Los Angeles Dodgers: 6/17-6/19 Series

Moan and groan, Giants fans, and take out your Dodger voo-doo dolls... it's that time of the year again. The Giants make their way to smoggy Southern California after a few weeks of nterleague play to shift gears and to face their division rivals, the Dodgers. Narrowing the gap between the Giants and themselves, the Dodgers have been red-hot, winning six in a row. The Dodgers come into this series just two games behind the Giants in the NL West Division.

OVERALL PREDICTION: GIANTS
Despite the narrow edge that the Giants have over the Dodgers in the NL West, the Dodgers have just come off victories against Detroit and Cleveland... Not some of the most impressing teams in the league this season. The Giants, on the other hand, have at least faced mediocre teams in their last six game stretch. The Dodger offense have not been contributing much, since the Dodgers are one of the lowest scoring teams in the league, but their superb pitching department has helped them out. Kevin Brown, among the other starting pitchers, has pitched flawlessly, and Dodgers closer, Eric Gagne has also been a brick. However, if the Giants are able to cash in offensively against the Dodgers, then it should not be a problem to win the series.

The first game has Dodger ace, Kevin Brown, going against Giant rookie, Jesse Foppert. Again, Foppert find himself going against one of the top pitchers in the league, and that has not proven to be friendly for him. Foppert has pitched superbly in most of his outings, only to see the opposing pitch stump the Giants' offense into the loss column. Brown isn't showing any signs of slowing down or cooling off, so Fop will have to bring his best stuff to the mound on Tuesday if he wants any chance of winning against Brown.

In the second game, the Giants send Kirk Rueter to the mound against Kazuhisa Ishii. Rueter has been doing great for the Giants, Felipe Alou even said he's never seen Rueter pitched so well before in his career. This is a great sign for the Giants, who will be trying to give Rueter his eighth win, and also to run his record to a magnificent 8-1.

In the final game at Los Angeles, Giant ace Jason Schmidt goes up against Odalis Perez. By the way Schmidt is pitching, he could very easily be an eight or nine game winner as of now... But the Giants have this tradition they must keep every time Schmidty pitches... they don't like to score runs. The Giants have not given Schmidt any run support while he's on the mound, as he's throwing hard and sweating through the innings trying to collect wins. Perez has been tough for the Giants, so it'll be interesting to see who wins this battle.

SERIES QUESTIONABLES: San Francisco:

  • Benito Santiago (C): groin (day-to-day status)
  • Yorvit Torrealba (C): visiting sick wife in Venezuela (gone for entire series).

    First Base:
    J.T. Snow (.273)

  • .247 against Dodgers pitchers
  • vs. Brown (14-47): one 2B, one 3B, ten RBIs, six strikeouts
  • never faced Ishii
  • vs. Perez (1-4): one 2B, three RBIs, one strikeout

    Andres Galarraga (.359)

  • .268 against Dodgers pitchers
  • vs. Brown (2-14): one homerun, four RBIs, six strikeouts
  • vs. Ishii (0-2)
  • vs. Perez (2-3): two RBIs, one strikeout

    Fred McGriff (.242)

  • .253 against Giants pitchers
  • never faced Foppert
  • vs. Rueter (6-21): two 2B, three RBIs
  • vs. Schmidt (3-13): three RBIs, one strikeout

    PREDICTION: GIANTS
    Defense: Giants
    McGriff is a good first baseman, but Snow has displayed his awesome defensive skills with a few impressive stops against Chicago.

    Offense: Giants
    Snow has begun to warm up, and depending on how Galarraga is feeling, he may be back in the line up some time, too. He may get the start against Perez. McGriff has been slumping for the Dodgers and he has never been too successful against Giants pitching.

    Second Base:
    Ray Durham (.324)

  • .391 against Giants pitchers
  • vs. Brown (2-2)
  • never faced Ishii
  • vs. Perez (0-2): one strikeout

    Neifi Perez (.280)

  • .229 against Dodgers pitchers
  • vs. Brown: (11-40): one 2B, two RBIs, two strikeouts
  • never faced Ishii
  • Alex Cora (.248)
  • .241 against Giants pitchers
  • never faced Foppert
  • vs. Rueter (2-7)
  • vs. Schmidt (4-17): one 2B, four strikeouts

    Jolbert Cabrera (.263)

  • .235 against Giants pitchers
  • never faced Foppert
  • vs. Rueter (0-3)
  • never faced Schmidt

    PREDICTION: GIANTS
    Defense: Tied
    Durham made some impressive defensive plays against Chicago, but Cora and Cabrera are also great second basemen.

    Offense: Giants
    Even though Cora has been decent for the Dodgers and Cabrera has been able to deliver, the fact still remains that Ray D is hot. His sixteen game hitting streak was broken in the last game on Sunday, but not only did he hit safely in sixteen games, but he also made himself heard while getting his hits and driving in runs and getting on base.

