Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Giants vs. Dodgers Series Preview

Thursday, March 31, 5:00 PM
16-10, 3.43 ERA, 3.83 tRA (2010)
13-10, 2.91 ERA, 3.39 tRA (2010)

2010 was an up and down year for the Giants ace, but he put everything together when it mattered most, leading the Giants to a World Series title.

He has come to camp in excellent shape and looks like he's ready to put his struggles from last season behind him.

Kershaw is one of the most exciting young pitchers in baseball right now and looks to be on the cusp of joining the class of elite pitchers.

He gave the Giants fits last year and I expect that trend to continue for this extremely talented young lefty.

Friday, April 1, 7:10 PM
13-9, 3.07 ERA, 4.18 tRA (2010)
12-11, 3.57 ERA, 3.69 tRA (2010)

Sanchez is a big question mark for the Giants this year; he has been inconsistent over his career with the team, but has obvious talent to be one of the best left handed pitchers in the game.

If he continues to put things together, this could be a special season for him.

I have always thought of Billingsley as the Dodgers version of Cain. He is an excellent pitcher that gets less hype than what his talent level would suggest. With a 1-2 punch of Kershaw and Billingsley the Dodgers front of the rotation is pretty formidable.

Saturday, April 2, 1:10 PM
13-11, 3.14 ERA, 3.58 tRA (2010)
10-12, 3.62 ERA, 4.06 tRA (2010)

Cain gave us all a scare with his elbow issues during the spring, but seems to be doing just fine now. I would expect him to be his usual self but with a shorter leash in the innings and pitch count for this first few starts.

Lilly is a "blah" kind of pitcher. He throws strikes and gives his teams quality innings. He's not going to be an elite guy, but he's a solid option in the middle of the rotation. Cain should be better, but these kinds of pitchers have given the Giants fits in the past. Hopefully the Giants get some runs for Cain.

Sunday, April 3, 5:00 PM
9-14, 4.15 ERA, 4.55 tRA (2010)
11-13, 3.39 ERA, 3.20 tRA (2010)

Zito put together a very nice spring after his first outing got him raked over the coals by Bruce Jenkins. I am bullish on Zito having a good year this season and I hope that he makes me look smart.

If you read what was written about Lilly right above, the same applies to Kuroda. He's a good but not great pitcher who will give his team quality innings. Again, this is the kind of guy that has killed the Giants in the past.

The first series of the year is finally here and is set to be a big one against the rival Dodgers. The teams on paper appear to be fairly evenly matched and built in a similar manner. With the good pitching that both teams will send out there, the games should be tight and I expect the games to be determined by which team gets the timely hits.

On paper, I like the Giants lineup better with Buster Posey, Aubrey Huff and a resurgent Pablo Sandoval, but the Dodgers have talent there as well. If Andre Either and Matt Kemp hit like they could, they may be able to carry enough of the load offensively to get the Dodgers in contention. Hopefully the Giants are able to jump out to big leads so the Wilson-less bullpen isn't stretched too far and thrown right into the pressure cooker.

I expect that the Giants can at least split the four game series, but with the pressure of being in a rival's house on opening weekend with the target on their backs as defending World Series Champs, it will be a tough battle. I wouldn't be surprised if they only took one game here.

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