May 22

Can John Ely keep it going?


Jeff Gross/ALLSPORT
Luke Prokopec is fifth all time in major-league innings pitched by an Australian native.

Nine years ago, at the age of 23, Luke Prokopec began the 2001 season with the following three starts:

Date IP H R ER BB SO ERA
4/6 7.67 4 1 1 0 7 1.17
4/21 6.00 6 2 2 0 5 3.00
4/27 7.00 6 3 3 0 5 3.86
Total 20.67 16 6 6 0 17 2.61

Prokopec was a sight for sore eyes in a starting rotation that at the start of 2001, except for Kevin Brown, was a mixed bag, with Eric Gagne and Darren Dreifort each posting April ERAs of around 5.00.

However, Prokopec, who walked the leadoff batter in start No. 4 after having faced 78 batters in a row without a free pass, didn’t last the year in the rotation, finishing the season with a 4.61 ERA in 22 starts. That December, newly installed Dodger general manager Dan Evans made the rather prescient decision to trade Prokopec and minor leaguer Chad Ricketts to Toronto for Cesar Izturis and Paul Quantrill.

This trade was personally memorable for me because it was the first time I had ever recognized that it might be a good idea to trade a pitcher who had promise but didn’t have great strikeout totals – Prokopec was at 5.9 per nine innings. If I recall correctly, there were those who felt the Dodgers should have traded Gagne, who was 25 with a 4.75 ERA.

As it turned out, the following season was miserable for Prokopec, who had a 6.78 ERA and battled serious arm trouble. He made his last major-league appearance August 23 of that year.

So yeah, I went there. I’m telling the cautionary tale, that just because a young pitcher rips off three starts without walking anyone and looks like he can make the baseball do his bidding, doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed a bright future.

Having gotten that out of the way, let me just say that I couldn’t be more excited about John Ely’s next start, coming today in the Dodger Stadium shadows before a Fox audience. I hope in a matter of hours, the whole nation is catching Elymania.

* * *

Rafael Furcal had a good day in an extended Spring Training game today, Joe Torre told reporters, and is on track to be activated Sunday or Tuesday.

Torre added that Andre Ethier has begun hitting off a tee and is progressing.

The Dodgers don’t need to start their fifth starter again until Saturday, but might do so Friday to give Hiroki Kuroda an extra day off. Monday’s off day is the Dodgers’ last before a stretch of 17 games in a row heading into June 10.

May 22

Manny Ramirez: Still never a dull moment


Lori Shepler/AP
The Manny Ramirez ballet

Sore-toed Manny Ramirez trod gingerly in the outfield Friday, allowing two fly balls to fall for half of the four hits Chad Billingsley allowed. And he hasn’t homered in his past 56 plate appearances, since his game-winning pinch-hit shot against San Francisco on April 18. Since coming off the disabled list, he’s on-basing .419 but slugging .324.

But he still hits the ball real hard, as John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press writes:

Brandon Inge said it was the hardest ball ever to hit him at third base.

“And Larry Bowa (the Dodgers third-base coach) told me that it in his 40-plus years of professional baseball, he’d never seen a ball hit that hard to third base,” Inge said. …

This moment, perhaps as much as any stat or rave that Ramirez has been able to garner, advertised his abilities at the plate.

The ball caromed behind Inge at an angle past deep shortstop and into short centerfield. It might have gone farther after it hit Inge than before it hit him.

You know how Don Kelly has started at both third base and centerfield for the Tigers this season? Ramirez singled to third base and centerfield on the same play.

After the game, Inge pointed to the baseball-sized red welt on his right shin. It was his souvenir of the play. …

* * *

  • Houston Astros ace Roy Oswalt has requested a trade. I’m not expecting the Dodgers to be in on it, but Eric Stephen explores how they could theoretically afford him at True Blue L.A.
  • When I listen to classical music, it’s basically either pretty or not pretty. I’m wondering what it would be like to actually be this analytical about it, and whether I’d agree or disagree with the review.
  • Tweet o’ the Night, from @reflectnsofblue:
  • “After 9 1/2 years with my lady, I’m finally(!) getting married tomorrow. Now I know how AJ Ellis felt tonight.”

