Barry Zito is back! Maybe. Don't quote me on that. I have editing powers, remember. Zito's allowing fewer hits on balls put in play this year, with his numbers matching those of his peak years with Oakland. The strikeouts have actually decreased a little, which is surprising, but we're only talking about 29 innings. This could be the old Zito. This could be the old old Zito. This could be the new old Zito. Don't know. If he can get back to being a Mark Gardner kind of useful, most of us will be thrilled. If he can get back to his above-average self of '05/'06, he'll probably get a statue like Mays, McCovey, or Marichal. It'll be in the restrooms under the centerfield bleachers, but still.
Chad Billingsley is good, and I have the Giants down for one run against him. It'll be a bases loaded, no outs, double play. No one scores runs on that play like the Giants, so be warned, unpleasant Dodger-types. Secret weapon, comin' atcha!
Ah, Jonathan Sanchez. One of the most frustrating pitchers I've ever watched. After years of Shawn Estes, Russ Ortiz, William VanLandingham, and other control-impaired Giants young pitchers, Sanchez is the one that kills me because he misses more bats than any of them when he's in the strike zone. He'll cruise for three innings, and then he'll walk six while warming up between innings. I look forward to his starts, but he's just as likely to get pulled in the third as he is to throw a shutout.
Eric Stults is Southern California's version of Pat Misch, for better or for worse, so he'll probably only limit the Giants to two runs.
Tim Lincecum is not Jeff Weaver. Jeff Weaver is not Tim Lincecum. Weaver is a guy who thrives on location, movement, and taking advantage of hitters who are too aggressive. It's also been about three years since he's been good, weird postseason dominance aside. For this series, then, Jeff Weaver is Tim Lincecum. This is exactly the kind of unlikable, unremarkable pitcher who throws seven strong against the Giants. Lincecum makes every opponent seem like the 2009 Giants, so the playing field is even, but it'll probably be a nerve-munching nine innings.
Jonathan Broxton is a beast. Also, he's been a productive pitcher this season. But after that, the Giants' bullpen matches up quite well, especially if Merkin Valdez can keep the velocity up on his fastball. That pitch has some serious fuzz on it when it's right.
The Dodgers can hit. The Giants can't.
Alright, maybe that's a little glib. But for all of the talk about the Dodgers' balanced attack, they actually have a lot of underperforming players like James Loney, Suck It Russell Martin, and Rafael Furcal. The players stinking for the Giants are players who had a high potential for stink, and the team doesn't have a lot of hitters who should obviously be hitting more, Randy Winn excepted. Those last two sentences freak me out, and I don't think Jesus "Hack Hack Clank" Guzman is the answer right now.
Other other notes:
Manny Ramirez suspended Manny Ramirez not on the team steroids performance-enhancing drugs outside the lines special shock horror amazement steroid era the real crime is that the record books smell of room-temperature, week-old venison bad example for children my children your children AIG reference thrown in for good measure should have known glad the Giants aren't going through this can you imagine? double standards triple standards not in my America industry awards cheaters Bud Selig's fault Donald Fehr's fault Marvin Miller's fault get over here Curt Flood it's all your fault things used to be better in the fifties sixties seventies and eighties Manny Ramirez replaced with Juan Pierre Manny Ramirez replaced with Juan Pierre Manny Ramirez replaced with Juan Pierre Manny Ramirez replaced with Juan Pierre Manny Ramirez replaced with Juan Pierre Manny Ramirez replaced with Juan Pierre that feels good so I'm going to type that one more time Manny Ramirez replaced with Juan Pierre steroids steriods suspension suspended.
Yeah, right. I'm no stranger to the jinxes, but that one's an obvious "no sale." The only prediction I'll make: Several times tonight, I'll stop and thank the Nationals for breaking that stupid home winning streak so I don't have to hear about it 23,034 times tonight. Not only that, but last night must have been pretty deflating for the whole Dodger team.