We were one day away from having an epic Clayton-on-Clayton showdown today, but our Clayton won't pitch until Friday at home. The Dodgers instead will have to settle for handing the ball to their ace, Chad Billingsley, to face off against 25-year old White Sox lefty Clayton Richard.
Billingsley, who walked five batters in a no-decision Friday in Anaheim, has his second chance to tie Roy Halladay and Kevin Slowey for the major league lead with 10 wins. Billingsley is also just three strikeouts away from 500 in his career. He will become just the 12th Dodger with at least 500 strikeouts before his age 25 season (13th if you count Adrian Beltre's 503 batting strikeouts through age 24).
The Dodgers are 13-6 (.684) in day games this season. Then again, they are 34-19 (.642) in night games, so maybe they're just good. The Dodgers are 7-3 in "rubber games" this season, including winning their last four such games.
The Dodgers will give James Loney a day off today, as Mark Loretta will start at first base against the LHP Richard, says Bill Shaikin of the LA Times. Brad Ausmus will catch, and Russell Martin will be the designated hitter.
Here's a stat that should have been expected, but was still shocking to me when I saw it: Russell Martin has started 23 of the last 26 games, and over that span he has one RBI. That RBI came Saturday night in Anaheim when he knocked in himself. He has come to bat with 55 men on base (25 at first, 22 at second, 8 at third) in his last 92 plate appearances, and none have scored during Martin's time at the plate. The last time Martin drove in a teammate was on Memorial Day in Colorado, when he knocked in Dos Juans (Pierre and Castro) with a pair of singles.
Josh Fields, who hit two home runs while playing first base for Chicago Wednesday night, will start at third base today in place of rookie Gordon Beckham, says Adam Jahns of the Chicago Tribune.
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