May 21

Billingsley, Dodgers in tip-top condition, 4-1


Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Chad Billingsley has allowed two runs or less in six of nine starts this season.

Boy, how rewarding is it to see Chad Billingsley be on such a roll. And of course, how rewarding must it feel for him.

Oh – and I suppose the Dodgers are enjoying being in first place, too.

Billingsley continued his roll in pitching the Dodgers to a 4-1 interleague victory over Detroit tonight, the team’s 11th win in their past 12 games. With San Diego and San Francisco both getting pummeled tonight, the Dodgers were poised to find themselves atop the National League West (tied with the Padres but ahead in head-to-head competition), a mere 13 days after their 8-0 loss to Colorado had them six games off the pace and in last place.

Billingsley threw 105 pitches over seven innings, allowing two singles, two doubles and two walks while striking out five. (Both doubles were arguably catchable balls that Manny Ramirez couldn’t haul in.) Billingsley now has a 3.66 ERA on the season, 2.39 in his past six starts covering 37 2/3 innings.

His toughest challenge came right at the start, when Tigers leadoff hitter Austin Jackson doubled at the end of a 10-pitch at-bat. Jackson came around to score on two productive outs, and that was it for Detroit. Twice they got runners on first and second with two out, in the third and fourth innings, but Billingsley got the next batter each time. He retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced in the game.

In contrast, Dontrelle Willis had allowed only one hit and no walks among the first 12 batters he faced, but was in trouble the rest of the way and didn’t make it through six innings. The first jam for Willis began with two out in the bottom of the fourth, when he gave up a single and two walks before hitting Nick Green with a bases-loaded pitch that tied the game.

The next batter, A.J. Ellis, making his first start since April 27, hit the ball on a line but right to second baseman Danny Worth for the third out. But in the fifth, Willis gave up two more runs, and then Ellis got his revenge in the sixth with an RBI single. (Ellis got robbed of two more RBI in the eighth – potential insurance runs – when his liner to right was speared by Miguel Cabrera.)

Reed Johnson had a perfect night for the Dodgers with a walk, a single and two doubles, and Jonathan Broxton struck out the side on 14 pitches for the save.

* * *

James McDonald allowed four runs over seven innings tonight in Albuquerque’s 10-4 victory over Las Vegas. He gave up nine hits and no walks while striking out eight. Las Vegas scored two in the fifth and two in the sixth.

Chin Lung Hu went 2 for 4 with his first homer of the season, and is now OPSing .815 in May after a terrible April.

* * *

The Dodgers will skip the No. 5 slot in their rotation and start Clayton Kershaw in Chicago on Tuesday, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. The Dodgers will next need a fifth starter May 29 in unfriendly Colorado.

May 21

Dodgers face a Detroit medley


Christine Cotter/AP
Miguel Cabrera is slugging at a career-best .603 rate.

It’s always a test when the Dodgers face an American League team. That won’t change tonight, though it’s an uneven Detroit Tigers team the Dodgers will face.

Five members of the Detroit offense are hitting the ball very hard. Miguel Cabrera (1.030 OPS/175 OPS+) is moidering the ball, while Brennan Boesch (.987/161), Magglio Ordonez (.878/137), Johnny Damon (.840/127), and Austin Jackson (.825/122) are no slouches. Carlos Guillen (.834/125) is on the disabled list.

The Tiger offense is weak at catcher (Gerald Laird/Alex Avila), third base (Brandon Inge), shortstop (Adam Everett/Ramon Santiago) and second base (starter Scott Sizemore was demoted to the minors last weekend). Because its outfielder/first base/DH types don’t play those other positions, it looks as though the Tigers are stuck with four great bats and four lesser ones when they take the field tonight.

