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

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