The Dodgers begin play seven games behind the Giants. The race is on! Or it would have been, if Arizona weren’t making such a decisive worst-to-first run in the National League West.

The Diamondbacks, 15 games behind the fourth-place Dodgers last year, have almost reversed that deficit completely with a 12-game lead this year.

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  • Charley Steiner and Rick Monday are about to join the Dodger announcer RSVP parade for 2012, writes Tony Jackson of
  • Jackson also reported Monday that the Dodgers would use a six-man rotation this week, with Dana Eveland a leading choice to start Thursday’s makeup game in Pittsburgh. That pitcher could then stay in the rotation after Nathan Eovaldi makes what is expected to be his final 2011 start (to preserve the 21-year-old’s arm). Roster space will not be an issue.
  • I don’t think I’m on board with his “empty prison camp” analogy to describe Dodger Stadium – let’s just say as prisons go, I could deal – but Eric Nusbaum certainly tells a woeful tale of his sadcap adventures at the ballpark on Pitchers & Poets.
  • At Blue Heaven, Ernest Reyes writes about Silvio Garcia, a Cuban star of color that Branch Rickey considered bringing to the Dodgers in the Jackie Robinson era.
  • Stephen Strasburg, the Washington Nationals prodigy recovering from surgery, is expected to make his first 2011 major-league start September 6 against the Dodgers, according to the team’s Twitter feed.