Dodgers start David Wells, LHP (7-8, 5.31) vs. Greg Maddux, RHP (12-9, 3.68).
Dodgers: 76-69 (T-3rd place NL West, 6.0 GB; T-2nd place WC, 2.5 GB; W1)
Padres: 78-66 (2nd place NL West, 3.5 GB, 1st place WC, 2.5 GA; L1)
Current postseason odds for the Dodgers, from Baseball Prospectus: 18.3%
From Dodgers.com, the scouting report on the starters:
Dodgers: Wells returned from a seven-day suspension and flirted with a perfect game for 5 1/3 innings. A throwing error made the game close, but Wells provided seven innings in a quality start. The extra time off apparently helped a strained quad muscle and an extra between-starts bullpen session worked out a kink in his windup.
Padres: Maddux won for the seventh time in his past eight starts, allowing one run over six efficient innings that saw the right-hander, who now has 345 career victories, need just 67 pitches to get him through his outing against the Rockies on Saturday. The Rockies managed just three hits off Maddux, who retired 13 of the final 14 batters that he faced, extending his streak of innings without a walk to 54 1/3 straight. Maddux got 12 groundouts during the game. "Greg was great. ... What is it ... 11 starts where he's been great?" San Diego manager Bud Black said. "He was efficient throughout, moving it up and down, in and out."
Former Dodger Maddux vs. former Padre Wells? 345 career wins vs. 237 career wins? Fat vs. fatter? The subtexts to this pitching matchup are great, but the real story will be told in the Wild Card race standings after the game. Either the Dodgers emerge from tonight's game a scant 1.5 games back in the lineup with 16 to play, or they end up a distant 3.5 games back going into a three-game series with the NL-West leading Diamondbacks. You know which outcome for which I'm rooting (it's the one where we end up 1.5 games back, then return to the locker room to find out that Jeff Gillooly has gone nuts and taken his crowbar to the legs of the Snakes' infield players, injuring them not permanently but for a 3-4 week period). The Dodgers' playoff chances remain sub-20%, and tonight's game could bring us over that threshold, fast. LET'S GO, BLUE!