Giants Start Title Defense In Los Angeles: Game Preview


Opening Day has arrived, and in impressive fashion. The San Francisco Giants will take on the Los Angeles Dodgers to start their title defense.

Let’s take a look at the pitching matchup and a few things to watch for:

Matt Cain

Aug 22, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starter Matt Cain (18) delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Cain gets his first Opening Day start of his career. After sitting in Tim Lincecum’s shadow since 2008, he finally claims the “ace” role of the Giants’ rotation. Cain threw the ball well in spring training, compiling a 4.50 ERA in exactly 20 innings.

The Dodgers haven’t been too kind to Cain in recent years. The right-hander has a career 4-8 record and 3.41 ERA against the men in blue. Although, run support has been a rarity for him, so there shouldn’t be much value put into his record. More recently, he went 1-0 with a 2.73 in four starts against Los Angeles last year. That’s more Cain-like.

Clayton Kershaw

Among the guys that the Giants hate to face, Kershaw is high on that list. Since breaking into the league, he’s 8-4 with a stellar 1.37 ERA against San Francisco. What’s more, current Giants’ hitters have a .188/.239/.237 slash against him.

There was a bit of concern regarding Kershaw’s right hip entering the spring. But he’s ready to go, and could soon become the wealthiest pitcher in baseball, as extension talks are reportedly in full force after Justin Verlander signed a massive extension last week.

What to Watch For:

Pablo Sandoval’s Right Elbow Injury

Sandoval will give it a go on Monday, but by no means will he be 100 percent. The Giants will likely keep close watch on Sandoval, especially after he was taken out of Friday’s exhibition game against the Oakland A’s after only two at-bats.

Andre Ethier and Adrian Gonzalez Versus Matt Cain

Ethier and Gonzalez have absolutely owned Cain in their careers. And both have regularly seen Cain given that they’ve both have played in the National League West division for quite some time.

Ethier is a career .456 (26-for-57) jitter against Cain with one home run and only seven strikeouts. Gonzalez is a career .311 (19-for-61) against Cain with four home runs and 13 RBI.

I’d keep an eye on these match ups.

Marco Scutaro Hit Streak Still Alive

In case you forgot, hitting streaks do carry over from season to season, and Scutaro ended 2012 with a 20-game hitting streak, the longest streak of his career.

During the streak, he’s hitting .436 (34-78) with a home run and 17 RBI. Perhaps this streak will see an early termination if Scutaro is rusty, but it’s something to keep an eye on.