Look, the series preview I posted earlier today provided very little hope, but obviously — obviously — the Giants are fully capable of challenging their rival. Whether or not they win is another story, but in any given Dodgers series, they have a shot; and, an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Backup Yankees, they might even be a little bit more focused.
Jeff Samardzija hasn’t been the best pitcher in baseball, but he’s been fairly consistent for the Giants in April. Remember, they’re just trying to get him through five innings. Bruce Bochy has been unwilling to use a quick hook on his starters once they get to the third time through the lineup or even if they just run into trouble in the fourth or fifth inning, regardless of times through the order.
It’s his last year managing so he can do whatever he wants, but if he’s serious about keeping the team competitive for as long as possible, he’ll want to be diligent against this Dodgers lineup:
Kenta Maeda has had a rough start to the season. His fielding independent pitching (FIP) of 5.09 reflects a huge loss of command. His walks per nine stands at 4.2 entering tonight’s game. His strikeouts per nine is at 8.1. His career norms for both are 2.7 and 9.7, respectively, and last season, his 10.99 K/9 was 11th-best in MLB out of pitchers who’d logged at least 120 innings. His 3.09 BB/9 was just 70th-best, sandwiching him between Cole Hamels and Kyle Freeland.
His past three starts have been even worse than the season line: 6.75 ERA in 16 IP with 15:7 K:BB. The Cardinals, Reds, and Cubs slugged .500 against him across those three starts. The good news for him is that he gets to face a Giants lineup that rarely walks and barely slugs.
But, again, it’s the Dodgers. The Giants might throw us a bone with a surprise or two. Nothing crazy like first inning runs or a 4-0 lead, but maybe a tight game that they can win 2-1 or 3-2. Maybe?