The Dodgers have lost their last five road series, dating back to last season. During that span, they are 4-11 on the road (plus 1-3 away from Dodger Stadium in the playoffs). The last road series they won was in Washington DC, where the club begins a three-game series tonight.
The team will be without Manny Ramirez, who was placed on the disabled list with a right calf injury, per Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times. Xavier Paul -- wearing number 30 -- was recalled from Triple A Albuqerque to take his spot on the roster. Paul was tearing up the Pacific Coast League, hitting .361/.409/.574 with 18 runs scored in 15 games. Manny, whose first game missed during his 50-game suspension last season was also against the Nationals, was off to a hot start, hitting .415/.500/.659 with 12 RBI in 13 games.
Since they are a sporting bunch, the Nationals have countered the Manny injury by having Ryan Zimmerman sit out his second straight game with a right hamstring injury.
Sure, the pitching and defense has been awful in the first 15 games, but I found this note interesting: in the first 15 games of 2009, Dodger starting pitchers threw a grand total of 83 1/3 innings, just one more than this year's starting group. So it's not necessarily that the starters need to pitch longer -- even though they probably should -- but rather they just need to pitch better.
Getting his chance to pitch better tonight is Charlie Haeger, coming off his three-inning start Saturday against the Giants. Luis Atilano, a supplemental first round draft pick of the Braves in 2003, will be making his major league debut for the Nationals.
Xeifrank's simulation of today's game is here.
Game Time: 4:05pm