Dodgers start Derek Lowe, RHP (11-12, 3.78) vs. Jason Marquis, RHP (11-8, 4.20).
Dodgers: 73-66 (3rd place NL West, 4.0 GB; T-2nd place WC, 3.0 GB; L1)
Cubs: 71-67 (1st place NL Central, 0.5 GA, W1)
Current postseason odds for the Dodgers, from Baseball Prospectus: 27.8%
From Dodgers.com, the scouting report on the starters:
Dodgers: Lowe got buried in the fifth inning of a huge game against the Padres, serving up a grand slam to Mike Cameron that barely cleared the fence. He left after 4 1/3 innings, charged with seven runs (six earned). He's allowed five home runs in his last two starts and the other one in San Diego, by Adrian Gonzalez, was a bomb.
Cubs: Marquis is coming off a win over the Astros in which he gave up two runs on five hits over 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander also struck out five, and with the exception of a home run by Luke Scott, he had good command, only walking one. With the addition of Steve Trachsel, the Cubs rotation is being tweaked, but Marquis will stay put. If he had his way, he'd be pitching every third day.
- The Dodgers could not take advantage of the Braves' gift comeback victory over the Phillies yesterday, and remain tied with the Phils (idle today) for second in the Wild Card race, behind San Diego. Only a win in today's series closer with the Cubs would keep us in second place in the Wild Card.
- Derek Lowe's implosion in his last start, after having given up the grand slam to Cameron, reiterated how fragile his psyche is on the mound. He needs to get out there and groove early, and the Dodgers' offense (with or without Russell Martin in the lineup) needs to get him some runs early. Otherwise, we'll see Roberto Hernandez on the mound again for the Dodgers--and we all know what that means.
- Let's just remind ourselves why Martin isn't playing. With the Dodgers up by four runs in the eighth inning Tuesday, Rich Donnelly's idiotic decision to send Martin home on a weak sacrifice fly led to Martin being out at home AND Martin tweaking his knee, keeping him out of the lineup last night. Rich Donnelly must be stopped--he's not only making bad decisions during the game, but he's also causing negative impacts for games beyond. If Martin isn't in today's lineup, someone needs to tie Donnelly to a concrete chair and take him out to Lake Michigan. With only 22 games to go, we can't afford mistakes like these again.
- Update 10:52a: The good news is that Martin is indeed in the lineup; we'll see how he plays. The bad news is that Gonzo is batting cleanup as Kent gets a day off (Abreu bats eighth and will play 2B). AND, Sons of Steve Garvey will be at the game today in Chicago. Don't tell us that we're not true Dodger fans.