The Los Angeles Dodgers look to snap a three-game losing streak Friday night against the St. Louis Cardinals, and they will turn to Jon Garland, fresh off the disabled list and making his first start of 2011. Garland strained his left oblique muscle in spring training on March 9, and began the regular season on the disabled list. Garland made one rehab start, last Sunday with Class A Rancho Cucamonga, throwing 81 pitches in 4 2/3 innings.
The Dodgers need Garland back, and they need him to pitch deep into games. The team is now 6-7 and while it's far too early to panic, there are reasons for concern. The offense was expected to be below average, so their 3.5 runs per game is a but low but not totally under expectations. However, the Dodgers built their pitching staff to carry the team, and so far it has struggled. Dodger starting pitchers only have two quality starts in the last eight games, and during that span have a collective 4.87 ERA.
The Cardinals won the opener of the four-game series with the Dodgers, 9-5 behind a strong 16-hit attack. Kyle Lohse, who is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts this season, gets the start for St. Louis. The Cardinals have won two straight and four of their last five contests.
Tonight is Jackie Robinson Night at Dodger Stadium, and all players on both teams, just as throughout all of baseball, will wear number 42. Since the players all began wearing number 42 on April 15 in 2007, the Dodgers have won all four games on Jackie Robinson Day. Don Newcombe, who has Robinson's teammate in Brooklyn, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch tonight before the game.
For more news and information on the Dodgers, or on tonight's game, be sure to read the SB Nation True Blue LA.