The Dodgers got quality starts in each of their first two games, and hope for a third today from Ted Lilly, who heads to the hill against Matt Cain and the Giants. Lilly had 22 quality starts last season, including 10 of his 12 starts as a Dodger. However, Lilly's only start as a Dodger in which he didn't pitch at least six innings came against the Giants on September 16, when he gave up six runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Lilly's battery mate today is Hector Gimenez, who is making the first start of his major league career.
Don Mattingly said before the game that he likes Gimenez batting left-handed against Matt Cain, and that Mattingly is comfortable with Gimenez behind the plate. "There have been times he has thrown the ball good, he's blocked good, and he hasn't done anything wrong," Mattingly said, also noting that the relative inexperience of Gimenez behind the plate isn't much of a factor because Lilly "pretty much calls his own game anyway."
You Down With OBP?
Mattingly acknowledged that the club doesn't have many hitters with a high on-base percentage, but the he is more concerned about improving the approach of the hitters he does have. "We don't talk about walking," Mattingly said. "It's really about what strikes are you swinging at. If you're going to try to hit that first pitch off [Ubaldo] Jimenez down in the corner [of the strike zone] at 98. We need to get guys like that more to the middle of the plate, to give our hitters a better chance."
- Juan Uribe is still battling swelling in his elbow, and his lineup status will be determined after batting practice. Aaron Miles will play today; at third base if Uribe sits, or at second base if Uribe plays. Ivan DeJesus, who Mattingly said "was a little amped" last night in his MLB debut, will start at second base if Uribe can't go.
- Rafael Furcal is getting a routine day off today; Jamey Carroll will start at shortstop
- Xavier Paul will get the start today, the third Dodger to start in left field in as many games.
- It hasn't yet been decided if Jonathan Broxton is available today to close if needed, but Mattingly said if Broxton wasn't available, his choice would depend on matchups, and that he is comfortable with Hong-Chih Kuo, Kenley Jansen, or Matt Guerrier if needed.
Jay Gibbons had eight at-bats in a minor league game yesterday, and he is seeing spin on the ball. Today is the final day of minor league games in Arizona, and the minor league schedule won't start until April 7, but there are still pitchers throwing in Glendale so Gibbons can get his work in.
- Mattingly is confident that Casey Blake can play the field right now, but Blake is using the minor league games to get at-bats. The earliest Blake can return is April 6, but Mattingly said a more realistic date for Blake is April 8, the opening game in San Diego against the Padres.
- While Blake won't need to play in any minor league rehabilitation games before being activated, Gibbons most likely will.
Game Time: 1:10 p.m.