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More Tales of the Dodgers Pitching Staff

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Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of the Dodgers pitching rotation.

As reported last night, the Dodgers brought up starter Eric Stults from AAA Albuquerque Isotopes. In order to make room on the 25-man roster, they sent infielder Tony Abreu back to Albuquerque before the game.

Stults last pitched on Thursday giving up one earned run on two hits in three innings pitched against the Portland Beavers.

“He just threw three innings,” manager Joe Torre said of Stults’ short rest. “We cut him back in the event we needed him, so he should be fine.”

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As for starter Chad Billingsley, who left Friday’s game with a left hamstring strain, the prognosis looks optimistic.

“[Billingsley] played catch on flat ground, and he was okay,” said Torre. “Tomorrow he’ll get up on the mound, and we’ll know more.”

However Torre is exercising some caution in using Billingsley.

“I’m always a little concerned about injuries,” Torre added. “[Billingsley] said there’s still some tightness in there. But the doctor feels he’s had a good result so far. Tomorrow we’ll see.”

With Billingsley’s injury and the season-long problem of having no reliable fifth starter, Torre said looking for a pitcher outside the organization hasn’t been ruled out.

“We’ve talked about the waiver wire,” Torre said. “We are looking for something that could improve us.”

The turmoil of the starting rotation has started to show on the teams as a whole. The Dodgers have lost 10 of their last 16 games and have ceded the title of “Best Record in the Majors” to the New York Yankees yesterday.

“We’ve been a little erratic as far as scoring runs,” Torre mused. “We’ve had some good outings, some not-so-good outings from our pitchers. During the course of the year you’re going to bump around a little bit.”

Despite how frustrating this stretch of games have been, it hasn’t gotten the team down.

“As far as the mental state of this club, they’re fine,” Torre asserted. “We’re still energy-wise fine. We may be pressing a little bit.”

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The Dodgers will be facing Javier Vazquez (9-7, 2.99 ERA) who is coming off a win in San Diego on Tuesday. Over his last 12 starts Vazquez has a 2.38 ERA and limiting opponents to a .218 batting average. Mark Loretta will be starting in place of James Loney at first base today batting eighth.

Here are the line ups:

Atlanta Braves

  1. Ryan Church, CF
  2. Martin Prado, 3B
  3. Garret Anderson, LF
  4. Yunel Escobar, SS
  5. Brian McCann, C
  6. Matt Diaz, RF
  7. Adam LaRoche, 1B
  8. Kelly Johnson, 2B
  9. Javier Vazquez, P

LA Dodgers

  1. Rafael Furcal, SS
  2. Andre Ethier, RF
  3. Manny Ramirez, LF
  4. Casey Blake, 3B
  5. Matt Kemp, CF
  6. Russell Martin, C
  7. Orlando Hudson, 2B
  8. Mark Loretta, 1B
  9. Eric Stults, P