Dodgers vs D-Backs Pre-Game: Southpaws Meet in Heated Game

It wasn’t the debut that Hanley Ramirez and the fans had in mind last night at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers just had one of those games last night, losing to the D-Backs 7-2. Those seven runs came on a three-run home run and a grand slam given up by big Aaron Harang. However, as usual the Dodgers didn’t roll over and were trying to score until the very last out of the game.

The Dodgers will look to rebound after the tough defeat. Tonight it will be a battle between two lefties at Dodger Stadium, Wade Miley against Chris Capuano.

Miley is probably the least talked about rookie in the Major Leagues this year despite making the National League All Star team. He was basically thrown into the D-Backs rotation early on due to numerous injuries and has done nothing but impress. On the season Miley has an 11-6 record with a 3.11 ERA. In his last outing he picked up a loss against the New York Mets, allowing nine hits and three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings of work. On July 5 in Arizona Miley got roughed up a bit by the Dodgers, allowing eight hits and four earned runs in 6.2 innings in that one. It will be interesting to see how the rookie prepares for a chance at revenge against this Dodger offense that got the best of him earlier this month.

Chris Capuano will take the hill for the Dodgers. This lefty is a veteran that has had an impressive year of his own. His numbers aren’t too far off from his opponent, with a 10-6 record and a 3.13 ERA on the season. Although Capuano hasn’t had the best second half of the season and is coming off of a bad outing in St Louis against the Cardinals. In his last start against the Cardinals he only managed to get through 4 1/3 innings, allowing 11 hits and five earned runs. On July 8 Capuano also got knocked around by this D-Backs team that he’s about to face, allowing nine hits and five earned runs in 5.0 innings of work.

So it will be a game of adjustments and revenge for both left-handers as they go head to head tonight at Dodger Stadium.
(By adjustments I could be talking about more new teammates for the Dodgers? But I guess we’ll have to wait and see )

Arizona Diamondbacks (52-51) at Los Angeles Dodgers (56-48)
Wade Miley (11-6, 3.11) vs Chris Capuano (10-6, 3.13)
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
7:10 p.m. PST, July 31, 2012
TV: Prime Ticket
Radio: 570 AM (English), 1020 AM (Spanish)
Promotion: Kirk Gibson Bobblehead presented by San Manuel Indian and Bingo
Game-Time Weather: Mostly Sunny, 74 degrees

Diamondbacks’ Projected Starters:
P: Wade Miley
C: Miguel Montero
1B: Paul Goldschmidt
2B: Aaron Hill
SS: Stephen Drew
3B: Chris Johnson
LF: Jason Kubel
CF: Chris Young
RF: Justin Upton

Key Bench Players: SS Willie Bloomquist, OF Gerardo Parra

Dodgers’ Last 10 (6-4): L vs ARI, W @ SF, W @ SF, W @ SF, L @ STL, L @ STL, L @ STL, W @ STL, W @ NYM, W @ NYM.
Diamondbacks’ Last 10 (7-3): W @ LA, L vs NYM, W vs NYM, W vs NYM, L vs NYM, L vs COL, W vs COL, W vs COL, W vs HOU, W vs HOU.

Keys to a Dodger Victory:
– Score early on:
The Dodgers need to come out and give Capuano an early lead in this one. It will be good for the struggling Capuano to pitch with a comfortable 2-0 lead at least in the first three innings. When he becomes comfortable on that mound, it will be cruise mode for him for about six or seven innings of shutout ball.

Prediction: Dodgers 4, D-Backs 1


Dodgers vs Cardinals Pre-Game: Win Streak Dependent on Kershaw

The Dodgers will go for their sixth straight win today in St Louis and try to keep a perfect record during this 10-game road trip, by improving to 5-0. Last night the Dodgers beat the Cardinals 5-3 in the first game of this four-game series. It was the offense that showed up again to keep the Dodgers rolling, while the Giants still hold 1.5 game lead in the division race.

