Nationals-Dodgers Preview

Ted Lilly was stellar in his Los Angeles Dodgers debut, but that
victory is one of only three in the last 11 games for the team.

Attempting to boost his club’s faint postseason hopes, Lilly
will try to build off that performance Sunday in a matchup with
former teammate Jason Marquis, who makes his first start in nearly
four months for the Washington Nationals.

The Dodgers (57-54) acquired Lilly and infielder Ryan Theriot
from the Chicago Cubs on July 31, hoping those two players could
help them rally for a third straight division title. The
left-hander did his part to contribute by allowing one run, two
hits and no walks over seven innings of a 2-1 win over NL
West-leading San Diego on Tuesday night.

“Lilly made it look easy. He gave up two hits in the first
inning, and that was it,” manager Joe Torre said. “When you go to a
new club, it’s awfully nice to be able to pay dividends right away.
This kid has got a lot of passion inside, but he’s really calm out
there. Lilly certainly gave us a lift tonight.”

Torre’s club moved within seven games of the Padres after James
Loney delivered a 3-2 win with a 10th-inning single Saturday
night.

“We certainly needed to win this one tonight,” Torre said after
his team avoided a third straight loss. “Hopefully, we can win a
series tomorrow. We just need to put a streak together. We know
we’re certainly capable of winning five, six, seven in a row.”

Lilly (4-8, 3.56 ERA), though, has not earned consecutive
victories all season.

He hasn’t faced the Nationals (49-62) since April 27, 2008, and
is 3-2 with a 2.48 ERA against them since their move from Montreal
before the 2005 season.

After being drafted by the Dodgers in 1996, Lilly was traded two
years later to Montreal and made his major league debut with the
Expos in 1999 before joining Torre’s New York Yankees’ club the
next season.

Lilly is on his sixth team in 12 seasons and now squares off
with his teammate for two years in Chicago.

Marquis (0-3, 20.52) hasn’t pitched since April 18, having
undergone surgery to remove bone chips in his throwing elbow.

“He wants to contribute,” manager Jim Riggleman told the team’s
official website. “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.”

Marquis, set to make $7.5 million in 2011 – the final season of
a two-year deal – is 5-2 with a 2.35 ERA in 11 career starts
against Los Angeles. The most recent was a 5-3 loss with Colorado
on Oct. 4 at Dodger Stadium.

That defeat ended his five-game win streak over the Dodgers.
Marquis is 4-1 with a 1.94 ERA in his last six starts against
them.

Loney is 7 for 12 against Marquis with three doubles and a home
run, but Andre Ethier is 1 for 17 and Matt Kemp 0 for 12.

Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, batting .387 with five
homers and 10 RBIs in his last eight games, is 2 for 9 with no home
runs and six strikeouts against Lilly. Adam Dunn, who has seven
homers and 14 RBIs over his last 10 contests, is also 2 for 9
versus the left-hander.