    Shortstop:
    Rich Aurilia (.268)

  • .312 against Dodgers pitchers
  • vs. Brown (13-34): two 2B, one homerun, four RBIs, four strikeouts
  • vs. Ishii (0-2)
  • vs. Perez (5-19): one 2B, two RBIs, two strikeouts

    Cesar Izturis (.249)

  • .244 against Giants pitchers
  • never faced Foppert
  • vs. Rueter (1-14): one RBI
  • vs. Schmidt (1-7): one RBI, four strikeouts

    PREDICTION: GIANTS
    Defense: Giants
    Izturis has made some errors this season, and Aurilia has had his share of errors, but he continues to play solid defense as of late.

    Offense: Giants
    Richie just loves to play the Dodgers. He has a convincing .312 BA against all of the Dodgers pitching staff, including an impressive record against Dodgers closer, Eric Gagne, and with his bat gradually warming up, he'll be dangerous in the batter's box.

    Third Base:
    Edgardo Alfonzo (.221)

  • .310 against Dodgers pitchers
  • vs. Brown (11-33): two homeruns, five RBIs, two strikeouts
  • vs. Ishii (1-2): one 2B
  • vs. Perez (4-16): two 2B, two strikeouts

    Pedro Feliz (.246)

  • .143 against Dodgers pitchers
  • vs. Brown (1-2)
  • never faced Ishii
  • vs. Perez (1-3)

    Adrian Beltre (.207)

  • .192 against Giants pitchers
  • never faced Foppert
  • vs. Rueter (7-29): four strikeouts
  • vs. Schmidt (5-26): one 2B, five RBIs, seven strikeouts

    Ron Coomer (.186)

  • .263 against Giants pitchers
  • never faced Foppert
  • vs. Rueter (1-3)
  • vs. Schmidt (0-3): one strikeout

    PREDICTION: GIANTS
    Defense: Giants
    Even though Alfonzo has collected some errors in recent games, he takes a lot of pride in his defense. You can bet he won't make another mistake anytime soon.

    Offense: Giants
    Beltre and Coomer have been icy cold for the Dodgers, and neither have had a very impressive outing against the Giants either. Alfonzo's due... it's about time, too. His bat has shown some signs of life in recent games and he's been collecting some RBIs to add to his unmoving RBI numbers since mid-May.

    Catchers:
    Benito Santiago (.284)

  • .216 against Dodgers pitchers
  • vs. Brown (2-16): one homerun, two RBIs, three strikeouts
  • vs. Ishii (1-2): one homerun
  • vs. Perez (4-15): one 2B, four strikeouts

    Paul Lo Duca (.328)

  • .279 against Giants pitchers
  • never faced Foppert
  • vs. Rueter (9-24): four 2B, one homerun, four RBIs
  • vs. Schmidt (1-13): one RBI

    Todd Hundley (.200)

  • .253 against Giants pitchers
  • never faced Foppert
  • vs. Rueter (3-10): two 2B, one RBI, three strikeouts
  • vs. Schmidt (10-26): three 2B, four homeruns, elevan RBIs, eight strikeouts

    PREDICTION: TIED
    Defense: Tied
    It's really tough to tell who will be catching for the Giants in this series with Torrealba out and Santiago's status questionable. Santiago will be wanted to catch Foppert's pitches in the first game, it won't be the same for the rookie to pitch to a Triple-A catcher.

    Offense: Dodgers
    Even if Santiago plays, he's cooled down dramatically after busting out red hot earlier. Lo Duca has been contributing to the Dodgers' lack of offense, so he gets the upper hand... especially if the Giants have to stick a Triple-A Fresno kid in to play.

    Left Field:
    Barry Bonds (.315)

  • .291 against Dodgers pitchers
  • vs. Brown (10-39) : one 2B, two homeruns, nine RBIs, fifteen walks, five strikeouts
  • vs. Ishii (0-2) : two strikeouts
  • vs. Perez (6-14) : two 2B, three homeruns, three RBIs, three walks, one strikeout
  • Two more stolen bases needed for 500-500
  • .372 in June with six homeruns in forty-three at-bats

    Brian Jordan (.293)

  • .279 against Giants pitchers
  • never faced Foppert
  • vs. Rueter (15-47): four 2B, two homeruns, nine RBIs, three strikeouts
  • vs. Schmidt (9-30): one 2B, one 3B, one homeruns, four RBIs, six strikeouts
  • .342 in May, but only .250 so far in June

    Mike Kinkade (.247)

  • .231 against Giants pitchers
  • never faced Foppert
  • vs. Rueter (0-4): one strikeout
  • vs. Schmidt (0-2): one strikeout

    PREDICTION: GIANTS
    Defense: Giants
    Mike Kinkade had an effect on this call. It was pretty much a tie before his .867 fielding percentage tipped the scales in the Giants direction. Thank you, Mike. You just stopped the Dodgers from having a tie!