Today’s pitching match-up will be watched by many around the baseball world, as Clayton Kershaw goes up against Adam Wainwright. If you want to see two of the best curve balls in baseball and enjoy a great pitcher’s duel, then this is a must-watch for you. However, opposing hitters probably feel the complete opposite because no one likes getting fooled by the old Uncle Charlie.

Wainwright, the big lengthy right-hander for the Cardinals isn’t having an ideal year that people would usually expect from him. He missed all of the 2011 World Championship season due to reconstructive surgery on his right elbow. This season he has shown flashes of dominance from the past, but the numbers say 7-10 record with a 4.42 ERA.

One of those flashes of dominance came in his last start against the Brewers on July 18th, where Wainwright went 7.0 innings, allowing five hits, one run, with nine strikeouts, only to end up with the loss. The stuff is clearly still there on occasion, especially the curve ball that defines what the 12-6 curve is all about. Wainwright will try to put an end to the Dodgers winning streak, he has a 3-3 record with a 3.10 ERA overall against them.

The Dodgers will have the 2011 Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw on the mound in this one. So far this season Kershaw has a 7-5 record with a 2.74 ERA, which has already tied the total amount of losses that he had all of last year. It seems like he has made a lot more mistakes with pitches in games this season than he did last year, but the ERA says otherwise.

In his last start on July 18th against the Phillies, it was a pitcher’s duel between him and Cliff Lee. He went 8.0 innings, allowing five hits, one run, with seven strikeouts. It ended up being a no decision for Kershaw with the Dodgers winning the game in extra innings and that’s when the winning streak began. So the Dodgers ace will try to keep the streak alive for another day and win the battle for the filthiest 12-6 curve in baseball.

Los Angeles Dodgers (53-44) at St. Louis Cardinals (50-46)
Clayton Kershaw (7-5, 2.74) vs. Adam Wainwright (7-10, 4.42)
Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri
5:15 p.m. PST, July 24, 2012
TV: KCAL, MLB Network
Radio: 570 AM (English), 1020 AM (Spanish)
Game-Time Weather: 99 degrees, Mostly Cloudy

For more on the Cardinals, check out our pre-series article.

Key to a Dodger Victory:
Keep on rolling: The Dodgers offense has managed to score five or more runs in every game during this five game winning streak. They must stay hot in order to keep this streak alive against the Cardinals Adam Wainwright. A couple of Dodgers have actually gone deep off of him, which include Andre Ethier, Jerry Hairston Jr., and wait for it… James Loney! We could be in for a Loney home run sighting! I might be a little too excited, but forgive me he has a .400 batting average against Wainwright in 20 at-bats.

Matchup to watch: Allen Craig vs. Clayton Kershaw, .500 BA, 4 for 8, 1 HR, 5 RBIs.

Prediction: Dodgers 5, Cardinals 1

Dodgers vs Mets Pre-Game: Capuano Goes for Win No. 10, Again

The Dodgers started off their 10-game road trip in surprising fashion, scoring seven runs in a win over the Mets last night. It’s been a while since the Dodgers’ offense has gone on a tear like the one that they put on display yesterday. So I ask myself this one question: Will we see this Dodgers offense during today’s game?

Today they will face-off against veteran 41-year-old right-hander, Miguel Batista. This guy first broke into the Major Leagues in 1992 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and has found a way to stick around 20 years later. The Mets are the 11th team that he has pitched for during his lengthy big league career. Batista has been bounced around from the bullpen to the starting rotation for the majority of his career, with this season being no different, as he has made just four starts this season.

In 29 games Batista has a 1-2 record with a 4.33 ERA. His most dominant start came on May 14 against the Milwaukee Brewers, when he went 7.0 innings, allowing four hits, and striking out five. However, Batista hasn’t made a start since May 19, when he pitched just two innings against the Blue Jays. This could actually benefit the Dodgers offense in a big way. Although he’s a veteran, Batista could have a tough time going deep into the game after not starting a game in more than two months.

