The Dodgers avoid a sweep from the last place Colorado Rockies along with avoiding falling into a deeper abyss in the NL West from the rival Giants on Wednesday night. The Dodgers sent starter Chad Billingsley to stop the bleeding against the Rockies starter Jeff Francis.
Billingsley did not get off to a great start, as Eric Young Jr hit a shot deep to center field over the head of Matt Kemp that bounced off the wall, and gave Young an inside the park home run as the Rockies led 1-0. Young is the first Rockies player to score on an inside the park home run. Billingsley continued to struggle as Dexter Fowler hit a double to right field, and Wilin Rosario walked. The Dodger defense began to emerge out of the vortex of laziness, as Tyler Colvin hit an RBI single that scored Fowler, however Rosario was tagged out at second base.
The Rockies had a 2-0 lead when the Dodger offense showed signs of waking up offensively with Shane Victorino who singled to left. After Mark Ellis walked, Victorino advanced to second base. Matt Kemp stepped up and hit a huge 3-run homer deep to left center that gave the Dodgers the 3-2 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
“I really haven’t been hitting too well with runners in scoring position the last couple of days, so I needed to do something to help us get the momentum going. We haven’t been getting runs in the first couple of innings, so we definitely got to start putting runs on the board early and put pressure on the other team. The home run put some runs on the board early and gave Chad a little cushion” said Kemp.
Billingsley settled down, and seemed to be focused until the top of the fourth inning with one on, DJ LeMahieu crushed a single to left that scored Jordan Pacheco and tied the game at 3-3.
The bottom of the fifth inning the Dodgers played chess with reliever Carlos Torres, as Victorino connected on a single to right field. Victorino beat the throw to steal second base. Ellis was walked, and once again Kemp reached on a single that loaded the bases. With an offensive threat at the plate like Hanley Ramirez, Torres panicked as he eventually walked Ramirez which scored Victorino and gave the Dodgers the lead 4-3. Once again with the bases loaded, this time Torres was able to focus and cause Juan Rivera to hit into a timely double play to end the inning.
The Dodgers were far from done, just an inning later with Matt Treanor on second base, Victorino slugs a clutch single that scored Treanor. Ellis continued his hitting frenzy as he connected on an RBI single that scored Victorino who ran all the way from first to beat the tag at home plate.
With two on base in the seventh inning, Dodger manager Don Mattingly decided it was time to give Billingsley the night off and brought in reliever Ronald Belisario.
Belisario did not start off strong either as Young singled to right, and thanks to a throwing error by Andre Either, LeMahieu who was third base decided to make a run for home and was safe at the plate, as the Dodgers still lead 6-4. After that, Belisario was flawless the in the next two inning that set it up perfectly for closer Kenley Jansen to close out the game and bring home the win.
Jansen was sensational in the ninth inning as he got Young to pop up at shortstop and the Dodgers held on to defeat the Rockies 6-4. Jansen picked his 22nd save on the season.
Rockies outfielder Eric Young Jr., talked about making history with his inside the park homer, “I put a good swing on it, saw the trajectory of it, and immediately put my head down thinking it was at least going to be a double. I knew he missed it, and rounding second I saw the third base coach was waving his arms like crazy, so I knew he was going for it and I wanted to make a final stretch for it.”
Chad Billingsley (8-9) pitched six solid inning, gave up four hits with five strikeouts. Bilingsley has an impressive 2.02 ERA in his last four starts after going 0-5 in his previous five starts. Carlos Torres (1-1) picked up the loss as he pitched two innings, giving up five hits, with one strikeout and three runs.
Tuesday night did not prove well for the Dodgers as they placed both their potential NL MVP Matt Kemp on the 15 day DL and Juan Uribe for a wrist injury. Chad Billingsley had the tall task of continuing the home streak at Dodgers Stadium against Wade Miley and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Billingsley looked pretty well on the mound until the second inning with the bases loaded and two outs, Gerardo Parra walked that scored Jason Kubel and advanced A Hill to third base. Billingsley got Willie Bloomquist to fly out to center to end the inning.
Miley continued to pitch solid, and the Diamondback offense made sure they gave him plenty of run support, unfortunately at the expense of Billingsley where Arizona exploded in the fifth inning. Bloomquist singled to left, that moved Wade Miley to third base. Justin Upton reached on infield single to shortstop that scored pitcher Wade Miley, Bloomquist and Parra moved to third and second base respectfully. Then Miguel Montero singled to center, which scored Parra, and Dodger manager Don Mattingly had obviously seen enough. He retired Billingsley for the evening and sent in Javy Guerra, which didn’t cool off the D-back bats, as Kubel hit an RBI single to right field, that scored Bloomquist.
