08/07/10 7:54 PM ET
Dodgers may be down but not out of race
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
Even with Saturday's 3-2 win in 10 innings over the Nationals, the Dodgers are just 8-15 over their last 23 games, leaving them seven games back of the National League West-leading Padres.
But the Dodgers aren't quite ready to concede the division just yet, as they know there's still plenty of baseball left and a winning streak can change things in a hurry.
Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who hasn't missed the postseason as a manager since 1995, certainly thinks his club is still in the race.
"We got to keep it positive," Torre said. "The only thing that's going to be positive is to win ballgames. We got to put something together. I can't look at the teams that are above us until we get our stuff straightened out."
The Dodgers will turn to new addition Ted Lilly on Sunday against the Nationals for his second start since being acquired from the Cubs before the Trade Deadline.
Lilly was sharp in his first outing with his new club on Tuesday, when he retired 20 batters in a row and allowed just one run on two hits over seven innings to pick up the win against the Padres.
He's hoping that he can continue to stay strong and help the Dodgers down the stretch as they try catch the Padres.
"Obviously, we got a lot of work to do to come back and catch San Diego," Lilly said. "Hopefully, we'll get on a little streak here."
The Nationals, meanwhile, will counter with right-hander Jason Marquis, who will be making his first start since April 18 after undergoing surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow.
He posted an 0-3 record and a 20.52 ERA in his three starts this season before his injury, but Nationals manager Jim Riggleman is hoping that Marquis returns to the form from last season, when he won 15 games with a 4.04 ERA with the Rockies.
"He wants to contribute," Riggleman said. "If he's the real Jason Marquis, the guy who is sinking the ball and getting ground balls and attacking hitters, he can really help us and be a part of our future."
Nationals: Strasburg ready for Tuesday
Right-hander Stephen Strasburg threw a bullpen session on Saturday and is scheduled to make his return to the rotation on Tuesday against the Marlins after missing three starts with shoulder stiffness. Riggleman said he expects Strasburg to be limited to 90 pitches in his return.
Dodgers: No MRI for Manny's calf
Left fielder Manny Ramirez did not get a scheduled MRI on his strained right calf because he felt claustrophobic entering into the scanning machine. But team trainer Stan Conte said the MRI wasn't necessary and was just a checkup. "We're at the three-week marker," Conte said. "We just wanted to see. We didn't expect any changes one way or the other. It wasn't supposed to be a big deal."
The Nationals acquired infielder Brian Bixler from the Pirates for cash considerations on Saturday, and he will replace Kevin Mench on the Triple-A Syracuse roster. Mench was recalled by the Nationals on Friday. ... The Dodgers announced Saturday that they have extended their player development contract with the Class A Great Lakes Loons, Los Angeles' Midwest League affiliate that has the best overall record in Minor Leagues at 74-36.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.