Review and Preview Number 5

Yesterday, the Dodgers lost to the San Francisco Giants by a score of 3-1.  Giants starter Madison Bumgarner pitched 8 2/3 innings, and if it weren’t for a bloop single by Rod Barajas and a double off the wall by Jerry Sands that scored Barajas, he would pitched a complete game shutout.  Bumgarner, to put it simply, pitched a fantastic game.  He was throwing strikes all game, and the Dodgers just couldn’t square up and hit a ball well, as evidenced by the 4 hits before the 9th.

The game was made interesting in the bottom of the 9th though.  The Giants brought in closer Brian Wilson, who proceeded to walk both Jay Gibbons and James Loney to load the bases.  Down 2 runs, Jamey Carroll came up to bat and hit a sinking line drive into right field off of Wilson, and it was just caught by Giants RF Nate Schierholtz, who made a great diving catch to snag the ball.  It’s made even greater because the game is most definitely tied if he doesn’t catch it, and if the ball rolls past him, James Loney can probably score from first, and Jamey Carroll walks off.  As it stands, Wilson gets the Save (even though he did nothing to “save” the game for Bumgarner).

If I’m a Giants fan, I’m worried about Brian Wilson, because he’s been pretty bad in both of his appearances against the Dodgers.  He blew the save in Game 1 (although he did get the win), and if Schierholtz doesn’t catch that ball, he blows the save in two consecutive games.  Last night in particular, he simply couldn’t throw a strike when he needed to.  Many of his pitches were high, between the belt and chest, and really, if he can’t get James Loney out, he should feel pretty bad.  I almost wonder if it would have been easier for Wilson to just walk Carroll (and walk in a run), and bet on Juan Castro being an automatic out.

It was a very entertaining game though, even though the Dodgers got dominated for the first 8 and 2/3 innings.  Nothing is more exciting than a possible rally or walk-off.  Particularly when one is at a game.  I can’t imagine how crazy the stadium would have been if Carroll had gotten that hit though.  I’m sure the stands themselves would have been shaking.  Billingsley had one of his tougher games, only going 6 innings, and allowing three runs, and it looked like he was fighting the strike zone more than usual (almost half of his pitches were called as balls), but he got his necessary guys out.  Guerra and Guerrier looked great in relief, and Troncoso got the three outs he needed too.  The bullpen, outside of Lance Cormier, is really starting to come together again, and that’s very encouraging, because the Dodgers need guys they can depend on to hold onto whatever lead their offense can actually get.

I have no real criticisms of Don Mattingly today either, except for maybe batting Juan Castro 2nd.  But if you’re going to start him, he’s probably got to bat 2nd, because nobody else in this lineup can get on base.  I’d still prefer a guy like Sands, but again, Mattingly didn’t have too many other options.  This is definitely a lineup that really needs Rafael Furcal back, because he can leadoff, and Carroll can bat 2nd to set up the rest of the lineup.  Although the bottom line is that it’s probably pointless to worry about lineups too much, as the lineup composition really doesn’t make a large difference at all.

Tonight, the Dodgers begin their interleague schedule with a three game series in Chicago against the White Sox.  The White Sox are underachieving, coming in with a record of 20-25, but their starting pitching is really good, to the point where they have a 6 man rotation at the moment.  Their offense is massively under-achieving, particularly guys like Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Juan Pierre, and Gordan Beckham.  If Dunn and Rios get going, and Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin stay strong, Cleveland will have to watch out for this team.

Ted Lilly gets the start tonight for the Dodgers, and as a flyball-pitcher pitching in the hitters park that is U.S. Cellular Field, I’m worried.  I think Lilly goes 6 innings and gives up 4 runs on two home runs.  I’ve not liked how he’s pitched very much recently, so I’m pretty down on him.  Although at this point, he’s basically the fifth starter, so he doesn’t have to be great.  The only positive he’s got going for him is that he’s pitching in a night game, and he’s done well in night games this year.  The White Sox will be trotting Phillip Humber out this year, and I literally have no idea who he is (one of the few non-relievers/bench players I have no info about).  But he’s pitching in this 6 man rotation, and his stats on fangraphs suggest that he’s a low strike-out, low-walk type starter, and he gives up a good number of ground balls (although his BABiP is quite low at .213, so he’s been getting quite lucky).  Against this offense, I’ll say he goes 6.2 innings and allows 2 runs.

I really do enjoy interleague games, because you get to watch your team play against teams they don’t normally play (particularly when your team hasn’t been to the World Series in quite some time.)  Looking forward to a good game tonight.

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