MLB Insiders: Los Angeles Dodgers

Daniel McCutchen

The Pirates open a three-game series in Los Angeles on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers will play the first of seven remaining games against the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night in the opener of a three-game home set.

Jon Garland (9-11, 4.23 ERA) will make his third start with the Dodgers since being acquired from the Diamondbacks on Aug. 31. Garland is 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA in the first two.

The right-hander allowed three runs over six innings Wednesday in a 4-3 loss at Arizona after winning his previous three outings.

Garland will make his second career start against the Pirates, losing 4-2 June 15, 2007, with the White Sox.

Daniel McCutchen (0-1, 4.85) will make his third major league start for Pittsburgh and first against Los Angeles. He gave up four runs over seven innings last Monday in a 4-2 loss to the Cubs.

Randy Wolf is ready to go again, needing just four extra days to return to the Dodgers' rotation after suffering a hyperextended left elbow.

Wolf is scheduled to pitch Tuesday at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates after throwing a pain-free bullpen session Sunday at San Francisco.

Wolf injured himself Sept. 2 swinging a bat in batting practice but didn't know the extent of the injury until a bullpen session a few days later revealed pain when he tried to throw breaking balls.

He was supposed to start Friday in a key game against NL West rivals San Francisco, but because of a newly implemented six-man rotation, the Dodgers were able to move around some starters and cover the spot.

Wolf has been the steadiest Dodgers pitcher all season. He has won his last five consecutive outings and in 13 of his last 14 outings he has delivered a quality start. He is 10-6 with a 3.22 ERA this season.

GIANTS 7, DODGERS 2: A struggling Chad Billingsley lasted just four innings as the Dodgers fell short in their bid for a sweep against their division rivals. Russell Martin broke up a shutout bid by former teammate Brad Penny when he hit a home run in the seventh inning.

NOTES, QUOTES

--RHP Chad Billingsley continues to struggle and is facing the prospect of a reduced role in the playoffs if the Dodgers advance. Billingsley looked like a staff ace early in the season when he won his first five decisions. He couldn't make it to the fifth inning Sunday against the Giants, though, and is now 0-4 with a 5.67 ERA over his last five starts.

--LHP Clayton Kershaw is making progress with his separated right shoulder. Kershaw hurt himself in batting practice during the last homestand when he crashed into the outfield wall while tracking down a fly ball. Kershaw played long toss in the outfield Sunday for the first time since he was hurt and was able to use his right arm to catch return throws.

--INF Blake DeWitt was promoted from Class AAA Albuquerque to add infield depth for the stretch run. It is the sixth time this year DeWitt has been called up to the Dodgers, which is believed to be a team record for one player in a single season. Also called up from Albuquerque was SS Chin-lung Hu.

--LHP Randy Wolf, who is nursing a hyperextended left elbow, could return to the rotation next week and possibly as early as Tuesday against the Pirates. He injured himself taking swings in batting practice Sept. 2. Wolf has missed just one start because of the injury.

BY THE NUMBERS: 130 -- Days the Dodgers held at least a share of the best record in the National League, until they relinquished that honor after a loss Sept. 9 at Arizona. Starting on May 2, when the Dodgers caught the Cardinals for the NL's best mark, they remained on top until the Cardinals grabbed the lead again. Since holding the best record in baseball (56-32) at the All-Star break, the Dodgers went a pedestrian 27-26 heading into last weekend's series at San Francisco.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I told him I thought it was a ball. Then I threw my helmet, and he threw me out. It's OK. He's human. He's not a machine." -- LF Manny Ramirez, on his ejection by home-plate umpire Doug Eddings following a strikeout at Arizona on Sept 8.

ROSTER REPORT

--C Russell Martin hit a home run Sunday, the first time all season he has homered in back-to-back games. It was just his sixth home run of the season. Martin has ramped up his production of late, delivering 10 RBIs in his last 24 at-bats.

--1B James Loney received a scare in the fourth inning Sunday when he ran into first-base umpire Sam Holbrook while trying to knock down an eventual double by the Giants' Nate Schierholtz. Loney was dazed but was able to stay in the game. He had two walks but didn't have a hit Sunday to snap a seven-game hit streak. It was just the third game this month in which Loney was hitless.

--RHP Jeff Weaver had a rare blowup out of the bullpen on Sunday, giving up a season-high four runs on five hits with a walk in 1 1/3 innings against the Giants. Weaver has only been getting sporadic appearances of late, going at least seven days between each of his last five outings.

MEDICAL WATCH:

3B Casey Blake (left hamstring tightness) did not play Sept. 5-9. He returned to the lineup on Sept. 11.

LHP Randy Wolf (left elbow tightness) will miss his start in the Sept. 11-13 series at San Francisco. He is expected to be ready for his next start after that.

PH Jim Thome (sore right foot) left the Sept. 6 game and did not play Sept. 7-11. He's day-to-day.

LHP Clayton Kershaw (separated right shoulder) will miss his Sept. 11 start.

RHP Guillermo Mota (ingrown toenail) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 30.

RHP Jason Schmidt (strained right shoulder) went on the 15-disabled list retroactive to Aug. 6, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 27.

OF Xavier Paul (staph infection) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 21, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 27. His recovery was slowed in July by a microfracture in his left ankle.

LHP Eric Milton (lower back strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 28, and he was transferred to the 60-day disabled list July 20. He had surgery July 14, and he might miss the remainder of the season.

LHP Will Ohman (sore left shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 29, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 30. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Inland Empire on June 16, but he was shut down June 24 due to an ailing elbow.

LHP Travis Schlichting (back) was recalled from the minors and placed on the 60-day disabled list Sept. 1.

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