Dodgers 2, Astros 0

Big-time performance from Chad Billingsley, who shut out the Astros on three hits over 7 1/3 innings, ran his record to 4-0 in four starts this season and sliced his ERA to 2.05. This guy is really blossoming into a true staff ace, and it couldn’t come at a better time with Hiroki Kuroda on the DL and the bullpen so shaky that starters almost HAVE to pitch deep into games. Billingsley hasn’t failed one time this year to give the Dodgers at least six, and tonight he became just the second Dodgers starter this year (Randy Wolf on April 12) to pitch into the eighth. I must say, though, that the Chadster is getting a bit sensitive when it comes to the postgame questions. I asked him what the difference has been this year, and he was quick with this answer:
“I pitched well last year, too.”
Well, yes, you did. But you didn’t pitch like this. Without looking into what some of the other guys around the league are doing, I have to say this guy is at least a strong candidate for N.L. Pitcher of the Month honors. And if he keeps this up, he has an excellent chance of winning more games than he did last year, when he led the team with 16 victories.
it also was a big night for Jonathan Broxton, who hadn’t pitched since last Friday. Just as he was then, he was asked to get five outs. This time, it was a little more adventurous, what with the tying runs being in scoring position when the game ended, but he never blinked. He appears to have developed into a big-time closer, with the unflappable personality to match. He credits his WBC experience with that, because he pitched well under what he says was the enormous pressure of representing the USA. Whatever the reason, he is a different pitcher than what he has been in past seasons.
Dodgers go to 11-5 and now lead the Pods by 1 1/2. At the Rockies tomorrow, Eric Stults against Aaron Cook. Dodgers dominated the Rockies in a three-game sweep last weekend, but the Rox are a different team at Coors Field. Game starts at 6:10 L.A. time.
By the way, Kuroda did throw off a mound before the game and will do so again on Saturday.

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  • Marcel

    I don’t blame Chad for being sensitive about those questions. Not at all. He was absolutely great last year from May through the NLDS, doing everything from a CG shutout to winning a game when the Dodgers didn’t even get a hit.

    And yet, throughout the off season, beat writers alike would constantly opine that the Dodgers “didn’t have anything close to a legitimate ace”, etc. Thankfully, he’s CONTINUING to prove all of the non-believers wrong. This is nothing new. We’re talking about a 24-year-old who posted a 135 ERA+ over 200 innings last year. That was better than “legit ace” Jake Peavy.

  • cheba63

    Exactly Marcel, aside from his slow start(was terrible in ST too) and finish, he was dominant like this last year, and is most definitely an ace.

  • GScott

    Anyone else think an ideal trade partner after June 15th if we need bullpen help still would be Boston? They have so many pitchers there’s no way they can find innings for them all. Maybe a trade back for good old Takashi Saito for the stretch run? Just thinking.

  • Denton True

    Nothing personal Jackson but, yeah, that isn’t a very good question. It’s one of those banal questions that writers seem to think they have to ask but for the most part, readers don’t really care about. At best it’s usually going to elicit a canned or cliched response. At worst, it’s going to insult the subject, especially if he feels he wasn’t any worse last year.

  • SC1

    Tony,

    I like and respect Russell Martin as a leader and a solid defensive catcherbut is he really a #5 hitter in this line-up? I dont understand why Kemp is batting seventhwe all know that off-speed pitches are a weakness for himso why not put him right behind a guy who is constantly on base, Ethier? Swapping Russell for Kemp will still give Torre the left/right alignment that hes looking for with Loney in the middle. Do you have any insights or thoughts on this?

    Thanks.

    Rich

  • Luke McCain

    Why didn’t you ask Billz why he starts off every answer in an interview with “I mean…”

  • cheba63

    Luke, haha, I’m sure it’s just a nervous habit. I always feel bad watching him getting interviewed, as he seems so uncomfortable doing it.

  • GScott

    He’ll get used to it. He’s stuck with us for a couple more years. Billingsley should ask Torre for a couple pointers on answering questions from the media. You know, answer every question honestly, thoroughly and thoughtfully without ever actually saying anything. Joe’s a pro.

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    It’s early, and I haven’t seen Takashi Saito pitch this year. But based on the following stats, I have serious doubts that he’s the answer.

    http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/stats/individual_stats_player.jsp?c_id=bos&playerID=493416

  • Old Brooklyn Fan

    Bilz is right, he did pitch well last year and with a little more offensive help he might’ve won 20 games.
    He sure looked great last night and they could see him all the way out here in Brooklyn, even without a computer, on MLB Network.
    Broxton too, with his 100MPH heater and the most important weapon he now possesses, a curve ball, his pitch isn’t just going straight to the plate with very little movement. It now has movement and now Jon is really big and bad.

  • El Lay Dave

    Tony wrote a day or so ago: “But it dawns on me that the ONLY reason [Jeff Weaver] didn’t make the team out of spring training was that there wasn’t a 40-man roster spot available.”

    Belisario wasn’t on the 40-man either and management chose to make a spot available for him. In other words, coming out of ST, they picked Belisario over Weaver, ergo, Weaver didn’t make the team because Belisario beat him out (for whatever reason).

  • BlueCrew88

    For those interested, since Tony is slacking tonight

    1. R. Furcal, SS
    2. O. Hudson, 2B
    3. M. Ramirez, LF
    4. A. Ethier, RF
    5. J. Loney, 1B
    6. M. Kemp, CF
    7. C. Blake, 3B
    8. B. Ausmus, C
    9. E. Stults, P

    =0P

    This is how the lineup should always look – of course, with Martin instead of Ausmus. That should go without saying.

  • GScott

    Assuming McDonald figures it out and Stults/whoever can keep being servicable, would it be reasonable to use Kuroda as our 7/8th inning guy so we can stop watching Kuo throw belt-high fastballs?

  • GScott

    Scratch that, my moment of dumbness.

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    Old Brooklyn,

    You can also see the Dodgers on TV (w/o computer) if you subscribe to MLB Extra Innings, which you can order through your cable provider, which I assume is Cablevision. I believe it’s also available on Direct TV.

    I subscribe to both MLB.TV and MLB Extra Innings.

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    If anyone is thinking about Josh Lindblom, don’t expect to see him anytime soon. He’s still a solid prospect, but has been struggling of late. The regular season, even in the minor leagues, is a lot different than spring training. I also believe he is working on a splitter and change in order to expand his repertoire beyond the fastball and slider. Here are his stats to date:

    http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?n=Josh%20Lindblom&pos=P&sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=458676

  • Old Brooklyn Fan

    I have subscribed to MLB extra inning for several years.
    But not this year.
    I was talking about those who generally would not go through to much trouble to see the Dodgers, except when they are on regular T.V. and happened to have MLB Network.
    I’m O.K. with just MLB.TV this year even with the problems of HD.