I don’t know, I never confronted Giovanni. I just hope he ate enough glue to make him sick. Maybe the Giants can eat glue.

37-year old Ryan Vogelsong is currently worth -0.4 WAR. His pitching has been absolutely atrocious as he is the proud owner of a 6.51 FIP. There’s no hope since his xFIP is 5.18. Steamer ROS does project some improvement with a 4.07 FIP at the end of the season. I mean, that is the definition of improvement. Continue to suck, Vogelsong. Your failure feeds the baseball gods.

First pitch is at 7:10 PM. You can catch the game on Sportsnet LA, or on AM570 if you are not a TWC customer.

Dodgers Offense Stymied By Bumgarner, Lose 2-1

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The Dodgers were unable to rally an offense against Madison Bumgarner and the Giants Tuesday night. Clayton Kershaw and the Giants ace continued the pitchers’ duel that began in San Francisco. Once again, Bumgarner lead the Giants to victory.

Unfortunately, for the Dodgers ace, the narrative among baseball normies is that Kershaw is not living up to the legend nor the contract he signed in 2014. Of course, if we just look at useless things like pitcher wins, the Dodgers southpaw has one win, one loss, and one no-decision. But you are enlightened readers and know that pitcher wins are about as useful as a left handed screwdriver. While his ERA is unflattering, Kershaw’s FIP and xFIP are 2.79 and 1.95, respectively, indicating that his pitching has not been the problem nor will it be as the season progresses. In fact, after three starts, Kershaw is posting an uncharacteristic BABIP of .393 – his career BABIP is .273. With that, he is also posting a K-BB% of 27.5%! His pitches are definitely missing bats. Unfortunately, the pitches that do get hit are getting hit hard as his line drive rate is 28.1%, his career LD% is 19.6%. Likewise, his HR/FB ratio is 21.4%, the highest it has ever been in any season. Again, as it has been said many times before, this season is still really young! We’re not even through April yet!

Returning back to the recap, you knew the game was going to be absurd when the lineup showed Alex Guerrero starting in left field, a position in which he looked incredibly awkward. Also in the lineup was Enrique Hernandez, getting the start in center after getting called up from triple-A. And of course, everyone’s favorite redhead, Justin Turner at first, giving Adrian Gonzalez the night off.

Neither the regular starters nor the bench guys could get anything going on offense as Bumgarner pitched a brilliant eight innings, giving up only five hits, one run, and a walk while striking out 9. Kershaw pitched equally as amazing, going seven innings and giving up seven hits, two runs, while tallying 8 K’s. What can you say other than the Dodgers and Giants faced great pitching, however, the Giants were able to score just one more run to secure the win.

The series is now tied between the Dodgers and the Giants. Tonight, Zack Greinke will face off against Ryan Vogelsong. Game time is at 7:10.

Dodgers Win First Game Of Series Against Giants, 8-3

Joc Pederson and Justin Turner led the Dodgers to victory over the Giants tonight. It took some time for the Dodgers offense to get going, and for a while it seemed as if the Giants would have overtaken the Dodgers. However, two dingeers from Pederson and Turner prevented a repeat of the series in San Francisco.

Brett Anderson performed well until he didn’t going only 4.2 innings. Anderson kept the Giants scoreless through four frames, giving up only three hits until the wheels fell off. Overall, through the four innings he pitched, Anderson gave up 5 hits, 3 runs, and 2 walks, while only tallying 3 strikes. The 27 year old lefty has yet to find his stride.

Making up for Anderson’s struggles, both the offense and defense showed up for the Dodgers tonight. In the top of the first, Joc Pederson made spectacular catch off of a deeply hit ball in center field.
(Courtesy of Dodgers Digest)
I guarantee that is a ball that soars over Matt Kemp’s head. And if that catch is made, the double play does not happen. LUV U JOC!

Regression reared its ugly head and devoured Tim Lincecum in bottom of the third as the Dodgers strung together a few hits to put some runs on the board. Andre Ethier – who is sporting a 1.040 OPS – started the inning with a walk. Adrian Gonzalez followed with a single that put men on the corners. Howie Kendrick continued his production with a single that brought Ethier home and put Gonzalez on third. After advancing to second on a throwing error, Kendrick found his way to third after a Scott Van Slyke single. Juan Uribe added to the party by tacking on an RBI single that brought Kendrick home. After his first inning heroics, Joc Pederson reminded Dodgers Stadium who their new beloved center fielder is with a RBI double.

The game remained firmly in the Dodgers favor until the top of the fifth. After getting two outs, Brett Anderson walked Brandon Crawford and gave up two hits, cutting the Dodgers lead by two. Don Mattingly, seeing the game slip from the team, pulled Anderson for Carlos Frias. Frias gave up a single to Angel Pagan, bringing the Giants within one, before ending the inning.

Pederson, tired of the bullshit, decided to do this:
(Courtesy of Dodgers Digest)

The game remained scoreless thanks to shutout innings by Adam Liberatore and Yimi Garcia. Speaking of Garcia, according to Eric Stephen at True Blue LA:

But whatever, because Twitter has its bullpen concerns.

Arriving fashionably late to the scoring party, Justin Turner did his best Adrian Gonzalez impression hitting a three-run bomb to center field.
(Courtesy of Dodgers Digest)

The Dodgers are now 12-7 and remain in first place. Tomorrow, Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for the Dodgers while the Giants will send Madison Bumgarner to face off against the Dodgers.

Game Day Preview: Giants @ Dodgers, Brett Anderson vs. Tim Lincecum

Embed from Getty Images The Dodgers face off against the Giants tonight at Dodgers Stadium. The three game series kicks off with Brett Anderson on the mound. The Giants have Tim Lincecum getting the start. The Dodgers are coming off a loss in San Diego despite winning the three game series. Prior to that, the Boys in Blue suffered a three game sweep in San Francisco and the fans are hoping for at least one win against the Giants tonight.

Starting Lineup

SS Rollins
RF Ethier
1B Gonzalez
2B Kendrick
C Grandal
LF Crawford
3B Uribe
CF Pederson
P Anderson

Anderson opened the series in San Francisco and was a hapless victims to the BABIP gods in the four innings he pitched. No really, his BABIP was .474, that becomes more impressive once you realize his groundball rate was 66.7%. Of course, the loss was not on bad luck, it was also attributed to weak offense. Throughout the entire series in San Francisco, it seemed that the team left their bats in Southern California. While two of his last three starts have not been promising, Steamer ROS projections have finishing the season with a 3.51 FIP. Of course that is not elite, but it is a respectable “end of rotation” FIP. The Dodgers need to win, for Anderon’s sake.

Starting Lineup

LF Aoki
2B Panik
CF Pagan
1B Posey
RF Maxwell
C Susac
3B McGehee
SS Crawford
P Lincecum

Despite being in last place, the Giants are still a dangerous team. If they remain out of playoff contention at the end of the season, they have the potential to derail a Dodgers playoff run. Ignoring a loss against the Rockies, Lincecum has pitched considerably well. Unfortunately for Lincecum, his 3.39 FIP and 3.63 xFIP are more telling than his 2.00 ERA. Furthermore, Steamer’s ROS projections do not bode well for Lincecum. Projected to finish with a 4.17 FIP, Lincecum is due for a fall from grace. Hopefully, for the Dodgers, the decline begins tonight.

The Dodgers take the field tonight at 7:10 PM. You can watch the game on Sportsnet LA. If you are not a TWC customer, you can listen to the game on AM570.