DODGERS' RECORD WITHOUT MANNY: 26-18
Clayton Kershaw (4-5, 3.76) vs. Jason Vargas (3-2, 3.24).
COMMENTS: Kershaw was nails in his last start, against the Angels. Vargas the quasi-journeyman (four seasons, three teams) seems to be finding a groove in Seattle, having shut down the Diamondbacks in his last start. (He sat out all of 2008 with a hip injury.) Kershaw has never faced the Mariners; Vargas has faced the Dodgers once, beating them in 2005 with the Marlins.
So pitching-wise, there's no clear-cut favorite. But fan-wise, there will definitely be a favorite enemy, since tonight marks former fan favorite Adrian Beltre's first return to Dodger Stadium since 2006. Unlike more recent fan favorite Nomar Garciaparra, Beltre is certain to get booed, as Vin would say, with feeling.
Going to the game? Pre-game highlight: The Lakers' Pau Gasol will throw the ceremonial first pitch. Post-game highlight: The Friday Night Fireworks show will feature the music of the late Michael Jackson.
photo by David Bauman/Press-Enterprise