When it came down to the previous three matchups in this opening series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, one thing was always abundantly clear: the starting pitching. Tim Lincecum and Clayton Kershaw were aces dueling, Jonathan Sanchez and Chad Billingsley were both pretty evenly matched, and Matt Cain had a marked advantage over Ted Lilly. But now we've got Barry Zito coming in, and it's totally unclear where he's at, not only with his recent car accident and possible soreness, but just the fact that he's very inconsistent either way. When the Dodgers send Hiroki Kuroda to the mound tonight, anything can happen.
It could totally invalidate the fact that Barry Zito had a 2.41 ERA over six starts against Los Angeles last year, playing well in a season in which he ultimately did not. Zito started off well in 2010, but he finished it off losing ten of his last eleven games, and was kept off of the playoff roster the ultimately won the Giants the World Series. He's 6-8 with a 3.83 ERA in 19 starts versus Los Angeles.
The 35-year-old Kuroda is 2-2 with a 3.56 ERA over seven games against the Giants. His 2010 was pretty good, going 11-3 with a 3.39 ERA in 31 starts. He'll have to take on a Giants team that just crushed Los Angeles to the tune of 10-0, with impressive play throughout their lineup. Freddy Sanchez had three hits and three runs batted in, while Aubrey Huff went 2-for-4 with three RBI of his own.
Miguel Tejada was the leadoff man, of all people, and he found himself with two hits and two RBI for, while Mark DeRosa and Aaron Rowand both had two hits apiece at the bottom of the lineup. Rookie Brandon Belt was walked twice and scored a run, while picking up his first career stolen base in the process. Andre Ethier remains a thorn in San Francisco's side, going 3-for-4 last night, though they were still held to a shutout.
The Giants are looking to play this series to a split, already having dropped the first two games before the 10-0 rout on Saturday. They made five errors over the first two games, both times the defense let down the starting pitching and handed Sanchez and Lincecum losses when they probably should have been awarded no decisions at the worst. In game three, they didn't make a single error and had production all over the lineup, that's what you want to see.