Saturday, April 16, 2016

Kazmir, Cueto eye bounceback efforts in LA

Two big offseason acquisitions will square off Saturday with both looking to improve on disappointing performances last week in San Francisco. Johnny Cueto and Scott Kazmir allowed six earned runs each last Sunday at AT&T Park as the Giants won, 9-6.
While the runs allowed were identical, the two pitchers had very different outings. Five of the first six batters to face Cueto ended up reaching home plate, but it was much smoother for the Giants right-handed from there. He eventually threw seven innings and only gave up one run for the rest of the outing.
Kazmir took the mound with a five-run lead and a seemingly simple job for the Dodgers, but the Giants scored runs in three of his four innings pitched. While he was taken out with game tied, the Dodgers' bullpen gave up three runs in the sixth.
Three things about this game
• Both teams will enter the game with an extra reliever and a short bench after the Dodgers optioned catcher/infielder Austin Barnes and reinstated right-handed pitcher Chris Hatcher on Friday. The Giants had opened the season with a similar roster composition and have stayed that way since, even after a flurry of roster moves Friday.
• Kazmir sported a strong platoon split against left-handers last season, holding them to a .645 OPS, but that hasn't helped him against Giants first baseman Brandon Belt, who is 4-for-8 with three home runs against him.
• Cueto has a problem of his own on the Dodgers, as Chase Utley carries an 11-for-27 line with a 1.115 OPS against the right-hander.

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