The Dodgers will counter and put left-hander Chris Capuano on the mound. It’s been quite a while since Capuano won a game, all due to poor run support and some horrific defense. One of the biggest surprises during the first half of season, Capuano has been stuck at nine wins, with his last win coming on June 23 against the Angels. Capuano pitched a solid 6 2/3 innings in his last start against the Padres, allowing five hits and four runs. You’re probably thinking four runs is not a solid start, right? Well all four of those runs were unearned because the defense managed to commit five errors on that day.

Capuano has a 9-5 record overall with an impressive 2.75 ERA on the season. One of those five losses came against this same Mets team back on June 28. In that game Capuano went 7.0 innings, allowing five hits, and three earned runs at Dodger Stadium. So Capuano for the fifth straight time will take the mound today in search of win number 10.

Los Angeles Dodgers (50-44) at New York Mets (47-46)
Chris Capuano (9-5, 2.75) vs. Miguel Batista (1-2, 4.33)
Citi Field, Corona, New York
10:10 a.m. PST, July 21, 2012
Radio: 570 AM (English), 1020 AM (Spanish)
Game-Time Weather: 77 degrees, Cloudy

Mets Projected Starters:
P:Miguel Batista
C: Josh Thole
1B: Ike Davis
2B: Daniel Murphy
SS: Ruben Tejada
3B: David Wright
LF: Jason Bay
CF: Andres Torres
RF: Lucas Duda

Key Bench Players: OF Scott Hairston, UT Jordany Valdespin

Dodgers’ Last 10 (3-7): W @ NYM, W vs PHI, L vs PHI, L vs PHI, L vs SD, L vs SD, W vs SD, L @ ARI, L @ ARI, L @ ARI.
Mets’ Last 10 (2-8): L vs LA, W @ WAS, L @ WAS, L @ WAS, L @ ATL, L @ ATL, L @ ATL, L vs CHC, W vs CHC, L vs CHC.

Keys for a Dodger Victory
– All-Around game
After a terrible showing by the defense in Capuano’s last start, the team needs to go out and play a solid game all-around in this one. The offense scored a big seven runs in last night’s game and could use another offensive outbreak like that one. So with Capuano usually consistent on the mound, the offense needs to score and the defense needs to make the routine plays. If all three of those things fall into place then the Dodgers should come out with another win at Citi Field.

-Jump on the Veteran
The numbers are just downright ugly for Batista, who could be pitching his final games as a Major Leaguer. Look for Bobby Abreu (12-for-31, .387) and Andre Ethier (5-for-11, .455) to continue to have success against the soft-tossing Batista, who struggles to strike out batters. Without any form of fooling hitters, it could be a long day for New York. Matt Kemp has also found his groove, which is scary for any pitcher.

Prediction: Dodgers 5, Mets 1

Around the NL West: Slow Start Puts Dodgers 3.0 Games Back

There really is a first for everything, for the first time the Dodgers are not at the top of the National League West while I write this article. Unfortunately, the Dodgers dropped four straight games, two against the San Diego Padres and two against the Philadelphia Phillies, which put the San Francisco Giants ahead of them by 3.0 games in the division. Those games were lost in unwatchable fashion for Dodgers fans, with a lack of offense even with the return of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, bullpen struggles, and the defense almost managed to end a game with more errors than hits on Sunday against the Padres, finishing with five errors and seven hits.

Things got a little bit better yesterday for the Dodgers though, when Matt Kemp hit a two run home run in the bottom of the 12th inning to beat the Phillies, which put an end to the four-game losing streak. That game alone could end up being huge for the Dodgers as they began a 10-game road trip in New York against the Mets on Friday. It was a sign that this team still has the fight in them that they had early on in the year, when they were known for always coming from behind to win ballgames.

San Francisco Giants – 51-40
It’s pretty simple, the Giants are playing the complete opposite of the Dodgers and that’s why they’re the top dog in the division. Their second half surge began at the All Star game, where they had four starters in the game and almost all of them could have been named MVP without question. Melky Cabrera ended up winning the All Star Game MVP Award, finishing 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs. The great play by the Giants continues as they’ve won each of their five games to start the second half.

