Setting The Scene...
The last time the teams met out in La La Land, the Dodgers hadn't yet acquired their long-haired left fielder Manny Ramirez, who takes his whole "Manny being Manny" act out to the one place in the country for which it seems perfectly suited, since LA can appreciate the "entertainment" he provides while leading them (possibly) into the playoffs. Ramirez was hitting just below .300 at .299 when he was traded from Boston to Los Angeles, and since then he's hitting just under .400 at .380 in 22 games and 79 AB's, over which he's collected 30 hits - 3 doubles, 6 HR's and 21 RBI's with a .410 OBP, .590 SLG, and 1.125 OPS.
Since acquiring Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers are 11-11, and their 65-65 record is good enough for second in the West, where LA sits 3.0 games behind Arizona, (with both teams getting Monday night play underway as I write), and the Dodgers are 10.5 games behind NL Wild Card-leading Milwaukee in the Wild Card race, so it's the West or nothing for Manny and the rest in Dodger blue. So you know they'll be looking to take all three in DC, and they just might have the arms to do it...
Collin Balester (2-6, 4.99 ERA) started against the Giants on the Nationals' loss-filled July trip out West, so he missed the Dodgers, and will be facing them for the first time tonight, in the 10th start of the 22-year old right-handed hurler's rookie campaign. Balester's dropped three straight since recording his second career win on August 3rd in Cincinnati, and at home on the season, he's (1-3) with a 5.06 ERA in 26.2 IP.
In his 12-year MLB career, Lowe's (5-0) with 3 saves in 5 starts and 6 relief appearances against the DC franchise, posting a 2.88 ERA in 40.2 IP against the Nationals/Expos, against whom he's allowed 32 hits, 13 ER, 4 HR's and 11 walks, with 33 K's collected. Lowe's (5-2) in his last 9 starts through July and August, though his ERA's jumped up more than two runs in his four August starts, from 3.06 to 5.09. The Dodgers are 6-3 in Lowe's last 9 starts, though they've won just two of the last five.
Ronnie Belliard - 2 for 8, .273 AVG, 1 2B.Aaron Boone - 2 for 6, .333 AVG, 2 2B, 3 RBI's.Cristian Guzman - 5 for 21, .238 AVG, 1 2B, 4 RBI's.Willie Harris - 5 for 20, .250 AVG, 1 2B.Austin Kearns - 2 for 17, .118 AVG, 1 HR, 2 RBI's.Ryan Zimmerman - 2 for 14, .143 AVG, 1 HR, 1 RBI.
DY vs D. Lowe - 8 for 24, .333 AVG, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI's.
"How low? So low that even the microscopic numbers reported by the rating service might be too low to be statistically valid."
"The team's broadcasts on the station formerly known as WWWT (107.7 FM and 1500 AM) attracted a cumulative weekly audience of about 26,500 from May through July, the most recent period measured by Arbitron."
"...won just two more games than the 46-85 Nationals as of Sunday. But the Mariners attracted 133,000 listeners per week, or about 26,000 per weekday game, through July."