The great rivalry that is the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants begins again for the season this Friday. The two west coast franchises will renew the rivalry at Dodger Stadium Having played an extra two games, ‘down under’ the Dodgers currently sit at the top of the National League West standings with a record of 4-1. The Giants, having played two games less, currently sit in second place, only one game behind with a record of 2-1. The three game series, which commence at 1.10PM PT on Friday, will decide who will sit on top spot after the first week of regular season on home soil.
Ryan Vogelsong will take to the mound for the first time this season, countering for the Dodgers will be Hyun-Jin Ryu who takes the ball for the third time already this season. Whilst there is no official word as of yet, it appears Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain will face Paul Maholm and Zack Greinke in games two and three. If the Giants are to win, Vogelsong bossing his fastball and slider will be quintessential. Before injury in 2013, with his slider – which topped off at 90 mph – Vogelsong limited hitters to a mere .235 BA against him, and didn’t allow a home run off it.
The Giants should stick with a very similar lineup to the one that faced the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Angel Pagan CF
Hunter Pence RF
Brandon Belt 1B
Mike Morse LF
However, having said that, Bruce Bochy has claimed that he will experiment with the lineup a little. Brandon Hicks may play in the series opener in the place of Crawford due to the leftie on the mound. Look for Ehire Adrianza, Hector Sanchez, Juan Perez and Gregor Blanco to have plenty of ABs and innings in the defense.
Likewise, the Dodgers should stick with the lineup that has had much success thus far.
Yasiel Puig RF
Andre Ethier RF
Juan Uribe 3B
Dee Gordon 2B
Given the lack of depth, and injuries to the Dodgers roster, this lineup is almost a given for the full series.
Thankfully, due to injury, we can rule Clayton Kershaw off this list. Regardless, Ryu will still be a key player for the Dodgers in the series, given his superb early season form, the Giants bats will really have to up their game. Offensively, Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez make for a pretty scary 3-4 punch. The Giants pitchers, will also have to bring their best stuff if they want to shut down the Dodgers scary offense.
Overall, things are looking good for the Giants. The massively overrated Dodgers are known for struggling against NL West rivals, the same which can’t be said for the Giants. Some big pitching performances and some big ABs should guide the Giants effortlessly over the Dodgers. Look for the Giants to establish themselves as the team to beat in the west.