Drew Pomeranz is coming off his first scoreless start of the season. Last week in Toronto, he struck out five, walked two, and allowed two hits (a pair of singles) in the Giants’ 4-0 win. By Bill James’ Game Score his 71 for the night represented his best start since July 7th, 2016.
On that night, he had a Game Score of 77 after pitching seven shutout innings (6 K, 2 H 2 BB) in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
Of course, that Dodgers team is not this Dodgers team and this Dodgers team really sucks because of how good it is. The 2016 team was the team that really struggled against left-handed pitching (.623 OPS vs. .772 OPS against righties). Yeah, the same team Ty Blach pitched 8 shutout innings against when the Giants were desperate to clinch a playoff spot.
Oh man — remember the playoffs?
Anyway, in the small sample of the first month of the season, the 2019 Dodgers are much better against left-handed pitching (.753 OPS), though still not quite as good as they are against righties (.830). Pomeranz will have his work cut out for him because, right off the bat, he’ll be facing Enrique Hernandez, who’s 8-for-24 against left-handed pitching to start the season, with 8 walks to 5 strikeouts.
Remarkably, Walker Buehler will be making only his second career start against the Giants tonight. He didn’t face them when the Giants visited LA earlier in the month and the only time he faced them last season was on April 28th. So, it’s been over a calendar year since the Giants have faced who is now the de facto ace of the Dodgers’ rotation.
In that start last April — which, by the way, was the game in which Pablo Sandoval pitched his scoreless inning — Buehler struck out six in five innings. He also allowed six hits that day. The only Giant who both had a hit against Buehler and is also on the 2019 Giants is Pablo Sandoval, and he’s not in the lineup tonight.
2B — Joe Panik
LF — Yangervis Solarte
C — Buster Posey
1B — Brandon Belt
3B — Evan Longoria
SS — Brandon Crawford
CF — Kevin Pillar
RF — Steven Duggar
SP — Drew Pomeranz
Trivia question: Without looking at the box score, who were the non-Pablo Giants who had hits against Walker Buehler last April? A hint: one of the players had two of the remaining five hits. One of those hits was on a bunt for hit attempt. This same player had a stolen base.
It’s nice to see Steven Duggar back in the lineup after sitting out a few days with an injury / ineffectiveness. The Giants have few options in the outfield at the moment, so it’s worth it to give him as many at bats as possible.
Even if he doesn’t start to show promise in the next couple of weeks, it’ll still be tough to go in a different direction, as they’d only have two replacement options: Chris Shaw or Austin Slater. Neither of them offer huge upgrades on offense and perhaps a few weeks of at bats to adjust to major league pitching, too, and both are clear downgrades on defense, so, for now, the team is better off having Duggar roam Triples Alley.