This offense is shockingly still getting the job done, which makes it’s a lot easier for one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. The Giants will travel to Philadelphia over the weekend to take on the Phillies for a three game series. (Another first: This will be the first time that I will ever root for the Phillies and only because I have to).

Reason to be worried (as a Dodger fan): The Giants starting rotation:
•Madison Bumgarner 11-5 3.15 ERA
•Matt Cain 10-3 2.56 ERA
•Barry Zito 8-6 3.75 ERA
•Ryan Vogelsong 7-4 2.31 ERA
•Tim Lincecum 3-10 5.93 ERA

This rotation already scares the heck out of me, but if Tim Lincecum decides to come back to earth and starts pitching like the two-time Cy Young Award winner that he once was, then this rotation might give me legit nightmares.

Reason to be optimistic (as a Dodger fan): This is the one team that doesn’t scare me with one swing of the bat. They’re last in the Major Leagues with just 52 home runs overall on the year.

Biggest contributor: Buster Posey, hitting .308 with a team-leading 11 home runs and 52 RBIs.

Biggest disappointment: Tim Lincecum, 3-10 record with a 5.93 ERA. There probably isn’t a bigger disappointment in baseball at this point.

Biggest surprise: Barry Zito, 8-6 record with a 3.75 ERA.

Arizona Diamondbacks – 44-47
Before the All Star break the D-Backs were making a push in the race for the top of the National League West, but now after stumbling out of the break they’re 7.0 games back. They have lost four out of six to begin the second half of the season, which means we could be getting closer to seeing Justin Upton in a new uniform at the trade deadline.

It’s been a constant struggle for the defending National League West champs, who have been hit hard with injuries and haven’t had guys step up like last season. Now 7.0 games back is not the end of the world considering there are 71 games left to play this season, so a winning streak could put the D-Backs right back into the playoff hunt. They now will start a three game series at home over the weekend against the Houston Astros.

Reason to be worried (as a Dodger fan): Justin Upton is hitting .273 with just seven home runs and 38 RBIs, but he could heat up at any moment and possibly carry this team right back into the division race.

Reason to be optimistic (as a Dodger fan): The key word above was Upton possibly carrying the team. However, it will take much more than Justin to carry this team into the race. The Diamondbacks’ pitching hasn’t been consistent enough this season and that has been the key disappointment.

Quick Question: Will Justin Upton be traded before his bobble head night on July 28th?

Biggest contributor: Jason Kubel, hitting .295 with a team leading 17 home runs and 63 RBIs.

Biggest disappointment: Trevor Bauer, (optioned back to Triple-A) in four starts went 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA.

Biggest surprise: Aaron Hill, hitting .302 with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs. Hill also hit for the cycle twice this season in a two-week span, unbelievable. (I bet Canseco, Bonds, and McGuire know about going through cycles that frequently. GOT HEEEEEM)

San Diego Padres – 38-55
The Padres took two out of three games from the Dodgers in some wild games last weekend at Dodger Stadium. Then tomorrow they will try to take three out of four games against the Houston Astros as they try to distance themselves from the last place Colorado Rockies. It’s a good second half start for a team that spent most of the first half buried in last place. They’re 14.0 games out of first place at the moment and it’s doubtful that they will make a run at the Dodgers or Giants for the division title. Despite the record this team is still playing hard every single day for their manager Bud Black, their fans, and to stay out of last place in the division. The Padres will host the Rockies in a three-game series this weekend.

Reason to be worried (as a Dodger fan): Just like I mentioned above, this team has continued to play hard during their tough season. So when the Dodgers play them late in the season during a tight race with the Giants, it won’t be easy.

Reason to be optimistic (as a Dodger fan): This team might play hard, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t struggle to score runs. The Padres offense is ranked last in all of baseball with just 336 runs scored on the season.

Biggest contributor: Chase Headley, hitting .268 with a team leading 10 home runs and 46 RBIs.

