Billingsley hurls Dodgers to victory

Chad Billingsley gave the critics a rest in his first start of 2012, striking 11 in a dominant 8 1/3 innings while allowing only three hits and one walk in a 6-0 Dodger victory.

Billingsley was only in trouble in the second inning, when he gave up a leadoff double and a one-out walk. But Orlando Hudson grounded into a double play, the Dodgers boosted their lead to 4-0 in the third and Billingsley never looked back.

He struck out his first three batters, retired the side in order in six different innings and set down 16 batters in a row between Will Venable’s leadoff double in the fourth inning and Cameron Maybin’s one-out single in the ninth. That came on Billingsley’s 108th pitch, more than enough with the Dodgers up by half a dozen runs. Jamey Wright relieved Billingsley and used two ground balls to end the game.

Mark Ellis, Matt Kemp, Juan Rivera and Andre Ethier each had two hits, going 8 for 16 with a walk. Ellis had a double, while Ethier had a double and triple that each drove in two runs. Jerry Hairston Jr. also went 1 for 3 with a walk, starting in left field while Rivera played first base and James Loney sat against 27-year-old Padres lefty Cory Luebke, who allowed five earned runs and 10 baserunners (striking out six) in 4 2/3 innings of his first start since signing a four-year, $12 million contract extension in March.

Dee Gordon got his first hit of the season but was called out – incorrectly, according to replays – trying to steal. He is 1 for 10 so far in 2012. Juan Uribe went 0 for 4, while A.J. Ellis was 0 for 3 with a walk.

This was the fifth time Billingsley has struck out 11 in a game. He also has one game of 12 and two career-high games of 13. It was also the second time in less than a year he has thrown at least eight shutout innings against San Diego, including nine months ago in a 1-0 victory over the Padres. Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. notes that Billingsley achieved a career-high Game Score of 87.

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Bill Shaikin of the Times notes the salient details available from the Dodger sale agreement filed in court today. The official price was $1.588 billion, with $412 million going to retire the Dodgers’ debt.

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Haven’t really been publicizing these, but the fourth episode of Young Justice that I was the writer for is scheduled to air Saturday morning.

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    [as I was "LAT'd"] Had to catch up with the game late (on tape delay as it were) but boy, what a masterpiece by Bills. Just as we’d hoped and prayed especially after the flu-shortened stint by Kershaw yesterday.  I know it’s San Diego, he does well there, but his stuff looked superb. Here’s to a hopefully reborn Billingsley — and Ethier. D looks good, too, esp compared to the Padres. Keep it up lads! 

    Btw, just heard ESPN’s BBTN host proclaim how fun it will be to watch the Giants and DBacks battle for first all year.  Honestly, that’s fine by me — would rather the Dodgers be ignored, sneak up on the other guys. Surprise. 

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    Also, was your headline a sneaky reference to yesterday’s Kershaw situation? ;)   This is a far better kind of hurl!

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       Not too sneaky, I’d say …

      • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

        Heh. It sneaked by me the first time anyway, but may have been the 10pm hour.

        Anyway, here’s to less stomach flu and more throwing up… gems like this one. 

        • KT

          Snuck by me @ 0910 in the morning

  • Anonymous

    What a magnificent performance by Bills. And Ethier BTW. Our two big guns after out two big guns are going to have to play like that for us to have a chance. And tonight they did :)

  • Anonymous

    Bills was great tonight, really attacked their hitters. My favorite thing though was Ethier’s triple, he didn’t use to run the bases that hard.  In the past he would have slowed down about first and made that a double, his hustle could be a sign of good things (health and motivation wise) to come

  • Anonymous

    Terrific night by Billingsley.  He worked fast, threw hard, and had great movement on his pitches.  Before I get too excited, however, I want to see him against a team that can hit, in a park smaller than Yellowstone, with a home plate ump who has a normal-sized strike zone.  Give Bills credit – he used all of these factors to his advantage and didn’t get too cute or too careful – but let’s not over-interpret this outcome as much as the critics do when a couple things go wrong.

    Frankly, I was even more excited about Ethier, whatever hitter is wearing Mark Ellis’s uniform, and watching Dee Gordon bounce all over the place.  I think my favorite play in the game was the foul ball behind 3rd base that Gordon didn’t get to.  He looked like he was shot out of a cannon.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jack.huber2 Jack Huber

       I don’t think I have ever seen a SS with his range

    • Anonymous

      “whatever hitter is wearing Mark Ellis’s uniform”

      I laughed. Anyway, with Billingsley, I agree the result shouldn’t be over-interpreted, but getting within two outs of a complete game shutout isn’t going to be the expectation every time out. Going six or seven and allowing three runs or less is okay against the Phillies or the Cards.

    • KT

      He got a nice strawberry on his throwing arm forearm from that play

    • Anonymous

      And Bartlett did hit one that would have gone out of Sequoia.

  • Anonymous

    Boy, who’s likely to get their offense going first – Gordon or Uribe?  Though I believe anyone would give the edge to Gordon, they both look so over-matched  at the plate.

    I am also quite amused by the different approaches between AJ Ellis and Juan Uribe.  Both don’t hit much, but AJ looks so patient at the plate.  It was never so apparent to me than in their final at bats of tonight’s game with Uribe hacking at the first pitch and AJ letting balls out of the strike zone just sail by.

  • Anonymous

    Bills did not look like a No. 2 starter last night. He looked like a No. 1.

  • http://twitter.com/nrmnbates Eric Enders

    For whatever reason, Billingsley was getting swings and misses tonight instead of the huge number of foul balls he usually generates. Let’s hope it continues that way.

    • foul tip

       A Padre said he’d faced Bills maybe 100 times and never seen him pitch like that.  Bills talked about using his slider to one side of the plate, his cutter to the other.  TMI for future opposing hitters?

      Could be he has decided to be more pragmatic…stay with what works instead of hard-headedly continuing to throw  a pitch, the cutter,  that isn’t always working.  He said in ST that sometimes it just spun instead of moving like he wanted. 

      • KT

        that was Chase Headley who said that…He’s one of their better hitters

      • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

        I think Bills mentioned not using his cutter as much in general. That plus the slight adjustment he’s made working with Honeycutt, and, well the results in game 1 were pretty stunning. But yes, let’s see him do it consistently before we get TOO excited. I am hopeful, however, and rooting for him!

    • Anonymous

      I think part of the reason was the ump’s huge strike zone.  That obliged hitters to swing at balls off the plate.  It’s easy to make guys miss if they swing at pitches they can’t reach.  The other part was good late movement, I think.

  • Anonymous

    Higher than WBB, at 30k feet over the Pacific, missed the first two games of the season.  Nice way to get out of the chute in San Cally Ding Dong.

    • KT

      When will you be back to participate in the game chats with us? Missed your humor

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Jonathan Broxton should be making his first official Royals appearance in the next 30 minutes or so.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OUJMQBBWBBMHKMC4R4G5JEAQ7Q Anonymous

    Nice Young Justice ep.