Here are some pregame notes for tonight's game:
- Joe Torre praised the toughness of Hiroki Kuroda, who will make the start tonight just three weeks after getting hit in the head by a line drive, noting he is mentally ready for the challenge of returning to the hill.
- Torre said he didn't expect Ronnie Belliard to play as much as he has so far. Ideally, Torre wanted to give Hudson a couple of days off, but with Casey Blake's sore hamstring Belliard has played more than expected. Tonight is Belliard's fifth straight start, and Torre praised his aggressiveness with the bat. As a Dodger, Belliard is hitting .316/.350/.526 in 20 plate appearances.
- Torre said Casey Blake is "about the same" as yesterday, and that he is still having some trouble bending over while fielding, and of course running is still a problem with his strained left hamstring.
- Matt Kemp is just getting a day off today, and Juan Pierre is starting in centerfield.
- Torre praised last night's winning pitcher, Randy Wolf, calling him "terrific" and saying Wolf has been about as good as can be expected. Wolf leads the club in starts (30), innings pitched (190) and WHIP (1.095), and the club is 19-11 when Wolf starts this year.
- The members of the current six-man Dodger starting pitching rotation are all okay with the plan, at least on the surface, as Torre noted they all respect one another. The pitching rotation for the upcoming week is set as Vicente Padilla, Chad Billingsley, Jon Garland, Randy Wolf, Clayton Kershaw, and Hiroki Kuroda, in that order, in Arizona and San Francisco.
- Torre expects the starting pitching rotation for the playoffs will depend on matchups, but has not yet decided on an order.
- Torre is very happy with his bench, especially Jim Thome. Torre called Thome a big threat and a huge factor off the bench in the late innings, who could change the game with one swing. Torre noted that outside of having a bench with all switch hitters, this is about as ideal a bench as he's ever had.
- Despite the travel after tonight's game and the quick turnaround with a day game in Arizona tomorrow, Torre doesn't expect the regular lineup to be affected, noting that playing indoors in the Phoenix heat makes it a much more bearable experience. Of course, if tonight's game runs long, that could have some effects on tomorrow's 12:40pm start.
Tim Stauffer, tonight's starting pitcher for the Padres, had a string of five straight starts pitching exactly five innings in August before pitching 6.2 innings on Monday, allowing only one run in a win over the Nationals.
Be sure to check out Xeifrank's simulation of today's game here.
Get your guesses in for our today's "One, Two, Three Strikes, You're Out," here.
Game Time: 5:10pm