Biggest disappointment: Cameron Maybin, hitting .221 with four home runs and 26 RBIs.

Biggest surprise: Huston Street, in 27 games this season has a 2-0 record with a 1.07 ERA and is 15 for 15 in save opportunities.

Colorado Rockies – 35-56
The Rockies are a team that most people didn’t expect to be 19 games under .500 at this point. This is a team that I thought would honestly make the National League West a four-team race, but they’re 16.0 games back and in last place. In this article I usually give the last place team a hard time, so I’m happy it’s the Rockies now, only because I ran out things to say about the Padres.

Colorado has started the second half of the season losing four out of six games, against the Phillies and Pirates. Their offense has actually been fantastic without Troy Tulowitzki, who has been injured for half of the season. It has been the pitching that has killed the Rockies chance at winning games this year. Drew Pomeranz is the only pitcher in their rotation with an ERA below 4.76, he has a 3.79 ERA but that’s only in eight starts on the year. So the team that always seems to make an unbelievable run at the division late in the season might be too far out of contention this time.

Reason to be worried (as a Dodger fan): This is where I usually insert a joke about how I’m really not worried. Well I would be lying if I said I wasn’t, this team will scare me until they’re about 25 games back. The Rockies offense is second in the National League with a .268 team batting average and is tied for first in the National League with 106 home runs on the season.

Reason to be optimistic (as a Dodger fan): The Rockies have the worst team ERA in all of baseball, 5.26. (Hey that’s still better than Tim Lincecum.)

Biggest contributor: Carlos Gonzalez, hitting .333 with a team leading 18 home runs and 62 RBIs.

Biggest disappointment: Pitching. 5.26 team ERA…

Biggest surprise: Wilin Rosario, who has been starting at catcher, is hitting .255 with 15 home runs and 39 RBIs.

Around the NL West: Examining the Competition at the Break

The first half of the MLB season is over and your Los Angeles Dodgers sit atop the National League West by a ½ game with a 47-40 record. That’s pretty amazing considering all of the injuries this team has dealt with. The biggest injury was the one to Matt Kemp, who only played in 36 games during the first half of this season, a period where it has seemed as if everyone got hurt at one time or another, extending to the broadcast booth when Vin Scully missed a couple of games to start the season with a cold.

Luckily, the Dodgers have had players come out of nowhere to pick up the slack. Shout out to Jerry Hairston Jr., Ivan De Jesus Jr., Justin Sellers, Elian Herrera, Scott Van Slyke, and Luis Cruz! These players have delivered in one way or another, keeping the Dodgers ahead of the pack in the National League West.

After the All Star break, the Dodgers will host a three game series against the San Diego Padres starting on July 13, which should also be the return of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.

Los Angeles Dodgers All Stars: Clayton Kershaw, and Matt Kemp (who has been replaced).

San Francisco Giants – 46-40
The Giants are definitely going to be in the race until the very end of this season. Despite losing their All Star closer Brian Wilson (Tommy John surgery) early this season for the entire year, and seeing their two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum struggle like we’ve never seen before (3-10, 6.42 ERA), they still find themselves only a half game out of first place behind the Dodgers.

Their offense has been the biggest surprise, with Melky Cabrera having an unbelievable first half hitting .353 with eight home runs and 44 RBIs. Shockingly, this offense has three players starting in this year’s All Star game on Tuesday night.

The Giants will start their second half of the season at home in a three-game series against the Houston Astros next Friday night.

San Francisco Giants All Stars: Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Melky Cabrera, and Matt Cain.

Reason to be Worried (as a Dodger fan): They swept the Dodgers over a week ago and are only a half game back in the division. Also they’re hitting the ball better than I would have ever expected, and even with Lincecum struggling they have about three other pitchers who can be top-of-the-rotation guys somewhere else.

Reason to be Optimistic (as a Dodger fan): The Dodgers should have a healthy lineup when the second half of the season begins. The last time Kemp was healthy the Dodgers had a seven-game lead over the Giants.

