05/20/10 7:01 PM ET
Dodgers welcome in Tigers newcomers
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
With the Tigers coming to town, the Dodgers will be introduced to a couple of youngsters ready for their Hollywood closeups.
Detroit will bring rookie outfielders Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch to Dodger Stadium to start Interleague Play with a three-game series that will showcase some talented twenty-somethings on both sides of the field.
Right-hander Chad Billingsley, part of the Dodgers' influx of young talent the past few years, will take on Dontrelle Willis in Friday night's opener of Interleague Play for both clubs.
Jackson and Boesch have impressed their teammates with their performances thus far. Including a single and a run scored in the Tigers' finale at Oakland on Thursday, Jackson has hit safely in 20 of 21 games for a .351 average (31-for-94), among the best in the American League. It's that kind of performance beyond his years that has the veteran Tigers enjoying the influx of rookies Jackson and Boesch.
"I think the rookies have made a good impression," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "Veteran players like good players. They like good, young players who got talent that can help them win."
Jackson leads all rookies with 30 runs and 56 hits. Boesch leads AL rookies with a .354 average and 19 RBIs.
Said Johnny Damon, the 36-year-old veteran who shares the outfield with them: "I love being around all these young kids," Damon said. "They definitely make me feel a lot younger and they're not afraid to get mohawks. But all these guys know how to live their lives. I'm here to help them along the way, if they need it. I'm here to share my experience of the game."
Tigers: Willis hoping for control
Back in the National League for a start, Willis will have a chance to bat -- he has eight homers and 35 RBIs in his career, though he only has gone 0-for-1 in Interleague Play with the Tigers. Starting for the first time in 11 days after a bout with a sinus infection, Willis had a bout with an old affliction his last time out: control issues. With seven walks over 3 1/3 innings and just 40 of his 86 pitches going for strikes, Willis did not factor in the decision when the Tigers rallied to defeat the Red Sox on Saturday.
Dodgers: Billingsley finding a groove
At 25 years old, Billingsley already has established a strong resume with 51 victories in 108 starts, and he appears to be catching a groove after some early 2010 struggles. Since allowing seven runs in three innings at Cincinnati on April 20, Billingsley has been solid, and in his last outing, he was excellent, with 7 1/3 innings of shutout ball against the Padres. "He was great," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "He was so comfortable to watch for me. He had a good tempo all game and didn't rush himself."
The Tigers and Dodgers have met three times previously in Interleague Play, most recently in a three-game home sweep for the Tigers in 2008 during which Detroit outscored L.A., 22-11. The Dodgers have won five of the nine meetings overall. ... Russell Martin went 1-for-3 on Thursday to extend his career-high hitting streak to 15 games. It's the longest active hitting streak in the Majors and the longest for a Dodger since Orlando Hudson hit safely in 17 straight games from May 9-27, 2009. ... Jamey Carroll recorded his seventh multihit game and second multi-RBI game since joining the Dodgers. Carroll has hit .309 with 12 runs, two doubles and nine RBIs in 22 games and helped the club to a 15-7 mark since Rafael Furcal strained his left hamstring on April 27. ... The Dodgers have gone seven consecutive games without committing an error, their longest streak since an eight-game errorless stretch from August 8-17, 2009.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.