The Giants came into last night’s series opener against the Dodgers feeling pretty good. After all, they just swept the Dodgers last week in San Francisco and Tim Lincecum was coming off of three strong starts to start the season. Not to mention the fact that Timmy has historically pitched very well against Los Angeles. The good feelings ended in the third inning when Lincecum gave up five hits, a walk and four runs. The G-men closed the gap with three runs in the fifth, but the Dodgers would not relinquish the lead, later adding a run in the bottom of the sixth, and three more in the eighth to close out the scoring, 8-3.
With the loss, the Giants drop to 8-12 on the season, 4.5 games back of the first place Dodgers. The Giants can still take the series with wins the next two nights, which would decrease the Dodgers lead to just 2.5 games. To do so they’ll have to beat the Dodgers two best starting pitchers, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. A tall task for sure, but the World Champions have faced taller tasks on an even bigger stage, as memories of the 2012 World Series come to mind, when the Giants beat Detroit Tigers starters Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer in games one and two, setting the stage for a World Series sweep and championship.
The offense did well against Dodgers’ starter Brett Anderson, scoring three runs on five hits in the first 4 ⅔ innings, knocking him out of the game. However, They would only manage two hits the rest of the way against four Dodgers’ relievers, while the Dodgers would go on to score four more runs off of three Giants relievers, after Lincecum departed after four innings. The top three hitters for the Giants were the 1-2-3 hitters (Aoki 2 for 5 with a RBI and run scored, Panik 1 for 4 with a RBI, and Pagan 1 for 4 with a RBI). The team combined to go 3 for 8 with runners in scoring position, but they simply couldn’t get enough runners on base, and the relief pitching didn’t perform to Giants’ standards on this evening.
Tonight’s game is eagerly anticipated as we’ll witness a rematch of both aces when Madison Bumgarner (1-1, 4.63) opposes Clayton Kershaw (1-1, 4.07). Both pitchers will look to recapture their usual dominance, as they’ve struggled thus far this season. Last week at AT & T Park, MadBum and Kershaw matched up almost evenly, going 6 ⅓ and 6 innings respectively, each giving up two runs, with neither factoring in the decision. In his career against the Giants, Kershaw is 14-5 with a 1.48 ERA with four career shutouts. MadBum sports an 11-5 career record against the Dodgers, with a 2.56 ERA, including 7-3, 2.19 at Dodger Stadium. Buckle up Giants fans, this should be a good one.