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MLB Dodgers at Giants

April 07, 2007

MLB Baseball Preview - L.A. Dodgers (-135, 9) at S.F. Giants 3:30 PM EST

Derek Lowe of the DodgersThe Dodgers Derek Lowe was hammered in his opening day assignment 7-1 in Milwaukee, lasting just four innings, giving up 6 runs on 8 hits and was all over the place with five walks. It would be wise to consider Lowe's first start an aberration, knowing his past.

The 6'6 Lowe could kill the fishing industry by himself with the number of worm burning ground balls he normally generates. (Led the majors in ground ball percentage in 2006) His motion is tricky to pick-up and he has learned as his career has progressed to be effective at changing speeds. His mound opponent is Russ Ortiz of the Giants.

Ortiz has come full circle, being back with San Francisco after he departed in 2002. For Giants fans he might not appear all that much different except a few speckles of gray. Ortiz went to Atlanta and had moderate success at least record wise, but gave up too many hits and handed out too many free passes. A much beefier (fill in your own word for fat) Ortiz moved on to Arizona, where a cash poor club was willing to eat (good choice of words) the final two years of 20 million dollar contract not to subject Snakes fans to his lack of pitching prowess.

A quick trip to Baltimore was more of the same and a two year record of 5-19 tells his story. Like a divorced person back on the dating circuit, Ortiz dropped untold amounts of weight, looking like a Jenny Craig makeover. He also have gone back to his previous pitching motion, bringing his arm back in a semicircle as he prepares to throw, which has added velocity and steeper angles to his pitches.

Each of these rivals has flaws that will not be masked over a 162 game schedule. Los Angeles might have the best starting staff in baseball, yet not a single player hit more then 20 home runs last season, leaving them to manufacture run continually. It would seem at some point one of the starters might have to be sacrificed for a big bat. A series of road games has not been good news for the Dodgers who are 46-72 (-29.3 Units) against the money line after 3 or more consecutive road games over the last three seasons.

San Francisco figured to struggle with a mediocre line-up that has no player younger then 30 years old and four starters that are at least 35 years old. The most famous and controversial is Barry Bonds who looks like he has overcome last season's injuries and is swinging a much livelier bat with greater quickness. Beyond him not much good is occurring yet.

Los Angeles will be a road favorite at with pitching differential and more productive lineup. Nevertheless, when rivals compete against one another, it often better to expect the unusual, then the norm.

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