Biggest Contributor: Melky Cabrera, hitting .353 with eight home runs and 44 RBIs.

Biggest Disappointment: Tim Lincecum, 3-10 record with a 6.42 ERA in 18 starts.

Biggest Surprise: Barry Zito, 7-6 record with a 4.01 ERA in 17 starts. I can guarantee you that no one on this planet expected Zito to have a better record and ERA than Lincecum at this point.

Arizona Diamondbacks – 42-43
The D-Backs just took three out of four from the Dodgers and now sit just four games back in the division. This is a team that could also be in the race for the long haul depending on whether or not they decide to move Justin Upton. He was off to a horrific start this season, but seems to be picking it up after a great series against the Dodgers. Upton is now hitting .273 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs.

The 24-year-old is without a doubt the Diamondbacks’ franchise player and because of a slow start to the season he has been the center of trade rumors stating that Arizona may be open to moving him at the deadline, if they’re out of contention for the playoffs. At this point they are still alive, so it will be interesting to see whether they buy or sell.

The D-Backs will travel to Chicago on Friday to take on the Cubs in a three-game series as they get their second half of the season underway.

Arizona Diamondbacks All Stars: Wade Miley (rookie)

Reason to be Worried (as a Dodger fan): Well they just beat the Dodgers three out of four times and you can say the Dodgers weren’t healthy, but they beat Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, and Chris Capuano who are supposed to be the big three of the Dodgers’ rotation.

Reason to be Optimistic (as a Dodger fan): The Diamondbacks haven’t been consistent enough all year to stay in the division race for another half-season.

Biggest Contributor: Miguel Montero, hitting .272 with eight home runs and 45 RBIs.

Biggest Disappointment: Chris Young, hitting .203 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs.

Biggest Surprise: Wade Miley, 9-5 record with a 3.04 ERA in 17 games overall and 14 starts.

San Diego Padres – 34-53
If you’ve been following my “Around the NL West” articles during the first half of the season, then you know that I have been tough on the Padres. This one will be different though, with some good things happening in San Diego despite the record, and I promised I wouldn’t roast them in my previous article. They just found out that their new owners will be the O’Malley family, who won World Championships with the Dodgers when they owned the team dating back from their days in Brooklyn all the way until 1998, so the Padres are indeed in good hands.

This team also is no longer in last place in the division, a spot that they held for most of the first half of the season. The Padres called up their top prospect last week Yasmani Grandal, and all he did was hit three home runs for his first three hits of his career. The future looks very bright for the fans in sunny San Diego, California.

The Padres will start the second half of their season against the Dodgers in a three-game series at Dodger Stadium next weekend.

San Diego Padres All Stars: Huston Street (coolest name in baseball).

Reason to be Worried (as a Dodger fan): Is it possible that the O’Malleys could come back to haunt us? Well probably not this year, but maybe I’ll worry in about five years from now.

Reason to be Optimistic (as a Dodger fan): They sit 13 games back at the moment and don’t really have an established franchise player yet.

Biggest Contributor: Chase Headley, hitting .267 and leads the team with eight home runs and 42 RBIs.

Biggest Disappointment: Cameron Maybin, hitting .212 with four home runs and 24 RBIs.

Biggest Surprise: Huston Street, 2-0 record with a 1.13 ERA and is 13 for 13 in save opportunities.

Colorado Rockies – 33-52
The Rockies have one of the best offenses in the National League, except that doesn’t help when your pitching is the worst. They couldn’t seem to put both of them together at all during a rough first half of the season. It’s pretty impressive that their offense has done so well without Troy Tulowitzki, who has been one of their most reliable bats over the past few seasons. Even without Tulowitzki in the lineup, Carlos Gonzalez has had one of best first halfs of any player in baseball.

However, the Rockies will need a complete turnaround from their pitching staff if they want to dig themselves out of a 13-game deficit in the division.

Colorado will host the Philadelphia Phillies in a three-game series after the All Star break.

