Dodgers set for showdown with Mets

Dodgers set for showdown with Mets

MIAMI -- The Dodgers aren't sure if Manny Ramirez will come out of hiding for the homestand that opens Monday night, but they're pretty sure the Mets will show up for the first of a three-game series.

It will be the biggest challenge yet for the Dodgers, their first showdown with another first-place team.

Manager Joe Torre said he still believed Ramirez, his suspended outfielder, would join up with the club in Los Angeles this week to begin workouts designed to keep him in shape for his July 3 return. But Torre said Ramirez wouldn't be flying the team charter back from his state of residence, Florida, and he wasn't sure when Ramirez would arrive in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, Juan Pierre is starting in left field instead of the missing Ramirez and leading off in place of the slumping Rafael Furcal and, in the 10 games since Ramirez was suspended, Pierre is batting a stunning .465 with seven doubles, one triple, six steals, 11 runs scored and nine RBIs.

In the three-game series against the Marlins, he was 8-for-14 with seven runs and five RBIs.

"It's God's work," Pierre said. "Anything is possible. I'm just staying ready. If I play once in five weeks or every day, mentally I'm ready to play whenever I get in there and I don't concentrate on when or how many or all the little stuff that you usually worry about."

In Sunday's win, Pierre had three hits and scored three runs. His season numbers: .419 average, .476 on-base percentage and .554 slugging percentage.

"Juan Pierre -- what a remarkable run he's had," Torre said. "He never gives an at-bat away."

Torre will start Randy Wolf on Monday night and he has a history of success against the Mets dating to his eight years with Philadelphia. He is 11-5 with a 3.34 ERA lifetime against New York, including going 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA against the Mets last year.

Opponents are batting only .198 against Wolf this year and he's coming off a win in Philadelphia, which snapped a string of five consecutive no-decisions.

Pitching matchup
LAD: LHP Randy Wolf (2-1, 2.77 ERA)
Wolf logged his third straight quality start, holding the Phillies to one run over six innings and snapping a streak of five straight no-decisions with a victory at Philadelphia on May 13. Wolf kept the Phillies off-balance, making just one mistake, which resulted in a solo homer to Jimmy Rollins in the second. Wolf has given up just 10 hits and three runs over his past three starts and 17 1/3 innings. He threw a season-high 113 pitches against the Phils and still looked strong through six innings.

NYM: RHP Tim Redding (0-0, -.-- ERA; 10-11, 4.95 ERA in 2008)
Redding will join the rotation after missing the first six weeks of the season with a strained right rotator cuff. In two Minor League rehab starts, Redding allowed a combined four runs over 13 innings. He most recently struck out four batters over seven innings for Triple-A Buffalo, declaring himself ready to join the big club after that game. The Mets hope he is -- his first assignment will come against the National League West-leading Dodgers, a team he beat in his only start against them last season.

Sunday's lineup had only three starters from the Opening Day lineup -- Orlando Hudson, Matt Kemp and James Loney. ... Juan Castro's home run was his first as a Dodger since 1998. ... Brad Ausmus, giving Russell Martin a day off behind the plate, has caught one other no-hitter -- a six-pitcher rarity for Houston against Torre's Yankees when starter Roy Oswalt left with an injury in the second inning. ... Guillermo Mota allowed Cody Ross' grand slam, and his ERA is up to 9.00. ... Florida starter John Koronka, who lasted only 2 2/3 innings and made two throwing errors that led to three runs, was designated for assignment after the game.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• KABC 790, KHJ 930 (Español)

Up next
• Tuesday: Dodgers (Chad Billingsley, 5-1, 2.30) vs. Mets (John Maine, 3-2, 4.24), 7:10 p.m. PT
• Wednesday: Dodgers (Eric Stults, 4-1, 3.82) vs. Mets (Livan Hernandez, 3-1, 5.59), 7:10 p.m. PT
• Thursday: Off-day

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.