    Offense: Giants
    The key word of this match-up? Walks. Just think about it. Kevin Brown is a Giant killer, yet he's walked Bonds fifteen times, compared to striking him out just nine. In total, Bonds has been walked by Dodgers pitchers a total of fifty-seven times, and has struck out just thirty-nine times. That's not to mention the fact that Bonds is having an amazing June, and Jordan has cooled off a lot in May. Giants win.

    Center Field:
    Marquis Grissom (.314)

  • .272 against Dodgers pitchers
  • vs. Brown (9-36): one 2B, one homerun, three RBIs, eight strikeouts
  • never faced Ishii
  • vs. Perez (2-6): one strikeout
  • only 10 walks this season

    Dave Roberts(.258)

  • .357 against Giants pitchers
  • never faced Foppert
  • vs. Rueter (2-4)
  • vs. Schmidt (6-18): one 2B, one RBI, two strikeouts
  • .186 in June with just two extra-base hits

    PREDICTION: GIANTS
    Defense: Giants
    Grissom has the edge here. He gets to more balls, and his fielding percentage is almost identical to Roberts. Roberts has two errors and Grissom has four, but since Grissom has almost twice as many putouts, that means their fielding percentages end up only exactly the same.

    Offense: Giants
    Roberts hasn't been doing well at all in June, and while Grissom has cooled off from his May numbers, he's still having a very good Month. Clearly, this match goes to Grissom. Sure, Roberts has already stole twenty-two bases. That's nice, but he's hitting .258 and his OBP is only .333. That's not very impressive for a leadoff hitter.

    Right Field:
    Jose Cruz. Jr. (.269)

  • .203 against Dodgers pitchers
  • vs. Brown (1-4): one RBI, two strikeouts
  • vs. Ishii (0-1)
  • vs. Perez (2-8): one 2B, two strikeouts
  • .286 June compared to .216 May
  • .5 game hitting streak

    Shawn Green (.256)

  • .348 against Giants pitchers
  • never faced Foppert
  • vs. Rueter (13-33): three 2B, one homerun, four RBIs, two strikeouts
  • vs. Schmidt (10-14): three 2B, two homeruns, five RBIs, two strikeouts
  • .140 in June

    PREDICTION: DODGERS
    Defense: Giants
    As usual, Cruz's solid range and great glove give him the edge on defense. But this time, his defensive advantage is not enough to make up for his lack of hitting against the Dodgers. Also, Green isn't really that bad of a fielder, it's just that Cruz is better.

    Offense: Dodgers
    Somehow, Jason Schmidt and Kirk Rueter just can't get Green out, period. Most of the Giants can't. Just because Cruz has more power and a higher batting average doesn't mean he's going to do better than Green. Green is going to win this match up, because he knows how to hit the Giants pitchers.

    Starters:
    Jesse Foppert (4-5, 4.18)

  • Never faced Dodgers
  • Gave up just one hit in most recent outing, had ten strikeouts.
  • Only given up 49 hits in 60 1/3 innings

    Kirk Rueter (7-1, 3.60)

  • Dodgers .284 (60-211) against him.
  • Gave up 4 runs and 8 hits in latest start.

    Jason Schmidt (5-3, 2.67)

  • Dodgers .261 (52-199) against him
  • 1-2 so far in June

    Kevin Brown (9-1, 2.00)

  • Giants batters .274 (82-299) against him
  • His last loss was on Apr. 18...against the Giants.

    Kazuhisa Ishii (6-2, 2.97)

  • Giants batters .167 (2-12) against him
  • 4-1 over past two months

    Odalis Perez (4-4, 4.70)

  • Giants batters .267 (27-101) against him
  • Most recent game was solid, but a no-decision.

    PREDICTION: Dodgers
    Starters: Dodgers
    The Dodgers win the contest when it comes to starting pitchers. Brown is 9-1 this season, and while the one loss was against the Giants, his season record still is more impressive than any of the Giants. Ishii is having a great season as well, and so far Giants can't hit him. It will be a close battle, but the Dodgers look to have the better starters, especially with the way some of the Dodgers hitters hit Rueter and Schmidt.

    Relievers: Dodgers
    The Dodgers have an impressive crew of relief pitchers, five of them with ERAs below 2.50. They don't have any bad relief pitchers, and the Giants have had some problems with their staff, especially in recent months. If the Giants had Rob Nenn, Worrell wouldn't be forced into the closer role. It's not that Worrell is a bad closer, it's that the Giants are losing a great setup man.

    Closers: Dodgers
    Finally, someone can defeat Worrell, it seems. Gagne already has 26 saves. And he gives up less than half a hit per inning. Worrell is good, sure, but Gagne is doing amazingly well this season.



    Sara Kwan was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. She currently writes game recaps, other articles, and is one of the Two Giant Prophets for SFDugout.com. Sara can be reached at shoot_hoops33@hotmail.com

    Jesse Radin writes for SFDugout.com and has been a Giants follower since 1996. The Blind Observer is Jesse's column covering all things baseball, though mainly about the Giants. Questions or comments can be sent to electricbassguy@hotmail.com


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