Chad Billingsley (9-9, 3.32) vs. John Lannan (6-9, 3.29).
COMMENTS: Tired of hearing about how the Dodgers could be in first place, if only the the Diamondbacks (who took a series from the first-place Cubs) would win less and the Dodgers (who lost a series to the third-place Rockies) could just, well, win more? Yeah, so are we. So consider this: The Diamondbacks have traded for both Tony Clark and Jon Rauch lately. The Dodgers are purportedly showcasing Andy LaRoche for a trade. Oh, and Juan Pierre is returning, perhaps as early as tonight and probably displacing Matt Kemp and his .925 leadoff OPS at the top of the order.
As admirably as Blake DeWitt has played, his production (.257/.324/.364) doesn't overwhelm so much that LaRoche shouldn't be given a longer look at third. But Joe Torre likes DeWitt, and we can only hope trading LaRoche doesn't become a debacle of Konerko-ian proportions. Meanwhile, Pierre's return should bump Andruw Jones to the bench. After all, Kemp and Andre Ethier are tied for the team lead in home runs. If we're that desperate for speed, power shouldn't be sacrificed.
The trading deadline is six days away, and many things can happen. And a lot of knee-jerk keeping-up-with-the-D'backs things can happen as well. But the Dodgers shouldn't trade valuable players for what at best would be another first-round playoff exit.
P.S.: Tonight marks the first career start against the Dodgers for the Nats' Lannan. Enjoy the game!