Saturday’s showcasing of Madison Bumgarner throwing double-digit K’s against Paul Maholm and the Dodgers, I was relieved that the Giants took care of a game they should have had. Maholm is a back-end guy that hitters can take advantage of, while your chances are normally fewer against a starter like Bumgarner. While the Giants bullpen isn’t perfect, they’re not an awful bunch, especially when you get into the higher leverage situations. Still, having a 7-1 lead when Bumgarner left and winning 7-2 is right along the lines of what I expect to see when the Giants throw out one of their top four guys and the opposition sends out someone that is not of the front-line variety. Tonight’s game will not fit that description, as Matt Cain and Zack Greinke are both solid #2 guys in a top-heavy rotation, and while I hope the Giants sweep and win 18-0, seeing a low-scoring one-run game should be the expectations of near everybody.
The Starters — A recap of their first games
Zack Greinke and Matt Cain both went five innings in their first starts, not really reaching the distance fans know they are capable of. Both saw their pitch counts get into the nineties at the close of the fifth inning and each walked two batters. Cain saw seven hits get allowed, but no home runs, while Greinke fell victim to only two hits, one of which suffered the wrath of the hot start by Seth Smith. Both are pitching on four days of rest.
The Bullpen — Who’s Probably Out
Santiago Casilla threw thirty-seven pitches for the Giants in five outs of relief, so I’d say he’s to be used in emergency situations only. For the Dodgers, Jose Dominguez has been used in two straight games, so I’d expect him to be in the same boat as Casilla. Jamey Wright has also pitched in two straight, but only needed two pitches to do his work on Saturday, though I’d imagine Don Mattingly would like to avoid using Wright tonight. Paco Rodriguez leads the league in appearances at five, and it’s not difficult to remember that Paco got tired at the end of 2013, possibly due to overuse. The Dodgers have played seven games so far, and I’d hope Paco is getting a day off.
For the sweep-minded Giants:
Giants lineup tonight: Pagan CF, Belt 1B, Sandoval 3B, Posey C, Pence RF, Morse LF, Crawford SS, Adrianza 2B, Cain RHP
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) April 6, 2014
Thoughts on the lineup: A good lineup, I just might like Buster up in the 3-spot a little better. No Giants player has more than ten plate appearances against Greinke, so the players are still getting used to him, relatively speaking. That, as opposed to some of the Dodgers and Matt Cain, who’s been pitching in the NL West since 2005. For the close-to-.500 Dodgers:
Thoughts on the lineup: Andre Ethier has a .441/.467/.574 career line against Matt Cain and Adrian Gonzalez has four career HR off of Cainer, so it’s no surprise that they are in the so-called “heart” of the lineup, but I don’t think I agree with him being this far down. I think you can take Dee Gordon and put him behind Juan Uribe and get better results.
The Giants have won five straight at Dodger Stadium dating back to September 13th of last season, and have won seven of their last eight meetings with LA. I think they continue to deliver the pain, winning tonight against Greinke with most of the damage coming against and often-used bullpen in a 4-2 victory on national television.