Dodgers start Esteban Loaiza, RHP (2-0, 2.49) vs. Jake Peavy, RHP (16-6, 2.43).
Dodgers: 75-68 (3rd place NL West, 6.0 GB; 3rd place WC, 2.5 GB; L1)
Padres: 77-65 (2nd place NL West, 3.5 GB, 1st place WC, 1.5 GA; L1)
Current postseason odds for the Dodgers, from Baseball Prospectus: 21.5%
From Dodgers.com, the scouting report on the starters:
Dodgers: Loaiza wasn't overpowering in his debut, and he's not supposed to be, but he knew what to do with a lead and pitched seven innings in a win at Wrigley Field. Loaiza didn't have much of a fastball in the first inning, but the velocity increased and he kept the ball in the park while allowing three runs.
Padres: Pitching on three days' rest--a request he made in order to face Arizona--Peavy was thumped for eight runs in his shortest start (four innings) of the season as the D-backs knocked off the Padres, 9-6, at Chase Field on Sept. 5. Peavy missed on several close calls and the D-backs did a nice job in laying off several of those close pitches. He allowed two home runs in allowing the eight runs, tying the most he's allowed in his career. Peavy, a 16-game winner, is still considered the leading candidate to win the Cy Young Award. A victory over the Dodgers would certainly help him toward that end.
Twice failing to capitalize on the Padres' losses while playing a last-place team left the Dodgers excatly where they were on Friday--2.5 GB in the Wild Card race. Now the Dodgers go head-to-head against the Wild Card-leading Padres, and San Diego starts the three-game series by throwing its ace, Jake Peavy. We pitch waiver-wire claim Esteban Loiaza to see if his last outing, reasonably solid, was a fluke. Tonight's game is a lot to ask of Loiaza--but the Dodgers, now fighting the Padres, Phillies, and the clock, desperately need a strong performance tonight in order to kick off a successful homestand.
Tonight's lineup has Kemp sitting down; Kemp has never faced Peavy so I'm not sure what the thinking is there. Loney slots in at the three-hole in Kemp's (recent) place. Nomar is starting, again denying Andy LaRoche another start--but at least Garciaparra is batting eighth.