Ted Lilly & Dodgers test of faith

Tommy Lasorda might stay awake Saturday with the ... twilight start. - Harry How

Lilly makes his first start for the Dodgers since Apr. 29.

After the Cardinals roughed up Chris Capuano on Friday night in what manager Don Mattingly called "a tough matchup," the Dodgers will send fellow southpaw Ted Lilly to the mound on Saturday afternoon.

Lilly returns from the disabled list to make his third start of the season, and cursory search of Twitter suggests a lack of confidence in the Dodgers' chances against St. Louis.

The Dodgers are 3-17 this season in games started by Josh Beckett, Chris Capuano, Ted Lilly, Matt Magill, and Stephen Fife, so they haven't gotten much out of the back half of their starting rotation. With Magill having trouble figuring out where the ball is going all season (27 walks in his 37 innings between the majors and minors, to go with his 42 strikeouts), the Dodgers turn to Lilly.

I could point out Lilly's history against the Cardinals, that he is 7-3 with a 2.66 ERA against St. Louis or that Yadier Molina is just 6-for-34 (.176) lifetime against him, but in the end those are old numbers and don't matter much.

The fact is, Lilly is a 37-year-old pitcher coming off shoulder surgery with trouble staying on the mound. He has made more minor league rehab starts this season (four) than major league starts (two). The Dodgers are hoping he's healthy and effective, like he was on Apr. 24 in New York. But there is a fine line that Lilly walks and if he is just a little off, like with a strained right rib cage on Apr. 29, the results can be disastrous.

The Dodgers offense will need to show up, and on Saturday they face John Gast, a left-hander making his third major league start. I haven't checked Twitter recently, but I'm guessing there is a similar amount of faith in the offense as there is in Lilly.

Game info

Time: 4:15 p.m.

TV: Fox

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