The Los Angeles Dodgers will play against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park tonight. With a 3-2 win over the Houston Astros last night, the Padres slid into first place in the National League West with a 3-1 record. If Los Angeles wins tonight, they'll reclaim first place and hopefully hold onto it until the end of the 2008 Regular Season.
Hiroki Kuroda will make his Major League Baseball debut for the Dodgers, as their starting pitcher in this exciting match-up. The Japanese ace performed well during Spring Training 2008, achieving a 2-1 record with an Earned-Run Average of 4.18 Hopefully, his Pre-Season success will continue into the Regular Season.
However, Kuroda was nconsistent during his Spring Training outings. Although I believe that he will pitch well if he gets into his groove early into the game, there is a slim possibility that he will blow his confidence on a couple of hits and lose his command on the mound. Once Kuroda makes a few starts in the Major Leagues, there will be more information available concerning his confidence, consistency, and wide-repertoire of pitches.
It has been confirmed that Jason Schmidt will not pitch against the San Diego Padres over the weekend. On Wednesday, the injured starter participated in bullpen session. When asked about his recovery from shoulder surgery, the hurler said, " Sometimes, I'd do 90 to 95 percent. The majority were about 80 to 85 percent. I don't really know." Unfortunately, the Dodgers "don't really know," if we'll see Schmidt on the mound this year at the rate he is going.
The Dodgers' line-up for tonight's game is as follows:
Joe Torre has been testing out a plethora of starting line-ups recently. Surprisingly, the Dodgers dropped Andruw Jones down to the sixth spot in the batting order. However, it is pleasing to see that Los Angeles is moving James Loney, their future at first-base, into the third-slot of the line-up. Hopefully, his new teammate, Blake DeWitt will someday bat as a clean-up or #2 hitter in the Dodgers' line-up.
Xei of Dodger Sims calculated that the favored San Diego Padres have a 51% chance of defeating the Dodgers. In other words, it shall be a close and exhilarating game. The first pitch will be thrown at 10:05 PM EST.
Note: This post is originally from my Dodgers Blog at http://dodgersblog.mlblogs.com/