Dodgers @ Giants July 29, 2012: Finish That Sweep

July 29, 2012 at 11:01 am | Posted in Game Threads | Leave a comment

Over the last few days, the three NL West teams with a prayer of making the playoffs have all made moves to upgrade the left side of their infield. The Dodgers went out and got Hanley Ramirez, which we liked at the time and which looks better by the day (even as Nathan Eovaldi was effective in his Miami debut). The Giants traded for the ancient Marco Scutaro, who probably won’t make that much of a difference but who I suppose an able fill-in considering who else they have, and this afternoon Arizona traded for Houston’s Chris Johnson. We’ll see Johnson and the Diamondbacks in Dodger Stadium starting tomorrow, but I’ve never been much of a fan; he’s a poor defender with little power who is somewhere near league-average at the plate this year largely due to a .360 BABIP; last year, he had a .291 OBP in 405 plate appearances. In return, Houston received two prospects with power potential who were each among the top 64 picks in the 2009 draft, Bobby Borchering & Marc Krauss.

Dodgers
Giants
2B
M.Ellis
RF
Blanco
LF
Rivera
2B
Theriot
CF
Kemp
LF
Cabrera
RF
Ethier
C
Posey
3B
Ramirez
CF
Pagan
1B
Loney
3B
Scutaro
SS
Cruz
1B
Kershaw
C
A.Ellis
SS
Crawford
P
Kershaw
P
Vogelsong

Hanley Ramirez, Marco Scutaro, Chris Johnson. One of these things is not like the others… and I’m pretty happy with the way that’s turning out.

As for today’s series finale, the Dodgers have outscored San Francisco 15-3 over the first two games to climb within one game of first place – and they do so with Clayton Kershaw on the mound. Of course, Kershaw is coming off one of the worst starts of his career last week in St. Louis, though we know he’s traditionally had great success against the Giants.

Don Mattingly shakes up the lineup once again to place Juan Rivera (hitting .248/.279/.333 against righties this year) second, pushing Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Ramirez down a spot from yesterday. In Rivera’s career, which dates back 2001, he’s hit second only seven times; other than doing it once for the Blue Jays in April of last season, he hasn’t been there since 2006. Not that I place too much importance on batting order, of course, but I liked the idea of getting the big three of Kemp/Ethier/Ramirez additional at-bats; I’m assuming that undue importance is being placed on Rivera’s 7-17 career mark against Vogelsong. Three of those hits, all singles, came in one September game last year; the only extra-base hit, a double, came way back in 2004 when Rivera was an Expo (!) and Vogelsong was with Pittsburgh.

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