Rain on Monday pushed Tigers ace Justin Verlander’s most recent start ahead a day and his next one to next week, meaning the Dodgers will avoid him. Verlander has been the only above-average pitcher in the Tiger starting rotation this season. Tonight, the Dodgers get the enigmatic Dontrelle Willis (4.68 ERA), who pitched six shutout innings against Minnesota April 29 but has allowed seven runs in his past 8 2/3 innings (over two starts).

Detroit has won seven of its past 10, while the Dodgers have won 10 of their past 11.

* * *

  • Introducing Jamie Enterprises (via 6-4-2). I have to apologize but I had a laugh when I got to the part in her bio about her being “an avid swimmer.” Indeed.
  • At Dodger Divorce, Josh Fisher outlines the concern that I had before the McCourts bought the Dodgers. “Anyone Else” is not always the better option.
  • The “In Beard We Trust” T-shirts from The Left Field Pavilion are becoming a phenomenon.
  • The Dodgers released Josh Towers from Albuquerque and moved Seth Etherton into the Isotopes starting rotation, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Trying to make a comeback into the big leagues, Towers had an 8.05 ERA.
  • Blue Heaven passes along the news that Dotttie Kamenshek, the inspiration for Geena Davis’ character in “A League of Their Own,” passed away this week.

Update: Joe Sheehan writes for SI.com on how interleague play affects the National League West: “The Dodgers’ interleague schedule is brutal. As always they play the Angels twice, plus they see the Red Sox, Yankees and Tigers. Only the last-place Diamondbacks also get the Red Sox and Yankees. The Padres and Giants get both the Jays and Orioles, while playing just one of the top three AL East teams each. That’s a huge schedule edge, especially for the Padres, who get six games against the Mariners to boot.”

May 20

Unsung Jamey Carroll boosts Kershaw, Dodgers: 4-1


Mark J. Terrill/AP
Casey Blake and Jamey Carroll congratulate each other after Carroll’s sacrifice fly in the second inning tonight.

Just two seasons ago, Rafael Furcal went down with an injury, and the Dodgers were saddled with Angel Berroa as their primary shortstop – which wasn’t very pretty.

However, with Furcal out for more than half of the 2010 season to date, the Dodgers have been much more fortunate. Jamey Carroll, whose signing I’ve questioned, has at least for now more than shown his value.  The 36-year-old Carroll had two more hits and two RBI in tonight’s 4-1 Dodger victory, raising his season on-base percentage to .391.  He has only three extra-base hits in 115 plate appearances, so he’s hardly an unqualified success. But still, his consistent OBP has given the Dodgers a threat at the bottom of the order, and that combined with his steady if rangeless defense has given Dodger fans one less thing to fret over in this down-and-up season.

Carroll, amusingly, also had his career-high fourth sacrifice fly tonight – not long ago, I made a point in the Dodger Thoughts comments about how rare it was for him to hit sacrifice flies, and since then he’s gone on a sac fly tear, with all four in the past 16 days.

In fact, three of the four Dodger runs in support of Clayton Kershaw came in without the benefit of a hit: scoring fly balls by Carroll and Anderson, and a wild pitch by Kevin Correia. Kershaw had his usual first-inning walk but delivered his sixth quality start of his past seven, going 7 1/3 innings and allowing seven hits and two walks while striking out seven. Kershaw has pitched at least seven innings in three straight games for the first time in his career, and lowered his season ERA to 3.23.

With two out in the top of the ninth, Jonathan Broxton faced nemesis Matt Stairs with a chance to close out the game. Broxton sent him fishin’ on four pitches, and the Dodgers won their 10th game in their past 11 to move back within a game of first place, leapfrogging San Francisco in the process.

May 20

Kershaw LX: Kershawlsbury Hill

The Dodger offense’s best friend and big toe, Manny Ramirez, is out of the starting lineup for the second night in a row.

Update: Joe Torre told reporters before tonight’s game that Ramirez hit in the cage, but that the foot hurts when he puts pressure on it. Ramirez is again available to pinch-hit.

Other comments: The Dodgers haven’t decided whether to skip the No. 5 spot in the rotation next week. Carlos Monasterios or Ramon Ortiz will make that start if needed. No one in the minors is currently a candidate.

