The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants are archrivals, but the struggling NL West teams are both in better frames of mind heading into the opener of their three-game series Friday night at AT&T Park.
Both the Dodgers (1-2) and Giants (1-2) avoided opening the season on the wrong end of three-game sweeps with victories over the Milwaukee and San Diego, respectively.
“It’s the same with the ballclub as it is with guys like Juan Pierre and Luis Gonzalez, anybody starting out a season as a player,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said. “It’s a tough time, it’s tough getting that first hit out of the way, but once that first hit is out of the way, things kind of start falling into place for them.”
Gonzalez is 3-for-15 with five strikeouts while Pierre is 3-for-8 against Giants scheduled starter Noah Lowry, who is hoping to rebound from a dismal stretch run in 2006 that contributed to a 7-10 record.
The left-hander was 0-3 with a 10.72 ERA in his final five starts, giving up 28 runs and 33 hits in 22 2-3 innings. Lowry, though, is 2-0 with a 2.98 ERA in seven starts and nine appearances against the Dodgers, including one win with a 4.56 ERA in four starts in 2006 versus them.
After a dominant first half but a poor second half last year, Brad Penny is hoping to extend that to a full season.
The right-hander had a career-high 16 wins last year but only went 6-7 with a 6.25 ERA after the All-Star break. He earned a spot on the National League roster by going 10-2 with a 2.91 ERA in his first 18 starts.
Penny is 2-2 with a 3.75 ERA in 12 starts and 13 lifetime appearances versus the Giants, including a 1-2 mark and 4.79 ERA in seven starts at AT&T Park.
The Giants earned their first win of the season, beating San Diego 5-3 win Thursday night to avoid their first 0-3 start in 23 years. Barry Bonds had an RBI double in the first inning and scored in a four-run fourth inning for San Francisco as first-year manager Bruce Bochy avoided a sweep at the hands of his former team.
“It’s good to get on the board, believe me,” Bochy said, a celebratory beer open on his desk and the lineup card tucked away for safekeeping. “The last thing we wanted to do is open up this thing getting swept.”
Bonds, showing few if any ill-effects from the knee injuries that have plagued him the past two seasons, has hit safely in all three games thus far with one homer and two RBIs in 10 at-bats. He’s 6-for-20 with three homers, four RBIs and four walks lifetime against Penny.
He also is hitting .268 with 63 homers and 151 RBIs in 260 games versus Los Angeles, and the 76 intentional walks issued by Dodgers pitchers are the most by any team.
Giants third baseman Pedro Feliz, who was given Thursday off by Bochy, is hitting just .196 (50-for-255) with 10 homers and 37 RBIs lifetime against the Dodgers. He is 3-for-25 versus Penny.