Today’s lineup, chosen by manager Nomar Garciaparra

He didn’t put himself in it, but he did say he won’t be afraid to send either himself or his bench coach, Mark Sweeney, up to pinch hit. Tim Lincecum pitching for the Giants today and trying to cement his Cy Young credentials, so the boys will have their work cut out for them.

Pierre, LF
Ethier, RF
Kemp, CF
Blake, 3B
Loney, 1B
Dewitt, 2B
Berroan, SS
Ellis, C
Kuroda, P

Dodgers 2, Giants 1

Hong-Chih Kuo was sent for tests after the game, further muddling his chances for making the playoff roster. Joe Torre had intended to bring in Kuo for the ninth inning to test his balky left elbow, but Kuo couldn’t get loose in the bullpen, so he was scratched. He then threw in the indoor batting cage and felt better, but the tests are a precaution. Should know more in the morning.
“He just couldn’t get a feel for the ball,” Torre said.
Billy Sadler, the Giants’ rookie reliever, just can’t stop pumping his fist after striking out Dodgers hitters. You may recall he angered the Dodgers in their previous trip here when he got a little too celebratory after striking out Manny in a key situation. Tonight, he got a little too celebratory after striking out Casey Blake to end the eighth inning with Matt Kemp on third. The result was that both Blake and Kemp said something to him, and Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti reacted to that by running onto the field in the general direction of Kemp, and that caused both benches to momentarily empty. But as is almost always the case when both benches empty, nothing happened and order was quickly restored.
Dodgers go to 84-77 and stay three games ahead of the Snakes, ensuring themselves of winning this truly awful division by at least two games. It occurred to me after the game that these Dodgers, who are division champs, have to win tomorrow in order to finish with the same record as the 2000 Cincinnati Reds, who finished 10 games behind the Cardinals in the Central. The only reason that occurred to me was that was my first year with the first team I covered as a full-fledged beat guy. Also, that was the last time the Reds DIDN’T have a losing season.

Important announcement regarding tomorrow night

This will be in tomorrow’s paper, but in case you miss it:

The Dodgers will host a postseason rally for fans on Sunday night at Dodger Stadium. Admission is free, but there is a $2 charge for all Dodger Dogs, sodas, nachos and peanuts. No alcholic beverages will be available. Merchandise commemorating the team’s division title and 50th anniversary in Los Angeles also will be for sale.
The event begins at 6 p.m., with the main gate opening at 5 p.m. The entire affair is expected to conclude with the team bus pulling into the parking lot, carrying players back from the airport after the team arrives in Los Angeles.