Colorado Rockies All Stars: Carlos Gonzalez.

Reason to be Worried (as a Dodger fan): If any team can completely turnaround their ball club and make the playoffs in the second half of the season, it’s the Rockies, I’ve seen them do it before. (It’s like they plan it out that way)

Reason to be Optimistic (as a Dodger fan): This team is last in the entire major leagues with a 5.26 team ERA.

Biggest Contributor: Carlos Gonzalez, hitting .330 with a team leading 17 home runs and 58 RBIs.

Biggest Disappointment: Jeremy Guthrie, 3-8 record with a 6.05 ERA in 17 games overall and 13 starts.

Biggest Surprise: Dexter Fowler, hitting .300 with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs.

Dodgers vs D-Backs Pre-Game: Capuano Looks to End First Half on High Note

Today is the final game before the All Star break, and after that Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier should be back in the lineup. Surprisingly, the Dodgers without those marque players, own a 1/2 game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the National League West, at the moment. With that said, the Dodgers will try to end the first half on a solid note.

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks meet today in the finale of a four game series with Los Angeles seeking a split. The Dodgers have gone down in the last two games with Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley on the mound. Billingsley outing did not come without much surprise as his inconsistently throughout the year has hovered, but Kershaw? He’s a 2011 Cy Young Award winner and 2012 All Star, who with a 6-5 record on the season, has already matched the amount of losses that he had in all of last season.

Today, the Dodgers will send Chris Capuano to the mound to try to avoid a three-game losing streak heading into the All Star break. A break that Capuano really shouldn’t have, because in my opinion he was one of this years All Star snubs. He has a 9-3 record on the year with a 2.62 ERA in 17 starts. In his last start on July 3rd against the Cincinnati Reds, he went six innings, allowing 6 hits, and only one earned run. Chris could probably have two more wins this season, but run support hasn’t been there for him, or for anybody else in that case.

It’s hard not to believe that he will have some extra motivation in this one, just to prove to the voters that he should have been a part of the National League All Star team.

The Arizona Diamondbacks will have Trevor Bauer on the mound, the 3rd overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft, out of UCLA. Bauer has electrifying stuff, but it hasn’t been enough to fool big league hitters, at least not yet. In just two starts into his Major League career, he is 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA. Due to some injuries to the Diamondbacks rotation, Bauer may have been rushed into the Major Leagues. He hasn’t gone more than four innings in his two starts and actually only pitched 3 1/3 innings in his last outing against the San Diego Padres, allowing six earned runs. However, don’t let these numbers fool you, he could go out there today and shut down this Dodgers offense that has been shut down by a few rookies already this season.

Los Angeles Dodgers (47-39) at Arizona Diamondbacks (41-43)
Chris Capuano (9-3, 2.62) vs. Trevor Bauer (0-1, 9.82)
Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
1:10 p.m. PST, July 8, 2012
TV: Prime Ticket
Radio: 570 AM (English), 1020 AM (Spanish)
For more on the Diamondbacks, check out our pre-series article.

Keys to a Dodger victory:
– Give Cappy some run support
The Dodgers must give Capuano the run support that he has been looking for in his last couple of starts. Capuano usually gives the Dodgers at least six innings of quality work with no more than two runs allowed, and the offense must take advantage of this. Let’s be honest, one the worst offenses in baseball, the San Diego Padres scored six runs in just over three innings against Bauer in his last start, so if the Dodgers don’t get at least four against him today I will no longer roast them in my “Around the NL West” articles. Well actually I’ll stop for just a week, it’s too much fun.

– Bauer Outage
It’s his Twitter handle, but in this case, could be the Dodgers’ key to victory. Trevor will be good, but as mentioned before, he isn’t there yet. His high K/9 is scary to look at, especially with given that it’s Sunday, or in other words, giveaway day. But, through the warm weather, Bauer may struggle to see his pitches break, which will be music to the ears of the Dodgers bats.

Prediction: Dodgers 6 Diamondbacks 2