Friday, September 7, 2012
Dodgers arrive to less heat but more energy
By Mark Saxon
SAN FRANCISCO -- When the Los Angeles Dodgers came out for batting practice, the players and coaches were bundled up in warm-up jackets and hoodies.
Despite the chill, with temperatures in the 50s, these games against the San Francisco Giants should have an electric atmosphere. It could either jolt the Dodgers back into the race or knock them out of it.
Andre Ethier is accustomed to hearing a relentless stream of insults from the section of seats at AT&T Park that pinches in near the right-field corner. Over the years, he has learned to cope with it in one of two ways: laugh it off or ignore it.
"I'm more worried about catching pop-ups in this wind than what anybody's yelling at me," Ethier said.
The Dodgers arrived Thursday afternoon in San Francisco, where temperatures were about 30 degrees cooler than in Los Angeles. Fans are showing up early, bundled in orange and black pullovers and jackets. The Giants, with a 4 1/2 lead going into this series, sense their rival is in a vulnerable position.
"This is probably the rowdiest West Coast ballpark, so this is a good place to play, a fun place, a lot of energy," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
Asked if it was rowdier than Dodger Stadium, he said, "Is it rowdier? Oh yeah, definitely. This is a different crowd, for sure."
Mark Ellis saw something of Giants' fans hostility when he played for the Oakland A's. He said it's more intense since he's become a Dodger.
"Without a doubt," Ellis said. "A lot more."
Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett, who is well acquainted with the East Coast's rowdiest rivalry, Red Sox-Yankees, was insulated from it in the early afternoon. At 4:30 p.m., he was walking around the visiting clubhouse in a sweatshirt, basketball shorts and shower shoes, listening to music through ear buds.
Mattingly stated the Dodgers goal here: win the series. If they're swept, their playoff chances likely would be in mortal danger, their division hopes all but dead. Mattingly said it's too much to expect to sweep the Giants, even though that's what they did last time they were here.
"We know where we're at," Mattingly said. "Obviously, it's a lot more importance for us than it is for them."
Here are lineups for Friday's game:
Mark Ellis 2B
Shane Victorino LF
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Matt Kemp CF
Hanley Ramirez SS
Andre Ethier RF
Adam Kennedy 3B
A.J. Ellis C
Josh Beckett P
Angel Pagan CF
Marco Scutaro 2B
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Buster Posey 1B
Hunter Pence RF
Brandon Belt LF
Hector Sanchez C
Brandon Crawford SS
Tim Lincecum P