About James McDonald, Torre said: “Development sometimes takes funny turns, it’s about consistency and confidence. His tools and his body are there, it’s all about pitching and his mentality.”

Vicente Padilla is progressing but still won’t be back until mid-June at the earliest.

May 19

Padres slam Ortiz if you please, Padres slam Ortiz if you don’t please


AP/US Presswire
Adrian Gonzalez raised his career numbers against Ramon Ortiz to 7 for 13 with four walks and two homers – and finished the night with six RBI.

Joe Torre gave Ramon Ortiz another start tonight for the Dodgers, despite Ortiz pitching rather poorly in San Diego last week – not that I think anyone was all that surprised by Torre’s decision. Allowing three runs in four innings in pitching-friendly San Diego was nothing to be proud of, but Torre seemed to feel not only that it was a reasonable first effort, but that it outshone the four innings of one-run ball that Carlos Monasterios gave the Dodgers against Pittsburgh two weeks earlier.

This isn’t anything to start lighting effigies over, but the lack of a second chance for Monasterios is a bit vexing in light of the unexpected success that John Ely has had. While there’s no certainty that Ely can maintain his outstanding performance to date, no one wants to jump off that train just yet. Why Torre was so quick to get off Monasterios’ choo-choo to get on Ortiz’s doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Remember, though, that even Ely’s second start was delayed so that Torre could give Charlie Haeger one more opportunity – one that ended up rather disastrous for the knuckleballer. And so maybe, Torre’s rope for Ortiz will be cut now that the 37-year-old righty has followed up that last start against San Diego with a stinker in tonight’s 10-5 defeat: 3 1/3 innings, five runs, six hits, three walks, one strikeout. Ortiz now has a 6.30 ERA (thanks in small part to Ramon Troncoso, who allowed an inherited run to score and gave up two homers in a five-run fourth). Monasterios, after throwing three shutout innings tonight, is at 1.90.

James McDonald or Scott Elbert should be grabbing that No. 5 spot in the rotation, but they haven’t. I might just throw McDonald out there to see what happens, but in their absence, it’s time for Monasterios to get another shot – not with the expectation that he’ll give you six innings, but that he’ll keep the score more manageable in the early going than Ortiz would. With the rest of the Dodger starting pitching having stabilized, the Dodgers can afford this. Whether the Dodgers next use a fifth starter on May 25 (after an off day) or May 29 (the next time it’s necessary), Ortiz is no longer the man to bridge the gap between now and Vicente Padilla’s return.

All this being said, the Dodgers hung on for most of tonight’s game despite allowing six RBI to Adrian Gonzalez and five times on base to Will Venable, and despite being down 8-3 after four innings (that took two hours to play). They threatened constantly, tallying 15 baserunners for the game, but simply couldn’t get the big blow, and after George Sherrill allowed two more runs in the ninth, fell to defeat for the first time in 10 games. It cost the Dodgers a chance to move into first place in the National League West. On the other hand, maybe it moved them one step closer to figuring out the starting pitching they’re supposed to have.

* * *

Manny Ramirez was a late scratch from tonight’s starting lineup because of a left foot injury he suffered during pregame warmups, according to Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Ramirez pinch-hit for the Dodgers in the fifth – no further details on the injury were immediately available.

May 19

Rafael Furcal making progress

Rafael Furcal showed progress while running today, Joe Torre told reporters this afternoon, giving the team hope that the shortstop could be activated next week. Torre also said that Vicente Padilla threw 40 long tosses today and will throw on the mound Thursday.

Russell Martin has been the best at his approach that Torre has observed since he became Dodger manager — both at the plate and in the clubhouse. Martin, strangely, is now hitless in 12 at-bats leading off a game but has a hit in every one of those games. He has reached base 21 times in his career-high 13-game hitting streak.

* * *

Paul DePodesta, writing at It Might Be Dangerous … You Go First, thinks there are signs the Padres can sustain their surprising start to the 2010 season.

