The Dodgers have lost both games since Ramirez received a 50-game suspension for violating MLB's drug policy. They've also lost three of their past four games against the Giants after sweeping their first three-game series at home in April.
Eric Stults starts for the Dodgers, coming off a 5 2/3-innings outing in which he beat the D-backs. In his previous start, he couldn't get out of the third inning and lost to the Giants in San Francisco.
"If Stults has his aggressiveness, he has enough fastball to be effective," said manager Joe Torre.
Torre is likely to give a few of his regulars the day game off following a night game and one candidate is shortstop Rafael Furcal, who doubled in the first inning Friday night, but also grounded into two double plays and struck out. On Thursday night, he struck out three times.
Torre also had said he might look to give catcher Russell Martin or third baseman Casey Blake the day game off after the night game. Martin, however, is 4-for-9 against Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez, while Blake is 1-for-4.
One thing Torre knows he doesn't want to do is head into the late innings with the Giants leading.
"The only way to get outs is to pitch," said Torre. "I think they're going to be in the race. They not only have starters, but a bullpen. They can control a game. Since I got here a year ago, the Giants bullpen has really gotten my attention."
Torre's bullpen bounced back Friday from the 10 runs it allowed Thursday night to follow Billingsley with a scoreless inning each from Ronald Belisario and Ramon Troncoso.
Everyone else should be rested for Saturday's game, including left-hander Will Ohman, who will be miked for the FOX telecast.Pitching matchup
LAD: LHP Eric Stults (3-1, 4.94 ERA)
Stults got back on track against Arizona after not getting out of the second inning against the Giants in his previous start. More aggressive from the beginning, he also had a lead to work with. He made it through 5 2/3 innings while allowing only two runs, and if he hadn't, he might have lost his job. Stults said he even started throwing a cut fastball. SF: LHP Jonathan Sanchez (1-2, 3.80 ERA)
Sanchez let wildness get the better of him against the Cubs, walking six and hitting a batter in four-plus innings of work in the Giants' 4-2 loss Monday night. Sanchez's ERA is OK, and opponents are hitting .188 against him, but he has walked 18 batters in 21 1/3 innings so far in 2009. Sanchez is 0-1 with a 4.18 ERA in four career starts against the Dodgers. He has walked 13 in 23 2/3 career innings against them. Tidbits
Disabled Opening Day starter Hiroki Kuroda played long toss Friday at a distance of 120 feet and might be able to begin tossing off a mound by Sunday. Kuroda, out since April 7 with a strained oblique muscle, is still at least several weeks away from returning to the club. He would need to progress from tossing off a mound, to several bullpen sessions, a simulated game and enough Minor League rehabilitation starts so he could handle a starter's pitch count approaching 100 pitches. ... Hong-Chih Kuo, who has been rehabilitating his sore left elbow in the mornings at Dodger Stadium, will head to the club's Camelback Ranch-Glendale complex next week when the club leaves for a week on the road. ... Club officials said disabled pitcher Jason Schmidt might start a Minor League rehabilitation assignment for Class A Inland Empire Tuesday. Schmidt has been pitching in extended Spring Training games to rebuild arm strength after two shoulder operations. Tickets
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Official game notes On television
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KABC 790, KHJ 930 (Español) Up next
Sunday: Dodgers (Jeff Weaver, 1-0, 1.00) vs. Giants (Tim Lincecum, 3-1, 3.05), 1:10 p.m. PT
Tuesday: Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw, 1-2, 4.91) at Phillies (Chan Ho Park, 0-1, 6.67), 4:05 p.m. PT
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less