Dodgers at Giants, 7:15PM PT, TV: SPNLA
The end of July is probably a little early to be declaring a series crucial, but this one feels important because the Giants and Dodgers have been trading first place between them for the past three weeks or so, with the largest margin no greater than the two games it was before the Giants lost to the Phillies yesterday. In light of that, the Dodgers set their rotation early; it will be their top three starters Greinke, Kershaw and Ryu to face the back end of the Giants’ rotation: Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong and Yusmeiro Petit.
Notes: Puig may start tonight. He took extra BP Wednesday. Ramirez is probably not going to start until later in the series, if at all. The Giants have won 7 of the 10 games the two ancient rivals have played so far this season. The Sunday game will be televised on ESPN at 8:07PM ET.
Lineup when available.
Pffft. Ramirez is starting and hitting cleanup, despite what I said above. I based that on his not taking any batting practice, unlike Puig. Thanks, Don!
Dodgers at Pirates, 4:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA
Josh Beckett has come off the 15-day DL and will pitch tonight, no matter that his hip has a torn labrum and two cysts. He’s making a bid for the National League’s Comeback Player of the Year with a record of 6-5 (okay, not real impressive) and an ERA of 2.26 (very impressive) and his first career no-hitter. He’ll face Vance Worley, who is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA. Worley started off in the Pirates’ rotation in June with three good starts, but he’s gotten out of whack in his last three appearances: his ERA in those games is 5.79 and opponents hit .298 over that stretch.
Puig and Ramirez each had follow-up X-rays on their hands yesterday and they came back negative, showing no breaks. The speculation is that Puig is closer to returning than Ramirez.
Lineup when available.
Dodgers at Pirates, 4:05PM PT, TV: SPNLA
Hyun-Jin Ryu brings his 10-5, 3.44 ERA record to bear against the Buccos and Edinson Volquez, who threw a complete game his last start and is 8-6 with a 3.65 ERA on the year.
Ryu had better hope the Dodgers’ offense comes to life. They’ve scored 16 runs in their last eight games; it’s asking too much of the pitchers to hold the opposition to only one run. They may have to do without Yasiel Puig in the lineup and without Hanley Ramirez as well. Puig’s hand will be x-rayed today in Pittsburgh to see whether the original x-ray in St. Louis Saturday night correctly showed no structural damage. Ramirez was hit twice in yesterday’s game, but it’s the second one that’s worrisome: that got him on the hand.
Lineup when available.
Ayup. No Ramirez, no Puig. Thank you, St. Louis pitchers!
Padres at Dodgers, 1:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FSSD
Hyun-Jin Ryu had a horrid start his last time out. Staked to a five-run lead against Justin Verlander and the Tigers, he promptly gave up that lead and two more runs besides in 2 1/3 innings. That performance was a shock, because he’s been so good this season. He’s lasted at least six innings in 13 of his 17 starts this year, going 9-5 with a 3.65 ERA.
He’ll face Tyson Ross, who’s 7-9 with a 2.93 ERA on the season. He’s gotten no help from his teammates — in four of his five June starts, Ross received just one run of support while he was on the mound and he took the loss in each. Ross is San Diego’s only All-Star Game representative, by the way.
Carl Crawford has been working out in center field, while Justin Turner starts a rehab assignment at Rancho Cucamonga today.
Padres at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FSSD
Clayton Kershaw brings his 36-scoreless-inning streak to the game against rookie Odrisamer Despaigne, who’s 2-0 with an impressive 0.92 ERA and this feat: he’s the first pitcher in club history to throw at least six innings and allow no more than one run in each of his first three career starts.
Carl Crawford has been activated from the DL and Clint Robinson has been sent to Albuquerque to make room for him.
News of the day: the Dodgers have placed Josh Beckett on the 15-day DL. By doing it now he may only miss one start. Pedro Baez has been called up from the Isotopes to fill Beckett’s roster spot.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies may ask for a trade to a contender, but not until after this season is done. Rosenthal thinks there’s no way Colorado’s GM would trade him within the division, so even though the Dodgers would love to replace the older and often-banged up Hanley Ramirez, it seems unlikely to him.
Dodgers at Tigers, 4:08PM PT, TV: SPNLA, MLBN
Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-4, 3.08 ERA) will pitch for the Dodgers. The Tigers send out Justin Verlander, who’s having a very un-Verlander-like season: 7-7 with a 4.71 ERA. Given this: “Verlander is 22-2 with a 2.56 ERA in his career against National League teams,” one hopes his poor luck this year continues for today.
Dodgers at Rockies, 1:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA
Josh Beckett v. Yohan Flande. We all know about the season Josh Beckett is having (5-5, 2.37 ERA, and it should have several more wins than that). Mr. Flande is a rookie whose appearance today will be his third in the major leagues. He’s 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA.
Carl Crawford is beginning a rehab assignment in Albuquerque this weekend.
Dodgers at Rockies, 5:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, MLBN
The Dodgers send Ace 1B out today as Zack Greinke takes the hill with a 10-4 record and 2.78 ERA. The Rockies pitch former bullpen denizen Franklin Morales, who’s 4-4 on the season with a 5.75 ERA. He’s starting because the Rockies’ rotation has been hit with injuries.
The Dodgers have improved their record at home: they went 13-19 in their first 32 home games through June 4, and they’ve gone 9-4 in their last 13.
Via Twitter, the Dodgers have recalled Erisbel Arruebarrena and optioned Carlos Triunfel back to Albuquerque. They’re still mulling what to do with Hanley Ramirez and his sore shoulder and leg.
Today’s the last day of All-Star Game voting. Have you pushed the button for Puig yet?
Indians at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA
Josh Beckett, who’s 5-4 with a 2.11 ERA, pitches for the Dodgers and Justin Masterson, who’s 4-5 with a 5.03 ERA, pitches for the Tribe.
“The Indians have been shut out for 21 consecutive innings, during which the offense has gone a combined 3-for-63.” You could look at that one of two ways: either the futility will last forever or the team is overdue to break out.
Ramirez is still sore but the team is hoping he can avoid going on the DL.
Indians at Dodgers, 7:10PM, PT, TV: SPNLA
The Dodgers put their trust in Dan Haren, 7-4 with a 3.83 ERA. He’s given up 14 home runs in his last nine starts, which isn’t good. The Indians counter with Corey Kluber, a right-hander who is 7-5 with a 3.09 ERA.
“Monday’s series opener marks just the seventh time the Tribe has played the Dodgers. Cleveland is 2-4 in the overall series but went 2-1 in Dodger Stadium in 2008.” Well, I don’t want to remember that 1920 World Series either.
The Dodgers put Justin Turner on the 15-day DL with a hamstring injury and called up Carlos Triunfel from Albuquerque. This is Triunfel’s second trip to the big club this season; he was 2-for-7 in seven games with the Dodgers earlier in June. He was hitting .210 for the Isotopes.
Lineup when available.