Monday, June 15, 2009

A's / Dodgers, Series Preview

Defense: Not much difference between these two teams when it comes to defense. The A's come in with the MLB's 10th ranked defense (UZR) and the Dodgers come in ranked 15th. Light hitting third baseman, Jack Hanrahan leads the A's defense and Rajai Davis (mostly for his arm) and Matt Holliday (mostly for his range) lead a slick fielding outfield. Meanwhile the Dodgers defense is buoyed by CF Matt Kemp who is having a spectacular season in the field, and SS Rafael Furcal and his cannon arm.

Offense: Even though their offense has seen some recent regression to the mean, the Dodgers still rank 6th overall. At the other end of the spectrum you find the A's offense. If their offense was a rocket, it would be buried deep underground in a bunker somewhere and the launch codes would be lost. Out of site and out of mind. The A's offense ranks dead last, an amazing 53.2 runs below average.

Starting Pitching: The Dodgers pitching staff gets a slight edge over the A's staff. The toughest starter the Dodgers will face will be LHP Dallas Braden (FIP: 3.52, K/9: 6.0, HR/9: 0.67). Braden has pitched atleast 7 innings in four of his last five starts. Josh Outman (FIP: 4.14, BABIP: .245, HR/9: 1.1, K/9 7.26) has been very hittable this year but tends to bail himself out statistically with a decent strike-out rate. A's rookie, Vince Mazzaro who has thrown 19-2/3rds innings in three starts has pitched well but has been surviving in the minors and pro ball off of the lack of HRs he has given up.

Relief Pitching: Both the Dodgers and A's have had very good relief pitching. The Dodgers have arguably the best relief pitcher in all of baseball in Jonathan Broxton. The A's on the otherhand are not a top heavy bullpen. Anyone in their bullpen is completely capable of shutting the door on an opposing teams rally, as long as their name is not Santiago Casilla (FIP: 6.54, HR/9: 2.08, BB/9: 5.82).

Notes of Interest: The A's already weak offense will now have to bat a pitcher. In their previous three road interleague games, the A's scored a total of three runs against the Giants. Amazingly, the A's only have three players hitting above league average and they are Adam Kennedy, Matt Holliday and Jack Cust. This is about as perfect an opportunity as any for Dodger starting pitching to fatten up their numbers.

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