The best-record-in-baseball Dodgers, first place in the NL West, tonight begin a three-game series at Dodger Stadium with the NL East-leading New York Mets. The Mets are in the middle of a ten-game road trip, which started by winning three of four games against the Giants.
Per the Dodger pregame notes, the Mets have the best record in the NL in May, at 12-4. The Dodgers are close behind with an 11-5 mark.
Jose Reyes, who sat out all four games in San Francisco over the weekend, appeared ready to return to the top of the Mets' lineup tonight, especially after his replacement, Old Friend Alex Cora, hurt his thumb sliding into second base Sunday night. However, Fernando "Mr. Grand Slam" Tatis will start at shortstop tonight instead. Tatis has played 14 major league innings at shortstop: eight in 1997 and six more last night after Cora got hurt.
In other Mets' injury news, first baseman Carlos Delgado will have surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip and will be out for a while, possibly after the All-Star break.
Tim Redding, who has given up seven home runs in 24.1 career innings against the Dodgers, makes his 2009 debut for the Mets.
#44 / Pitcher / New York Mets
Feb 12, 1978
Randy Wolf, who started four games as a 21-year old in Reading, Pennsylvania, toes the pitching rubber for the Dodgers, and has given up only one run in each of his last three starts.
#21 / Pitcher / Los Angeles Dodgers
Aug 22, 1976
Jason Schmidt was stretched to seven innings Sunday in San Bernardino in his second rehabilitation start with Inland Empire, says Kevin Baxter of the LA Times. Schmidt gave up two runs and five hits. Baxter noted that Schmidt "threw 99 pitches and displayed a biting curveball and good command despite walking three."
Perhaps my favorite stat of the year is that the Dodgers' leftfielders are hitting .393/.508/.641 with 36 runs and 31 RBI in 39 games.
Josh Rawitch gives us tonight's lineup at Inside the Dodgers:
Mr. Albert Clifford Slater himself, Mario Lopez, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch tonight.
Get your guesses in for "Just A Bit Outside" here.
Also, be sure to get your guesses in for the Russell Martin HR contest before the start of tonight's game (7:10pm).