May 19

Nine in a row …

Under the gun this morning, so my quick recap is this: Dodgers doing well at minimizing damage while maximizing opportunities in each game. The streak is at nine in a row, three teams are within a game of first place in the National League West, and Ramon Ortiz will test the Dodgers’ good fortune tonight.

Link of the morning: “A Game of Failure,” by Brian Akin of Dear (Tommy) John Letters.

May 18

Fractured fairy tales: Andre Ethier to the disabled list


Gary A. Vasquez/US Presswire
Xavier Paul

After three days of hoping and mulling, the Dodgers have placed Andre Ethier on the disabled list with his fractured right pinky-tip (news via an e-mail from the Dodger PR staff), and called up outfielder Xavier Paul from Albuquerque.

Paul has an .808 OPS in 47 career major-league plate appearances. For the Isotopes, he came back from a one-day absence Sunday to go 3 for 5 Monday, raising his minor-league OPS this season to 1.030.

Ethier leads the National League in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, adjusted OPS, total bases, home runs (tied) and RBI.

Elsewhere …

  • More questions about the McCourts are raised by Jon Weinbach of AOL Fanhouse and Josh Fisher of Dodger Divorce. If you like the words “slush fund,” this one’s for you.
  • On this day in 1960, the Dodgers released Boy of Summer hero Carl Furillo, and it did not go smoothly. “I’d like to play,” said Ol’ Skoonj. “But right now my only plans are to go fishing … and see my lawyer.” Details from Keith Thursby at the Daily Mirror.
  • Rich Lederer of Baseball Analysts argues that baseball analysts (hey, there’s that phrase again) should not lump infield flies with other batted balls for BABIP (batting average on balls in play) purposes. Lederer also finds that Clayton Kershaw has been No. 2 in baseball in 2009 and 2010 on strikeouts-plus-popouts per batter faced.
  • Trivia time: Former Dodger Takashi Saito has baseball’s fourth-longest streak of consecutive games (251) to start his career without allowing four runs, according to Stat of the Day. Now in his fifth season, Saito has never let it happen. Tom Niedenfuer (380) is fourth on the all-time list, and George Sherrill is 16th.
  • Former major-leaguer Morgan Ensberg uses a Houston Chronicle sports story to explain why athletes are reluctant to speak frankly to reporters.
  • Want to chat about tonight’s “Lost”? Here’s where to go – down below.

Update: From the Dodger press notes – “Last night, the Dodgers allowed three or fewer runs for the eighth straight game, the first time they have done so while winning all eight contests since June 10-18, 2003. The run also ties the longest such streak for any team managed by Joe Torre in his 29 seasons as a big-league manager. Torre’s 1998 Yankees pulled off this feat from June 2-10 of that year in the midst of a nine-game winning streak and on their way to 114 wins. The Dodgers had a 10-game winning streak while allowing three runs or less from April 20-30, 1980. … Los Angeles hurlers have held the opposition without an extra base in consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 5-6, 2008.”

May 18

‘Lost’ penultimate chat thread

I’ll be at tonight’s Dodger game and won’t see the second-to-last “Lost” until Wednesday. So I thought it would be a good idea to bring back a chat thread for the show tonight.

Remember: No spoilers (including scenes from the finale).

May 17

Elymania! Dodgers 6, Astros 2

Alex Gallardo/AP
John Ely: 24 strikeouts since his last walk.

Well, the infamous eighth inning came, and once again John Ely couldn’t get past it.

I kid, of course. I kid, because I love. Love love love.

The 24-year-old rookie has now faced 84 consecutive batters without walking one – by far the longest active streak in the majors – and more importantly, pitched well enough Monday to lead the Dodgers to their eighth consecutive victory, 4-2 over Houston.

Need someone to tell you what facing Ely is like? Try asking the Astros’ best hitter, Lance Berkman. In the top of the fourth, Berkman worked the count to 3-2 (only the second three-ball count for Ely to that point). Undaunted, Ely offered a tantalizing 76-mph changeup that drew Berkman into swinging early, and he was done. His next time up, with the count 2-2, Ely froze Berkman on an 89-mph fastball.

