Sunday Night Baseball Picks: Giants at Dodgers

San Francisco Giants (Barry Zito, 0-0) at Los Angeles Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda, 0-0)
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, April 3, 2011, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Money Line: LAD -145 / SFG +125
Current Money Line: LAD -140 / SFG +130
Opening Total: 7 1/2
Current Total: 7 1/2 over -105 / under -115
Opening Run Line: SFG +1 1/2 -110 / LAD -1 1/2 -110
Current Run Line: SFG +1 1/2 -170 / LAD -1 1/2 +150

Hiroki Kuroda and the Dodgers host the arch-rival Giants in the last game of a season opening four game series at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers have taken 2 out of 3 so far from their arch-rivals in this season opening series from Dodger Stadium. I am a  little curious as to why this series isn’t in San Francisco. After all the Giants are the defending World champions. The Giants will try to salvage a split and look to Barry Zito to even up the series. Zito struggled to a 9-14 record last season with a 4.15 ERA. He was left off the Giants’ postseason roster last year. His year didn’t get off to a good start this season either as he was involved in a car accident in Los Angeles Wednesday. He wasn’t seriously injured but does have a sore neck and back. The Dodgers will start Hiroki Kuroda who went 11-13 last season with a 3.39 ERA. He set career highs for wins, ERA and strikeouts last season.

The Dodgers won the first two of the series in close one run affairs. Clayton Kershaw outdueled former Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum 2-1 on Thursday. Chad Billingsley picked up the win on Friday night 4-3 over Jonathan Sanchez. Jonathan Broxton picked up the save in both contests. The Giants crushed the Dodgers yesterday afternoon 10-0 behind a strong performance by Matt Cain. The Dodgers had 9 hits and only 1 extra base hit. Cain had 3 strikeouts and only allowed 5 hits in 6 innings. Freddy Sanchez and Aubry Huff both had 3 RBI’s for the Giants in the rout.

Barry Zito is 6-8 in his career versus the Dodgers with an ERA of 3.83. His team is 8-11 in those games and the under is 13-3.  Last year he went 0-3 against the Dodgers despite having an ERA of 2.41 in six starts. Kuroda is 2-2 in his career versus the Giants with an ERA of  3.56. His team is 3-4 in those games and the under is 4-3. The Dodgers are 48-19 against the money line in home games after a loss the last 3 seasons. The Giants are 104-77 in all games the last two seasons, including 50-43 in road games, 71-51 in night games, and 75-56 against right handed starters.

Giants closer Brian Wilson is on the 15 day DL with a strained oblique. Centerfielder Cody Ross is also on the DL with a calf injury. Though stats are a little misleading this early in the season, second baseman Freddy Sanchez has been the best hitter this young season for the Giants. He is batting .455 with one home run and 3 RBI’s. He also has 5 hits and scored 2 runs. A slimmed down Pablo Sandoval is batting .375 with 3 hits and a run scored. Miguel Tejada and last year’s NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey have also contributed to the offense so far. Pat Burell and Brandon Belt each have a home run this season along with Sanchez.

Dodger pitchers Vicente Padilla (elbow) and Jon Garland (oblique) are both on the DL along with third baseman Casey Blake (back) and catcher Dioner Navarro (oblique). Second baseman Juan Uribe is questionable tonight with an elbow injury. Though they are 2-1 they Dodgers have only scored 6 runs in 3 games. The Dodgers haven’t hit a home run yet this season. Matt Kemp is batting .500  with  4 hits and a stolen base. James Loney has 2 RBI’s so far.

We don’t know how the car accident will affect Barry Zito. He says the soreness is dissipating every day. Baseball is difficult to handicap this early in the season. Especially when a pitchers are making his first start of the season like both Zito and Kuroda. These two long time rivals usually bring out the best in each other, so I expect a close game.

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