I'm not sure if you heard this or not, but the Dodgers are adding a player tonight after a long absence, followed by rehabilitation games in the minors. Yes, Claudio Vargas has been activated for tonight's game in San Diego, giving the Dodgers 13 pitchers to start their nine-game road trip. Since fifth starter Eric Milton won't be needed until Saturday, July 11, the Dodger bullpen is effectively nine deep.
The Dodgers also welcome back Manny Ramirez, who will start in left field for the first time since May 6. Who knows what to expect from him at the plate? Did he get his timing back in his minor league rehabilitation games, or will Manny be rusty out of the gate? For what its worth, Manny does currently have a streak of nine straight games reaching base.
Manny will face Padres' starting pitcher Chad Gaudin, the reigning co-Player of the Week in the NL. Gaudin has been great of late, allowing two runs over 15 innings in his last two starts, including a one-hitter over eight innings in Texas, the start which garnered him the MLB honors. Manny Ramirez is five for 11 with two home runs lifetime against Gaudin.
Hiroki Kuroda takes the mound for the Dodgers, returning to the site of his MLB debut. I was in the stands at Petco on that night, as Kuroda was brilliant, allowing one run and three hits in seven innings. He has pitched well despite his 2-4 record, striking out more (7.3 per 9 IP) and walking less (1.5 BB/9) on his way to an expected Fielding Independent Pitching (x-FIP) of 3.25.
Game time is 7:05. See you there (Section 227, rows 10-14).
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