MLB odds: Giants, Dodgers conclude series

By: Stephen Nover | Saturday, April 2, 2011
The San Francisco Giants enjoyed a wonderful, magical year last season. Unfortunately for them, it’s 2011 and things aren’t starting very well.

The Giants will play the finale of this four-game series Sunday night game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Game time from Dodger Stadium is 5 p.m. (PT) with ESPN2 televising.

Not the greatest of hitting clubs, the Giants’ defense has been shoddy. They’ve committed five errors en route to losing the first two games of the series.

San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy is hoping Barry Zito can make the start versus the Dodgers’ Hiroki Kuroda.

Zito was involved in a two-car accident this past Wednesday night. He was taken to a hospital for a precautionary examination and released. He showed up to the stadium on Thursday wearing a neck brace.

Zito, who turns 33 next month, threw between 35 and 40 pitches on Friday in an effort to show he’s OK. He said his neck felt good after the pitching session.

“I was encouraged by it,” Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti was quoted as saying following Zito’s workout. “I was expecting a stiffer guy.”

Until Philadelphia added Cliff Lee to go with Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton, the Giants had the top starting pitching staff in the majors.

Zito, though, is considered the weak link. He was dropped from last year’s postseason pitching staff after posting a 9-14 record with a 4.15 ERA during the regular season. His 1.79 strikeout-per-walk ratio rated 80th of 92 qualified starters

The Giants have lost eight of Zito’s past nine outings and are 0-6 during his past six division starts.

Zito started last year by going 6-1 with a 2.15 ERA in his first eight starts, but finished 1-8 with a 6.80 ERA in his last 10 games. That included nine starts.

Striving to justify his $126 million contract, Zito was San Francisco’s only starter to work six innings twice in Cactus League exhibitions.

The lefty faced the Dodgers six times last season and San Francisco lost on five occasions. However, only once in the six games did Zito allow more than two runs.

Lifetime versus the Dodgers, Zito is 6-8 with a 3.83. The ‘under’ is 12-1-3 in Zito’s last 16 starts against Los Angeles.

Giants pitchers will have to deal with outfielder Matt Kemp, who entered the weekend hitting .322 with three homers, 22 runs scored and 13 RBIs in his last 33 home games against San Francisco.

Kuroda is 2-2 career-wise versus San Francisco with a 3.56 ERA. He started one game against the Giants last season and lost, 3-0, as a 135 home favorite opposing Jonathan Sanchez. The combined three runs went ‘under’ the seven-run total.

Kuroda gave up three earned runs to the Giants in eight innings, allowing six hits with eight strikeouts and three walks.

Los Angeles has won seven of the last nine times Kuroda has gone against a foe with a losing record. The 36-year right-hander was 11-13 with a 3.39 ERA in 2010. He was 6-6 at Dodger Stadium with a 3.10 ERA.

Kuroda, from Osaka, Japan, is 28-30 in his career with a 3.60 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.

Adrian Johnson is slated to be the home plate umpire, with the ‘under’ going 7-3 the last 10 times he has been behind the dish. The ‘under’ was 18-16 in Johnson’s 34 games behind the plate last year.

Dodgers infielder Juan Uribe, who spent the previous two years with the Giants, is dealing with an elbow injury after getting hit by a pitch by Tim Lincecum during Thursday’s opener.

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