05/29/09 8:15 PM ET
Stults to start at Wrigley with bum thumb
Los Angeles (34-16) at Chicago (24-23), 1:10 p.m. PT
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
The return of Hiroki Kuroda to the starting rotation Monday night means somebody's got to go, and the likely choice is Stults. That's in part because of a bruised thumb that will be tested Saturday, in part because the other starter on the bubble, Eric Milton, has made only one relief appearance in 12 years.
Joe Buck, Tim McCarver and Ken Rosenthal will broadcast Game 3 of the four-game series after the clubs split the first two games.
Stults got himself into all kinds of trouble in his previous start at Coors Field, where he was staked to a 7-0 lead in the fourth inning and couldn't get out of the fifth, walking seven.
He conceded the thumb injury he suffered two weeks ago, which caused him to miss his next start, might have played some role in his wildness. But he also said there's a mind-over-matter component to pitching with a nagging injury.
"I just have to bear down, concentrate a little harder," he said. "I felt it a couple times, and they told me it's going to be that way for a while. That's life. I think in Colorado it was more a lack of execution."
In Friday's game, Matt Kemp slugged the Dodgers' first home run of the trip, his fifth of the season and only second since April 19.
"It's coming. The power is coming," said Kemp, who is 7-for-20 on the trip. "I'm being more patient, staying back. I'm not worried about the home runs. They come in bunches. As long as I have good at-bats, they'll come my way. My at-bats have been way better lately."
Shortstop Rafael Furcal, rested for the first seven innings Friday, is expected back in the starting lineup Saturday.Pitching matchup
LAD: LHP Eric Stults (4-1, 4.29 ERA)
Stults, making his first start since suffering a jammed thumb on May 15 against the Marlins, was unable to pitch past the fifth inning his last time out and did not get a decision. Stults had difficulty with his command as he walked seven in 4 1/3 innings against the Rockies. In one previous start at Wrigley Field in 2007, Stults went 4 1/3 innings and gave up four runs, three earned, and eight hits in taking the loss. CHC: RHP Ryan Dempster (3-3, 4.99 ERA)
Dempster had trouble with his command in his last start against the Pirates and gave up six runs on seven hits and three walks over four innings. It was his shortest outing of the season, and first time he did not go at least six innings. The runs also were a season high. This will be Dempster's first game against the Dodgers since Game 1 of the National League Division Series, when he walked seven over 4 2/3 innings. The Dodgers had a patient approach against Dempster. It will be interesting to see if they take that same approach this time. Tidbits
James Loney, who had only 16 strikeouts in 212 previous plate appearances, struck out all four at-bats in Friday's game to end his 11-game hitting streak. ... Chad Billingsley had pitched seven or more innings in seven of his 11 starts, going 3-2 with a 1.99 ERA in those games. ... The Dodgers are 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position in the series, while the Cubs are 1-for-17. Tickets
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Sunday: Dodgers (Eric Milton, 1-0, 3.00) at Cubs (Sean Marshall, 3-3, 3.70), 5:05 p.m. PT
Monday: Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw, 3-3, 4.34) vs. Diamondbacks (Billy Buckner, 1-1, 7.16), 7:10 p.m. PT
Tuesday: Dodgers (Randy Wolf, 3-1, 2.84) vs. Diamondbacks (Dan Haren, 4-4, 2.54), 7:10 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.