BLUE DROPS 1ST OF 4 TO NO CAL RIVALS

Though Mark Hendrickson, in his Dodger Stadium debut, would allow 5 runs in 3 innings while giving us 6 innings, it wasn’t as if the Giants were tearing the cover off the ball.  Still, as the old saying goes, it looks like a line drive in the box score.  And though Matt Cain of the Giants did not exactly impress either, being chased in the 5th inning before he could qualify for the win, the early 5-0 deficit was just too much to overcome as the Blue fell short 5-4.  Albeit Hendrickson, since his arrival from Tampa Bay,  was not exactly rocked around the Ravine, he still has not erased doubts throughout supporters of the Blue about our numbers 4 and 5 starters.  And with as  many as 9  teams battling for either division titles or the wild card spot between the NL West and Central ( Yes, I’m already crowning the Mets 2006 NL East Champs.  It was a nice run Bobby Cox…), the market for another starter is not all that great.  ( The Cardinals acquisiton of Jeff Weaver should say something about the thin market for starting pitching….)  While the Boys in Blue are leading the league in many offensive categories, the pitching staff, traditionally a strength,  is been somewhat of a glaring weakness, particularly, again, the 4 and 5 spots.  And unless Thomko can regain his early season form once he returns from the DL, or Chad Billingsley, the highly touted rookie, can work on his control problems, the offense will have plenty of pressure on them to score even more runs in the 2nd half.  Fortunately, this is the NL West, where no team has a clear cut edged on this division race. 

Game 2 Tonight pits rookie Chad Billingsley against Matt Morris.  Billingsley is still looking for his 1st Major League win while Matt Morris, after a slow start, is looking to up his record over .500 before the all-star break.  GO DODGERS

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