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Dodgers Look To Even Series Against NorCal Nemesis

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6’4” power-pitcher Brad Penny was a Dodger. He had a few good years in Dodgertown, and even dated Hollywood starlets. Today, he returns to Chavez-Ravine as a San Francisco Giant.

The Giants picked him up for the playoff run after the displeased Red Sox discarded the hurler. He’s 3-0 with a silly 1.64 ERA with his new team, and the Giants are 2.5 games behind the Colorado Rockies for the National League's last playoff spot.

The Dodgers also throw a pretty dominant new pitcher in today's 1:10 contest. Local boy, and recent Arizona Diamondback, Jon Garland, is 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA over three starts in Dodger blue. With the Colorado Rockies 5.0 games back in the NL West, it's one the Dodgers would love to win after last night's 8-4 loss, and with facing Giants superace, Tim Lincecum, tomorrow afternoon.

“Padilla didn’t have his A-game out there,” said Dodgers Manager Joe Torre of the night's starter, Vicente Padilla. “He made some bad pitches and got beat up for them a little bit.”

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The Dodgers near-bulletproof bullpen got shot a few times, giving up four earned runs after Padilla did the same over the game's first five frames. That crew included a Haley’s Comet-esque of Chad Billingsley, The Relief Pitcher.

Like a muscular Austin Powers, the Dodgers struggling starter went looking for his mojo. Unlike the fictional British superagent, Billingsley didn’t find it.

“He’s just rushing himself,” said Torre. “He’s just not packaging it basically, that just comes from being over anxious. Physically he’s fine.”

Last night’s good news was on the offensive front with Manny Ramirez having now hit safely in 18 of his last 20 games. Dazzling center fielder Matt Kemp’s done the same in his last 10.

“He’s come such a long way from last year,” Torre said of Kemp, who turns 25 next week.

The Manager said Kemp’s found a way to constantly progress, despite the natural ups and downs of the 162 game season. “He’s always messing up going forward. It’s great to see.”

Orlando Hudson gets the day off. Ronnie Belliard will fill the gap at second base.

"We probably played him a lot early, more then we should have," Torre said of Hudson. Coming off of a wrist injury, Hudson was a guy who the team wasn’t sure if he would start the season. He proved the Dodgers right to start him, hitting for the cycle in the Dodgers' home opener.

Los Angeles Dodgers (88-60)

  1. Rafael Furcal, SS
  2. Andre Ethier, RF
  3. Manny Ramirez, LF
  4. Matt Kemp, CF
  5. James Loney, 1B
  6. Casey Blake, 3B
  7. Ronnie Belliard, 2B
  8. Russell Martin C
  9. Jon Garland, P

San Francisco Giants (80-67)

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  1. Eugenio Velez, LF
  2. Freddy Sanchez, 2B
  3. Randy Winn, RF
  4. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
  5. Juan Uribe, SS
  6. Travis Ishikawa, 1B
  7. Aaron Rowand, CF
  8. Eli Whiteside, C
  9. Brad Penny, P

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