Hometown boy Jon Garland makes his Dodger debut tonight, starting against his most recent teammates. I wonder how often signs and signals need to be changed when someone gets traded, especially when he goes directly to the current opponent.
Since the beginning of June, Garland has pitched well, much better than his 4-7 record. He has pitched at least six innings in 16 of his last 17 starts, averaging 6.53 innings per start while putting up a 3.56 ERA and 4.16 FIP during that span.
Garland was originally scheduled to start tonight for Arizona, that is before he was traded to the Dodgers Monday night. Starting in his place for the Diamondbacks is Billy Buckner. Buckner hasn't pitched in the majors since June 26. He was sent to the minors after four bad starts, allowing 26 runs in 18.1 innings, but his last good major league start was at Dodger Stadium on June 1, when Buckner beat the Dodgers with six shutout innings. With Triple A Reno, Buckner was was 7-1 over 11 starts after his demotion, with a 3.15 ERA and 8.44 strikeouts per nine innings.
Buckner told the Arizona Republic a reason for his success in Triple A was the development of a cut fastball. The last time a player got called up to make a start against the Dodgers after raving about a new pitch learned in the minors was Matt Maloney of the Reds, who was battered around on Saturday afternoon.
New Dodger pinch hitter extraordinaire Jim Thome has a balky back, which is why he really can't play first base. However, he's not the only one this series suffering from back issues. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tells the tale of Arizona catcher Chris Snyder, who went on the disabled list over the weekend with a lower back inflammation, and the concerns over a player signed through 2011 after suffering a down year. If Russell Martin himself doesn't provide enough of a cautionary tale of the risks of signing young catchers to a long-term deal, Chris Snyder just might be Exhibit B.
Here are tonight's lineups:
Check out Xeifrank's simulation of today's game here.
Don't forget to RSVP for True Blue LA Day at Dodger Stadium, on the next-to-last day of the regular season, October 3 against the Rockies.
Get your guesses in for our today's "One, Two, Three Strikes, You're Out," here.
Game Time: 7:10pm
TV: Prime Ticket