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Dodgers Seek Different Result Against Cardinals In Game Two

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Casey Blake has struggled against right-handers of late, but he has hit lefties well all season.
Casey Blake has struggled against right-handers of late, but he has hit lefties well all season.

It seems that when facing the Cardinals, there is always a quality starter on the mound, and tonight is no different. Jaime Garcia underwent Tommy John surgery after the 2008 season, but the 24-year old (he had a birthday last Thursday) is having a fine rookie season so far. He is 8-4 with a 2.17 ERA, 3.30 FIP, and 3.76 xFIP. The Dodgers missed his turn in the rotation last month in Los Angeles, but back in 2008 Garcia did get his first major league win against the Dodgers, pitching a scoreless 11th inning in a game won by a Ryan Ludwick walk-off home run.

The starter that night for the Dodgers was Chad Billingsley, who allowed just one run in five innings but was removed after a 43-minute rain delay before the sixth inning. Billingsley since his return from the disabled list this season has allowed seven runs in 19 innings for a 3.32 ERA, and the Dodgers have won all three of his starts.

Tonight is Billingsley's 117th career start, and he turns 26 on July 29. He will have the seventh-most starts by a Los Angeles Dodger before their 26th birthday:

Most LA Dodgers Starts Before Age 26
Pitcher Years Starts
Fernando Valenzuela   
1981-1986 200
Don Sutton 1966-1970 175
Don Drysdale 1958-1962 161
Ramon Martinez 1988-1993 144
Ismael Valdes 1994-1999 143
Stan Williams 1958-1962 128
Chad Billingsley 2006-2010 116
Bob Welch 1978-1982 116
Source: Baseball-Reference.com

It should be noted that Drysdale also started 41 games in Brooklyn.

Struggling Beard

Since the beginning of June, Casey Blake is hitting .185/.267/.272 against right-handers with three extra-base hits in 91 plate appearances. This month, he has just three hits in 29 at-bats against righties. However, he is hitting .300/.386/.443 against southpaws this season, and Garcia is a left-hander.

I Did Not Know That

From today's Dodgers game notes: "Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda was the keynote speaker this afternoon at the St. Louis Browns Historical Society. Lasorda played for the Browns during spring training in 1953 before rejoining the Dodgers that year."

Notes

  • Last night was the 35th game (out of 89) that all three of Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier have started in the same game. When all three start in the outfield, the Dodgers are 18-11 this season
  • Rafael Furcal in his career is hitting .339/.378/.435 against the Cardinals, and has the second highest batting average against St. Louis among active players, behind only St. Louis native Ryan Howard, who is hitting .367 against the Cardinals
  • With two hits last night, Ethier overtook Martin Prado for the National League lead with a .326 batting average
  • James McDonald has been scratched from his Friday start in Albuquerque, and is in line to start Monday, per Tony Jackson of ESPN Los Angeles.

Get your guesses in for Xeifrank's game simulation here.

Game Time: 5:15 p.m.

TV:  Prime Ticket

Baseball Reference Preview | Box Score | Gameday