Chad Billingsley (11-9, 3.05) vs. Chris Carpenter (0-0, 2.25).
COMMENTS: Since returning from Tommy John surgery on July 30, Chris Carpenter has only had one other start all year, pitching four innings and giving up five hits and one ER vs. Atlanta. On our side, Chad Billingsley takes the mound after being proclaimed the team's ace by dodgers.com. But the spotlight on this game won't be on the pitching; it will likely be all about Manny Ramirez, who is coming off his first four-hit game of the year and has two HR and five RBI in his three games as a Dodger. The Dodgers' day off yesterday was almost too much for us to bear, but let's see if Manny Mania can continue in St. Louis today, the first of 13 straight games without a day off.
STAT OF THE DAY: While everyone trumpets the power of Manny's 8-for-13 (.615) debut, let's not forget that Jeff Kent has been slotted fifth in the order in those three games, where Kent hit a mediocre 3-for-12. Imagine how powerful Manny might be with some real protection in the lineup; look for Loney (5-for-11 over the same three games) to bat fifth tonight (Loney's batting average is almost 50 points ahead of Kent's).