It wasn’t until the sixth inning that the Dodgers finally got on the board, as Mark Ellis hit a solo home run deep to center scoring what would end up being their only run scored. The Dodgers defense did make a showing as outfielder Andre Either made a spectacular diving catch to rob Upton of a hit.
However in the top of the seventh the D-backs weren’t done scoring either Lyle Overbay hit a big sacrifice fly to left field, that scored Montero to increase the lead 5-1. Arizona came into the game 6-for-30 in bases-loaded situations.
Arizona closer JJ Putz came in for reliever David Hernandez after he allowed Adam Kennedy to double to right field, setting up Dee Gordon. With two outs, Putz got Gorden to foul out to the catcher for the final out and captured the victory over the Dodgers.
Arizona manager Kirk Gibson spoke about his solid pitcher Wade Miley “He just did a great job for us, and that’s what we needed tonight. He had 72 strikes out of 102 pitches. He maybe started laboring a little bit later in the game, but it was big for him to get as far as he did for us. That’s how he’s been pitching all year.”
Chad Billingsley went four innings, eight hits and three strike out and hasn’t picked up a win since that Astros 12-0 blowout in Houston. Wade Miley pitched six and two-third strong innings allowed eight hits, five strikeouts, and one home run.
The Dodgers are currently 24-12 and still lead the rival San Francisco Giants by six game in the NL West division.
*1988 Dodgers Cy Young Award winner and World Series MVP Orel Hershiser threw out a ceremonial first pitch at Dodger Stadium, as it was also Hershiser bobble head night.
*Scott Van Slyke son of former MLB slugger Andy Van Slyke, made his debut in the starting line up for the first time on Tuesday night.
After disappointing 2-1 loss yesterday at Dodger Stadium against their hated rivals the San Francisco Giants, the Dodgers looked to regroup and get aboard their first place winning ways.
On Wednesday Giants Tim Lincecum looked to do battle not against his nemesis Clayton Kershaw, but against Chad Billingsley. Billingsley looked sharp early, until he faced rival pitcher Tim Lincecum who hit a single to help his own cause that scored Joaquin Arias.
Buster Posey RBI single in the third inning extended the Giants’ lead to 2-0.
It wasn’t long until the Dodgers got on board thanks to Bobby Abreu who singled to advance Andre Either to third base. Later Juan Uribe reached out on an infield single that scored Either. In that same inning Tony Gywnn Jr pinched hit for Billingsley, who tripled to right, Abreu, Uribe, and AJ Ellis all score to help the Dodgers take the lead 4-2.
The Dodgers offense didn’t quit in the sixth inning, catcher AJ Ellis tripled to deep center to get on base in scoring position. Scott Van Slyke (son of Pirate great Andy Van Slyke) came in to pinch hit for pitcher Jamey Wright. Van Slyke hit a huge single that scored Ellis.
In the eight inning Uribe showed up again as he doubled to deep center, and with a man on base, James Loney hit an RBI single to left that scored Uribe. With the bases loaded Giants manager Bruce Bouchy decided a change was necessary and Steve Edlefsen relieved Clay Hensley. A very smart move because with Matt Kemp at the plate, Kemp grounded out to shortstop which caused Adam Kennedy to be called out to end the inning.
Kensley Jansen came in to close out the ninth inning, and after walking Gregor Blanco, settled down and for the final out to strike out catcher Buster Posey swinging.
Chad Billingsley lasted just four innings, allowing two runs and seven hits while striking out five and walking four.
Tim Lincecum gave up four runs, eight hits in five innings with eight strike outs.
Dodger reliever Jamey Wright pitched two superb innings and with two strike outs to pick up the victory.
*Dodgers OF/1B Juan Rivera was placed on the 15-day DL due to a significant strained left hamstring, Dodger manager Don Mattingly said earlier he expected Rivera to be out more than two weeks.
Wednesday, was the night many waited for including the family of Clayton Kershaw, the presentation of his 2011 Cy Young Award. In attendance were also Clayton Kershaw’s wife Ellen and family, along with former Cy Young winner Fernando Valenzuela. Valenzuela received a much deserved standing ovation from the Dodger fan crowd, as did Kershaw when he raised his award up in celebratory fashion.
The 27 year old right hander Chad Billingsley was lights out the first two innings, Pirates pitcher Erik Bedard also kept the Dodgers scoreless.
