Dodgers @ Giants July 25, 2014: Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez Return

Dodgers
Giants
07:15 p.m. PT
San Francisco, Ca.
2B
Gordon
RF
Pence
CF
Puig
CF
Blanco
1B
Gonzalez
1B
Posey
SS
Ramirez
3B
Sandoval
LF
Crawford
LF
Morse
RF
Kemp
SS
Crawford
3B
Uribe
2B
Uggla
C
Ellis
C
Sanchez
P
Greinke (R)
P
Lincecum (R)

Mike already did a better job than I could setting up this important series against the Giants, so let’s get right into the news. As you can see on the right, both Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig are back in the lineup. Ramirez was hit on the hand on Sunday night and missed all three games in Pittsburgh. His presence in the lineup was missed, and is returning just in time.

Yasiel Puig is back, too. He had one pinch hit plate appearance and one defensive inning against the Pirates. That defensive inning, along with Puig’s starting position tonight, is center field. I actually don’t hate the move. Puig does not belong in center long-term, but neither does anybody else on the roster. Short of calling up Joc Pederson (who hit a game-winning grand slam for the Isotopes yesterday), this seems like the most effective patchwork. Can you really argue that Puig is going to be worse at center than Scott Van Slyke, who seems like the best they’ve tried there so far? It’s worth a shot.

One of the main concerns caused by Puig in center is “he has twice as many outfielders to run over,” but at least if he does the Dodgers have more than enough options to replace them. Still, AT&T Park is a big outfield to learn a new position in. At least it will be interesting to watch. Oh, and if you’re wondering if Don Mattingly is as sick of this situation as we are?

Looking ahead, Dan Haren‘s next start will be skipped, as we expected. Erisbel Arruebarrena is on his way back as well, starting a rehab assignment in Albuquerque tonight. He’ll join Chone Figgins, who has to be pretty close to ready at this point.

Tonight’s Giant starter is Tim Lincecum. His last start against the Dodgers was, annoyingly, one of his only good ones of the first month of the season. He went five innings, allowed one run (a home run by Juan Uribe) while striking out five batters and walking none. The Giants tied the game against Kenley Jansen in the bottom of the ninth inning, then won it against Brandon League in the 12th. It was definitely one of the more painful and frustrating Dodger losses of the year.

Recently, though, Lincecum is almost a different pitcher. Ben Lindbergh has a great profile on Lincecum’s improvements over on Grantland. Lincecum is actually preventing runs at a rate similar to his what his FIP and xFIP predicted over the last two seasons. Compared to where he was at the start of the year (after a horrible June 3rd start against the Reds, his ERA was 5.01) that’s a pretty huge improvement.

The article goes on to examine Lincecum’s command, which includes a unique look at Command F/X, which is not available to the public. The system tracks where a catcher wants a ball against where the pitcher actually throws it. Did you know that an average fastball misses its intended target by over a foot? I didn’t. That tiny glimpse at normally proprietary data makes me want to see even more, but at least it’s a rare look into information the general public does not get to see. Even if it’s about a rival, the article is definitely worth reading.

ThrowsRelieverSat 10/15Sun 10/16Mon 10/17Tue 10/18Wed 10/19Thur 10/20Fri 10/21
LAvilan--OFF-2421OFF
RBaez34-OFF-2727OFF
RBlanton28-OFF13-19OFF
LDayton3-OFF16-12OFF
RFields--OFF-910OFF
RJansen-18OFF21--OFF
RStripling10-OFF-2018OFF
LWood--OFF-32-OFF

About Daniel Brim

Daniel Brim
Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn't live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.