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Giants at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Jose Peraza, 2B
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Scott Van Slyke, RF
Justin Ruggiano, LF
A.J. Ellis, C
Zack Greinke, P
Joc Pederson, CF

By Jon Weisman

Tonight, Justin Ruggiano plays his first game for the Dodgers, more than 11 years after they drafted him. His reward — a Los Angeles debut against Madison Bumgarner.

In trying to find a winning combination against Bumgarner, who is undefeated against the Dodgers this year, the outfield has been is a bit of a riddle. Though there has been occasional on-base success, no Dodger outfielder has a run or an RBI against the Giants ace in 2015:

  • Andre Ethier, 1 for 1
  • Alex Guerrero, 1 for 7
  • Chris Heisey, 0 for 2 with a walk
  • Kiké Hernandez, 2 for 4 (one double)
  • Joc Pederson, 1 for 6 (double)
  • Yasiel Puig, 1 for 3 with a walk
  • Scott Van Slyke, 3 for 10

Hernandez and Puig, of course, are on the disabled list. Guerrero did hit a two-run home run off Bumgarner as a pinch-hitter, but is 6 for 49 with no walks since July 1.

And while Ethier has emerged as the Dodgers most productive outfielder, that has become almost exclusively against right-handed pitching. He has a .515 OPS vs. lefties this year, and has not OPSed above .650 against southpaws since 2008.
Ruggiano milb
Will Ruggiano do any better? Well, hitting lefties is his calling card — an .835 OPS in 488 career plate appearances, including .823 for Seattle in 43 plate appearances this season.

In nearly the smallest of sample sizes, Ruggiano (pictured at right with the Dodgers’ Double-A team in Jacksonville in 2006) has thrived against Bumgarner, with a single, homer and two walks — along with one precious “reached on catcher’s interference” — in six plate appearances.

Another right-handed hitter Don Mattingly likes against Bumgarner? Zack Greinke. This is the second time this year that Mattingly is batting his starting pitcher eighth, but the first time that he means business with it. Yimi Garcia batted eighth July 6 in a game the Dodgers knew they would use a pinch-hitter for him.

Greinke is 0 for 2 lifetime against Bumgarner, and has a .629 lifetime OPS against lefties. Don’t expect miracles: As Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. noted, though this is a matchup of the past two Silver Slugger winners, neither has allowed a single hit to a pitcher in 2015.

If anything, the Dodgers need to worry about Bumgarner, who is also batting eighth. Bumgarner has five home runs and an .810 OPS in what is the greatest hitting season for a pitcher since Carlos Zambrano in 2011.