In the third inning Billingsley seemed to lose some focus as he gave up a home run to Clint Barmes out in left field for the Pirates to take the early 1-0. Billinsley seem to maintain his composer enough to get out of the inning without any further damage.
Bedard walked M Ellis, allowed Matt Kemp to single to second causing Ellis to move to second base. Juan Rivera steps up and hits a big single causing Ellis to score and tie the game 1-1.
The Dodgers continue to give Billingsley more run support as Kemp singled to left center off Bedard in the sixth inning. Rivera reached on an infield single moving Kemp to second. Andre Either slugged an RBI single, causing Kemp to score and capture the lead 2-1.
In the eight inning Tony Watson came in relieve, but quickly gave a double to Gordon. Watson was replaced by Meek who didn’t couldn’t be worse as he gave up hits to Rivera and Tony Gywnn Jr to extend the Dodger lead 4-1.
Guerra relieved Jensen in the ninth to record the save and secure the victory for the Dodgers. Billingsley struck out five, no walks and one home run to remain perfect at 2-0.
Andre Either spoke about the solid performance of his pitcher, “He really trusts his stuff. He’s pounding the strike zone and making guys miss. And when he gets in a jam, he figures out a way to get out of it — either with a big double-play ball or by forcing contact with a guy and coming out on top. It’s nice to play defense behind him because there’s not too many balls hit to you.”
Bedard gave up two runs and eight hits in five-plus innings and only struck out three in the loss. He has yet to win a game this season, after suffering his first loss at the hands of Roy Halladay.
*50 years ago the Dodgers played their very first night game in Dodger Stadium. Jim Gilliam hit the first home run on April 11, 1962.
SAN DIEGO, CA – After a sensational start for Opening Day, the Dodgers look to keep the momentum as the face their neighbors from the south the Padres, in an evening showdown.
Chad Billingsley had a tall task at hand, yet was recharged and ready for the challenge, just a day after Cy Young Winner Clayton Kershaw came out of the opener due to stomach flu. Padres pitcher Cory Luebke didn’t start out well, after having Dodger hitters Mark Ellis and Juan Rivera on first and second base. With two outs in the first inning Andre Either hit a double to right center allowing Ellis and Rivera to score, Dodgers led 2-0.
Ellis hit a double, then Matt Kemp hit an infield single, with Padres third baseman Chase Headley’s throw pulling first baseman Yonder Alonso off the bag. Ellis made a move to slide home, Alonso made a bad throw, for an error which allowed Kemp to move to second base in the third inning. Thanks to Luebke lackluster throw, the attempt to pick off Kemp failed, as he was able to move to third. Rivera hit a single, that scored Kemp, Dodgers led 4-0.
Billingsley continued to dominate, punishing the Padres, as he continued to receive run support from his fellow Dodger hitters.
Luebke walks Rivera, Kemp hits a single, and now with runners in scoring position Andre Either comes to the plate. With two outs in the fifth inning, Either knocked a triple off the right field fence, scoring Rivera and Kemp to make increase the lead 6-0.
The Padres would go on to make two more errors in the game, which brought the total of five errors in two games.
Billingsley continued to put the pressure on the Padres as he continued to keep them off balance all night with strikes, throwing a series of change ups and sliders.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was anxious to get Billingsley relieve in the ninth inning. Billingsley knew if he allowed a hit or a run, that he would be yanked immediately. As he faced Cameron Maybin who singled with one out, Mattingly came out to get his perfect pitcher for the night. Billingsley didn’t seem bothered by it, as he retired 11 batters, allowed three hits on 108 pitches in his shutout season debut. Dodger fans were not happy at all by the Mattingly move, as there were boos from the Dodger faithful.
Jamey Wright got the save as the Dodger defeated the Padres 6-0, who were shut out so far twice this season. Last season they set a major league record being shut out 19 times.
Padres manager Bud Black spoke about Billingsley’s perfect performance “Tonight was probably as good as I’ve seen him from start to finish, throwing the ball extremely well to both sides of the plate and mixing pitches.”
“It was just one of those days that everything felt really good. Good tempo, good rhythm out there” Billingsley speaking about his performance.
Dodger manager Don Mattingly talked about why he didn’t allow Billingsley to finish the game “You just can’t do it first time out. I’m not going to let him run up to 120 the first time out of the gate. He’s probably been to 103 or something this year in spring training. He wanted to go back out in the ninth, but it was like, if anybody got on there our biggest nightmare was having to get six or eight pitches to get an out.”
The Dodgers continue their quest of perfection as they take on the Padres on Saturday, sending Chris Capuano to the mound against a sharp Dustin Moseley.