It’s not about the speed. It’s about the fact that Ely has become a puppetmaster out there.

He struck out a career-high eight in his career-high seven innings – his longest outing ever complemented by his lowest pitch count ever, 97. Allowing two runs, he lowered his season ERA to 3.51 while raising his strikeout total to 25 in 25 2/3 innings, against 25 baserunners.

Not only has Ely not walked anyone in his past 23 innings, he hasn’t allowed an extra-base hit in his past 23 innings.

Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. tweeted that Ely is the first pitcher since Ross Grimsley 1971 to have three starts of at least six innings with no walks out of the first four in his career.

Remarkable.

Ely actually allowed a first-inning run, but the Dodgers came back with three in the bottom of the first off Wandy Rodriguez, aided by a close call at second base that could have been a forceout but instead loaded the bases. James Loney followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the game, and then slumping Casey Blake rapped a shallow double just inside the first-base line to score two more runs (including Matt Kemp, who saw the opportunity in front of him instead of third-base coach Larry Bowa’s stop sign).

Blake DeWitt had two triples to right field tonight (besting Hunter Pence, who was shading him toward center), scoring once to give the Dodgers a 4-1 lead in the fourth, then driving in two with the other to boost the Dodgers’ lead in the eighth to 6-2. It was the 19th time that a Los Angeles Dodger has tripled twice in a game. (I’m sure everyone remembers Eric Anthony matching the feat in a Dodger uniform.)

With Jonathan Broxton taking the night off, Jeff Weaver, George Sherrill and Ramon Troncoso combined for two shutout innings of relief, giving the Dodger bullpen a 0.90 ERA over 20 innings during the winning streak.

Ely, who went out for a pinch-hitter with the Dodgers leading 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh, will continue to be tested, by teams much more challenging than the 2010 Houston Astros, but so far in this riotous world, he’s been like a dose of nature sounds. He’s been as respendently good as Takashi Saito in his first season as a Dodger – only he does it for six innings or more at a time.

“He hasn’t had a bad outing,” Dodger manager Joe Torre said on Prime Ticket after the game. “The first one, the numbers didn’t look very very good, but I thought he competed very well. Tonight, he looked terrific.”

Said Ely: “I’m just going out there with the same game plan – trying to throw strikes and keep the ball down.”

The kid must be on cloud nine.

Update San Diego defeated San Francisco, which means that the Dodgers remain two games out of first place in the National League West but move within half a game of the second-place Giants.

Update 2: Memories of Kevin Malone is among the sites tracking the best of Twitter-based Elymania.

May 17

‘Down in the Treme …’

I just really dig those “Treme” opening credits … anyway, if we get any bad news about Andre Ethier today, try to keep dancing.

  • The Dodgers went nine innings without a hit between sixth innings Saturday and Sunday, yet won both games. The Dodgers had three walks in that time, but were held hitless by Edward Mujica, Joe Thatcher and Wade LeBlanc for 29 batters — the last 3 2/3 innings Saturday and the first 5 1/3 innings Sunday.
  • Russell Martin has an .811 OPS in the No. 1 spot in the batting order this season despite being 0 for 10 leading off games.
  • Dodger pitcher John Ely enters tonight’s game having faced 59 batters since his last walk, notes Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.
  • Ned Colletti gave Tim Dierkes a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Milton Bradley-Andre Ethier trade, as part of the GM Initiation series at MLB Trade Rumors.
  • What’s going on with Casey Blake (besides aging)? Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness wonders.
May 17

Dodgers try to get by on reserve power


Ed Wolfstein/Icon SMI
Ronnie Belliard has an .872 OPS in 12 starts this season. The Dodgers are 5-7 when he is in the starting lineup.

Until further notice — hopefully days but possibly weeks — the Dodgers will be playing without two starting position players, Andre Ethier and Rafael Furcal. It’s the second time this season this has happened: Furcal and Manny Ramirez were both on the sidelines from April 27 through May 7.

Those injuries, combined with scheduled rest for older players and the semi-platooning of Blake DeWitt, have meant there have been 11 games this year in which the Dodgers have started at least three reserves. The Dodgers are 4-7 in those games, averaging 3.5 runs per game.

