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Dodgers vs. Tigers Game Preview: Josh Beckett Makes His Season Debut

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Tuesday’s game was an exciting start for interleague play as a Carl Crawford double in the 10th inning drove Chone Figgins home, giving the Los Angeles Dodgers the final 3-2 edge. After a thrilling walk-off win for the Dodgers last night, they aim to finish off the two-game series against the Detroit Tigers tonight.

The biggest Dodger news of today’s game is that 33-year-old right-hander Josh Beckett is finally making his first start of the season. After undergoing a rare Thoracic Outlet Surgery last season to repair the numbing in his hand, Beckett takes the mound for the first time in a regular season game in nearly a year. In just five starts last season before being shut down, he posted a 5.19 ERA and went an unimpressive 0-5. Beckett was looking to have a promising spring until his right thumb was slammed in a clubhouse door, which forced him to start the season on the disabled list. The right-hander then hurt his ankle last Saturday trying to field a bunt in a minor league rehab start. Although after a bullpen session on Sunday, the ankle seemed to be 100 percent and Beckett was reinstated from the disabled list to make the start.

What should fans expect from Beckett tonight?

He struggled in his minimal starts last season, but these poor performances can likely be attributed to the lingering numbness in his hand. With the tingling now a non-issue and a “healthy” Beckett on the mound, the Dodgers will hopefully get a solid five to six innings out of the right-hander, although the coaching staff will try and preserve his pitch count. The immediate future of the Dodgers’ rotation depends on this start. If Beckett does well, the pitching staff can take a sigh of relief knowing they won’t have to rely on a 4-man rotation. If Beckett does poorly, Don Mattingly’s hand will be forced as he awaits for Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley to get healthy.

Anibal Sanchez takes the mound for the Tigers tonight in his second start of the season. He pitched for only four innings in his season debut allowing two runs and striking out three. Players in the Dodgers’ lineup have faced Sanchez very few times over his career. The most frequent opponent is Andre Ethier, who is 1-for-8 against the right-hander. Sanchez, along with Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, is a centerpiece to the Tigers’ strong pitching core.

With A.J. Ellis out for 4-6 weeks, Tim Federowicz was recalled from Triple-A and started in Tuesday’s game, going 1 for 4 with three strikeouts. Despite struggling at the plate, Federowicz starts again on Wednesday. Mattingly is sticking with the same lineup for back-to-back games, which means Yasiel Puig is once again not playing. Mattingly mentioned during a pregame interview Puig has improved and the team is hopeful he could pinch-hit if a necessary situation arises.

Torii Hunter is not in the Tigers lineup after crashing into the wall off down the right field line. Hunter was chasing a foul fly ball and attempted to slide as he drew closer to the wall, which resulted in his knee absorbing much of the impact. Hunter remained in the game at the time but was then removed in the fifth inning.

The game begins tonight at 7:10 PM PT and will be broadcast on SportsNet LA. With the Dodgers network still unable to complete deals with other major cable providers, many fans must resort to listening to tonight’s radio broadcast on AM 570 Fox Sports LA if they wish to follow tonight’s game.

Dodgers Lineup

2B: Gordon

LF: Crawford

SS: Ramirez

1B: Gonzalez

RF: Ethier

CF: Kemp

3B: Uribe

C: Federowicz

P: Beckett

Tigers Lineup

LF: Davis

2B: Kinsler

1B: Cabrera

C: Martinez

CF: Jackson

3B: Castellanos

RF: Collins

SS: Gonzalez

P: Sanchez


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