Larry Ness' 10* LEGEND Play (signature release!): Larry features two "signature releases," a 28-Club Play (represents his 28 years in the business) and a LEGEND Play. His LEGEND Plays were previously available to only his private clients but Larry's been making them available on the net since 2005. He doesn't offer many and this marks his first of MLB 2012. BE THERE!
Game: San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers Apr 14 2012 9:10PM
Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers
Grade: Winner (100)
Reason: My 10* LEGEND Play is on the LA Dodgers at 9:10 ET.
The 2012 Dodgers have opened the season like a team worth its $2 billion price tag! Los Angeles improved to 4-1 against San Diego this season by winning its fourth straight overall (swept the Pirates in a three-game series to begin the week), 9-8. The 7-1 Dodgers relied on their pitching staff to beat the Pirates 2-1, 4-1 and 3-2 but last night had back-to-back four run innings (3rd & 4th) before Andre Ethier forced in the winning run when he took a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk in the ninth. Aaron Harang recorded a team-record nine straight strikeouts at one point but also allowed four runs (all earned) in 6.1 innings (had 13 Ks for the game) and four relievers combined to allow four more runs (all earned) in just 2.2 innings. It was NOT a good effort from the LA staff, despite it combining for 18 Ks! The Padres, who also struck out 13 times in a 3-1 Thursday loss to Arizona, enter this game batting .190 as a team (only the Pirates are worse at .178) and have opened 2-6. The situation doesnít figure to improve tonight for San Diego, as the Padres will send Joe Wieland to the mound to make his major league debut. He was one of two prospects obtained from Texas for reliever Mike Adams at last July's trade deadline, Wieland went 13-4 with a 1.97 ERA in 26 minor league appearances in 2011 but was winless in five spring appearances for San Diego. Getting the nod for the Dodgers is veteran left-hander Ted Lilly. Lilly came to LA in a trade with the Cubs in 2010 and finished that season 7-4 with a 3.52 ERA in 12 starts (LA was 7-5). He was expected to thrive here in LA but was a disappointing 12-14 with a 3.97 ERA in 33 starts (team was 16-17) last year. However, let me note that Lilly did allow just 172 hits in 192.2 innings. His record should have been better. This marks Lillyís 2012 debut, as he opened this season on the disabled list with recurring neck stiffness. He struggled in his rehab start, allowing seven runs in six innings last Sunday, but the Dodgers don't appear concerned. "I'm not worried about it," manager Don Mattingly told the team's official website. "Really, it's just to get his work in and to make sure he's healthy." Hereís why LA is NOT concerned (nor am I). Lilly is 10-4 with 2.68 ERA in 16 career starts vs the Padres (teams are 11-5) and that includes a 4-1 record with a 1.89 ERA last season (he won all three of his home starts vs San Diego in 2011). The Padres were 19-30 vs all lefties last season, averaging a woeful 3.4 RPG and went 4-14 against lefties in road night games last year. As mentioned, the Padres have struck out 13 and 18 times in their last two games, are batting .190 as a team on the season and with last nightís loss to the Dodgers, have lost SEVEN straight at Chavez Ravine. Make it EIGHT straight after tonight!