The Crystal (base)Ball: Giants vs Dodgers Preview

The Dodgers are mad. They have lost 4 of 7 in the division, all by one run. They sit 4th in the NL West standings below Colorado and San Diego. Come on! Colorado and San Diego!! Their offense has sucked. The Dodgers are mad.

The three pitchers of the last series match up again beginning with Friday's match up to see: Brown vs. Schmidt. Hopefully the dance will play out a little longer and a little better for Schmidt than his last Sunday's match - no doubt the lack of Marty Hirschbeck at the plate will help that - and we won't have to use everyone in the bullpen but Chad Zerbe.

Saturday's match has Moss pitted against Perez. Perez, despite the 3-2 loss against the Giants, pitched an excellent game. Look for him to try and repeat that performance despite the swollen left ankle that pushed his start from Thursday to Saturday. Damian Moss needs to settle down, laying off the high part of the strike zone - he hasn't really been successful with that.

Sunday pits rookie wonder Kurt Ainsworth against Hideo Nomo. Nomo is looking for a win after losing at Pac Bell (a park where he had, up until last Thursday, never lost) and he has the stuff to get it. Again, go up the middle with this guy and steal, steal, steal. Richie, here's your chance to get one base closer to your free dinner! Barry, get closer to 500!

Of course Eric Gagne is a threat. We don't need to discuss that. Also, Paul Shuey has been pitching well too, with one earned run and 5 SO in seven innings.

However, the Dodgers offense hasn't exactly been putting up the numbers. Sure Shawn Green makes contact look easy. Too bad the rest of the team isn't the same way... well, maybe bad for them.

The Dodgers are a late scoring team, so it's up to the relievers to get it done. Look for Jesse Foppert and Joe Nathan to team up to try and put the suckers away with their power pitches.

The key to this game, however, lies in the Giants closer. 2 of the 3 games we played against them had LA scoring a run in the 9th during a save opportunity. With the upcoming surgery for Robb Nen putting him out of the lineup for quite sometime, Jim Brower looks to become a regular in a bullpen that has no official closer. While Tim Worrell seems to be the main choice, Scott Eyre, Brower and Felix Rodriguez have all seen 9th inning save opportunities. Could this be SF's version of 'Bullpen by Committee'?

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