Los Angeles is 16-10 when it has at least six regulars starting.

Oddly, in games with four or more reserves starting, the Dodgers are 2-2, but in games with three reserves starting, the Dodgers are 2-5.

  • Dodgers 10, Pirates 2 (April 8): Brad Ausmus (C), Ronnie Belliard (3B), Reed Johnson (LF), Garret Anderson (RF)
  • Marlins 6, Dodgers 5 (April 11): A.J. Ellis (C), Ronnie Belliard (3B), Garret Anderson (LF), Reed Johnson (RF)
  • Giants 9, Dodgers 0 (April 17): A.J. Ellis (C), Ronnie Belliard (3B), Jamey Carroll (SS), Garret Anderson (LF)
  • Dodgers 2, Giants 1 (April 18): Ronnie Belliard (1B), Jamey Carroll (2B), Reed Johnson (LF)
  • Nationals 5, Dodgers 1 (April 23): A.J. Ellis (C), Ronnie Belliard (3B), Garret Anderson (LF)
  • Nationals 1, Dodgers 0 (April 25): Ronnie Belliard (2B), Garret Anderson (LF), Reed Johnson (RF)
  • Mets 10, Dodgers 5 (April 27, Game 2): A.J. Ellis (C), Ronnie Belliard (3B), Jamey Carroll (SS), Reed Johnson (LF)
  • Mets 7, Dodgers 3 (April 28): Ronnie Belliard (2B), Jamey Carroll (SS), Xavier Paul (LF)
  • Dodgers 9, Pirates 3 (May 2): Ronnie Belliard (3B), Jamey Carroll (SS), Xavier Paul (LF)
  • Brewers 11, Dodgers 3 (May 5): Ronnie Belliard (2B), Jamey Carroll (SS), Reed Johnson (LF)
  • Dodgers 1, Padres 0 (May 16): Nick Green (2B), Ronnie Belliard (3B), Jamey Carroll (SS), Garret Anderson (LF), Reed Johnson (RF)

Sunday’s 1-0 victory over San Diego was the first time since in nearly three weeks that Joe Torre rested more than one healthy player in the same game. The Dodgers are 3-4 when they rest more than one healthy player (again, keeping in mind that some of these decisions involve a platoon situation).

May 16

Demons be gone: Billingsley, Broxton bookend 1-0 victory


Lenny Ignelzi/AP
Chad Billingsley

It wasn’t just that San Diego was the site of Chad Billingsley’s last foray into the latter third of a baseball game. It’s that the last time it happened, on July 5, Jonathan Broxton had the ignominy of helping Billingsley’s 6-1 ninth-inning lead get away.

But on a day – just like a week ago against Colorado – when the Dodgers needed their pitching staff to keep runs off the board, Billingsley, Broxton and Hong-Chih Kuo came through, shutting out San Diego, 1-0.

Padres starter Wade LeBlanc (1.54 ERA) held Los Angeles hitless for 5 1/3 innings before Russell Martin singled home Jamey Carroll (who had walked for the second time) with the only run of the two-hour, 18-minute game. Despite only one other hit from a Dodger lineup that was missing Andre Ethier, Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake, Blake DeWitt and Rafael Furcal, the pitching made it stand up.

Billingsley was replaced with no runners on base after 7 1/3 innings in which he allowed four hits, one walk and one hit batter while striking out six – all in 95 pitches. Kuo and Broxton retired all five batters they faced, as Dodgers pitchers faced the minimum number of Padres over the final five innings (thanks in part to two double plays in back of Billingsley).

In his past five starts, Billingsley has now gone 30 1/3 innings with a 2.67 ERA and 25 strikeouts, while allowing 38 baserunners (one home run).

After his first inning homer off Ramon Ortiz on Friday, Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez was retired in 12 straight at-bats by Los Angeles.

The Dodgers have won seven straight games and 12 of their past 15 to move within two games of first place in the National League West. Four of the five NL West teams are now over .500.