James McDonald (0-0, -.--; first major league start) vs. Jon Garland (0-0, -.--).
COMMENTS: After starting the season by splitting four with the Portland Beavers (wait, that was the Padres?) in what Vin Scully called a "very heartbreaking, bitter four-game series for the Dodgers," it makes you wonder: Is it just a slow start, or a fair representation of the team's abilities? Should we be worried that the Dodgers aren't taking advantage of scoring opportunities? Will the pitching hold up? What about all those stranded runners? And the answers are: How the hell should we know? What do you think we are, a Dodgers blog?
Young McDonald, 24, is dealing with the pressure of his first start, as well as high expectations based on his performance in last year's playoffs. He's also dealing with the angst of going against a division rival, as well as the weight of matching up against the veteran Garland. And he's probably dealing with the onus of who to friend on his Facebook page, and the nervousness of whether Joe Torre will let him Twitter during the game. So cut the kid some slack, okay?
McDonald also has to deal with pitching without the services of J. Martin, who is scheduled to have the day (or at least the start) off—not the worst thing, as Martin (2-for-16 in 2009, including a game-ending GIDP and nine (!) men LOB in yesterday's loss) may be pressing ever so slightly. Expect Brad Ausmus to make his season debut, and to press in Martin's place. Merry Ausmus, everyone!
photo by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers