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Series Preview: Brewers (27-17) at Dodgers (25-19)

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Most people would look at this series and see the battle between two division leaders, maybe even a possible postseason preview in May.  I, on the other hand, see the contest between the suckingest third base combos in the game.

You don't need me to tell you how bad Counsellino has been (though in case you forgot: 217/325/283), but you might not realize how awful their Dodgers counterparts are: 191/328/270.  That's mostly due to the complete ineptitude of Wilson Betemit, which led to Grady Little playing Ramon Martinez, who is worse still.  Now Andy LaRoche is cutting into their playing time, which means Craig and Tony might reclaim their throne as league's worst any day now.

Okay, enough talk about that; here are the pitching matchups:

The Dodgers' staff has been excellent this year: Tomko is the only regular with a worse-than-average ERA, and that includes Mark Hendrickson, who wasn't even supposed to be in the rotation.  (Jason Schmidt is hurt, which hasn't slowed this team down at all.)  The bullpen is better still: Takashi Saito and Jonathan Broxton might be the only 1-2 punch in the game that gives Cordero and good Turnbow a run for their money.

It's the offense that's been problematic.  Rafael Furcal has heated up of late, which is a darn good thing because something has to counteract the out-making machine that is Juan Pierre.  Only two starters are slugging better than .450, including Russell Martin, probably one of the more unheralded talents in the game, with a .392 OBP to go along with the power.  So, the division-leading Dodgers are in the bottom half of league offenses.  And before you remind me that Dodger Stadium has something to do with that: Dodger Stadium has actually been a neutral (or close) offensive environment the last few years.

Some extracurricular activities:

  • True Blue LA has fun with the small sample size, forecasting ineptitude from Nomar Garciaparra and amazing home run prevention from the staff.

  • 6-4-2  recaps the final game of the LA interleague series and wonders why Martin is buried so low in the order.

  • Dodger Thoughts takes a look at Andy LaRoche's walks: there's something to be excited about coming from LA third basemen.
I'd like to take this opportunity to officially complain about these games being on the west coast when I'm on the east coast.  As much as I love my Brewers, am I really going to be watching Cordero nail these down well after midnight?  Well...maybe.  Or perhaps I'll just get up early and watch the archived games on MLB.tv.