Chad Billingsley and the truth about meltdown innings

Cardinals at Dodgers, 5:05 p.m.

Mark Ellis had emergency surgery Saturday, will be out at least six weeks.

Tony Gwynn Jr., CF
Elian Herrera, 2B
Bobby Abreu, LF
Andre Ethier, RF
Adam Kennedy, 3B
James Loney, 1B
A.J. Ellis, C
Justin Sellers, SS
Chad Billingsley, P

Chad Billingsley, who pitches tonight for the Dodgers against the Cardinals on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, has a reputation for being exceptionally prone to having a single inning where everything goes wrong and he can’t stop the bleeding, with questions about his mental focus and fortitude inevitably following.

For a while, I’ve wondered how much more often this actually happened to Billingsley than to other pitchers. I finally decided to take a look. (You can see the data at the bottom of this post.)

Since 2010, Billingsley has had what we’ll call a meltdown inning – three or more earned runs allowed – in 5.4 percent of his innings. That is the highest figure among the four starters most used by the Dodgers, topping Ted Lilly (4.4 percent), Hiroki Kuroda (4.0 percent) and Clayton Kershaw (3.2 percent).

How significant is this?

Every 10 starts, Billingsley has one more meltdown inning than the best pitcher in the National League does. The difference between Billingsley and Kershaw in this category is approximately two bad innings out of every 100. Given that these guys pitch roughly 200 innings a year, you’re talking about four additional bad innings per year – which goes a long way toward explaining the difference in their ERAs (2.49 for Kershaw, 3.88 for Billingsley) since 2010.

Billingsley is not as good a pitcher as Kershaw. That much is clear, and it’s reflected in the fact that Billingsley is a bit more vulnerable to a bad inning than Kershaw is. But this idea that Billingsley is uniquely prone to the meltdown inning – that it’s practically his calling card – is harder to sell.

Last year, for example, Billingsley and Kuroda each made 31 starts. They each had eight innings in which they allowed three runs. They each had two innings in which they allowed four runs. And yet even though a higher percentage of Kuroda’s 2012 runs allowed came in his meltdown innings, Kuroda did not leave the Dodgers with remotely the reputation for this sort of thing that Billingsley has. In fact, many argue that Kuroda’s mental game is a strength of his.

Since 2010, 80 of the 183 earned runs Billingsley has allowed have come in those 23 meltdown innings (43.7 percent). In that same span, 53 of the 138 earned runs Kershaw has allowed have come in his 16 meltdown innings (38.4 percent). Billingsley is worse than Kershaw, but Kershaw is nearly every bit as likely to give up the runs he does allow in bunches.

To the extent that Billingsley does give up the most meltdown innings of any regularly used Dodger starting pitcher, his reputation is deserved. But he doesn’t do it so often that he should wear it like an albatross, that it should become a “here we go again” moment each time it happens. Not when out of every hundred innings, Billingsley does it five times and Kershaw does it three.

Even the best Dodger pitchers give up runs in bunches. That’s just kind of how baseball works.

2012 (innings of three, four, five, six and seven earned runs allowed):

Pitcher Starts Innings ERA Three Four Five Six Seven Total Start% IP%
Billingsley 8 44.67 3.83 1 1       2 25.0% 4.5%
Capuano 8 50.00 2.34   1       1 12.5% 2.0%
Harang 8 49.33 3.83 2         2 25.0% 4.1%
Kershaw 9 61.67 1.90 2         2 22.2% 3.2%
Lilly 7 45.33 1.79 1         1 14.3% 2.2%
Total 40 251.00 2.69 6 2 0 0 0 8 20.0% 3.2%

2011:

Pitcher Starts Innings ERA Three Four Five Six Seven Total Start% IP%
Billingsley 32 188.00 4.21 5 4 2     11 34.4% 5.9%
De La Rosa 10 55.67 3.88 2   1     3 30.0% 5.4%
Ely 1 5.67 6.35           0 0.0% 0.0%
Eovaldi 6 32.00 3.09     1     1 16.7% 3.1%
Eveland 5 29.67 3.03 1 1       2 40.0% 6.7%
Garland 9 54.00 4.33 2     1   3 33.3% 5.6%
Kershaw 33 233.33 2.28 6 1       7 21.2% 3.0%
Kuroda 32 202.00 3.07 4 2       6 18.8% 3.0%
Lilly 33 192.67 3.97 6 3       9 27.3% 4.7%
Total 161 993.00 3.41 26 11 4 1 0 42 26.1% 4.2%

2010:

Pitcher Starts Innings ERA Three Four Five Six Seven Total Start% IP%
Billingsley 31 191.67 3.57 8 2       10 32.3% 5.2%
Ely 18 100.00 5.49 10 1       11 61.1% 11.0%
Haeger 6 23.00 9.78 2   1     3 50.0% 13.0%
Kershaw 32 204.33 2.91 6       1 7 21.9% 3.4%
Kuroda 31 196.33 3.39 8 2       10 32.3% 5.1%
Lilly 12 76.67 3.52 2 1 1     4 33.3% 5.2%
McDonald 1 5 7.20           0 0.0% 0.0%
Monasterios 13 53.33 5.91 3         3 23.1% 5.6%
Ortiz 2 7.33 9.82     1     1 50.0% 13.6%
Padilla 16 95.00 4.07 2 3       5 31.3% 5.3%
Total 162 952.67 3.99 41 9 3 0 1 54 33.3% 5.7%

2010-12:

2010-12 Starts Innings ERA Three Four Five Six Seven Total Start% IP%
Billingsley 71 424.33 3.88 14 7 2     23 32.4% 5.4%
Capuano 8 50.00 2.34   1       1 12.5% 2.0%
De La Rosa 10 55.67 3.88 2   1     3 30.0% 5.4%
Ely 19 105.67 5.54 10 1       11 57.9% 10.4%
Eovaldi 6 32.00 3.09     1     1 16.7% 3.1%
Eveland 5 29.67 3.03 1 1       2 40.0% 6.7%
Garland 9 54.00 4.33 2     1   3 33.3% 5.6%
Haeger 6 23.00 9.78 2   1     3 50.0% 13.0%
Harang 8 49.33 3.83 2         2 25.0% 4.1%
Kershaw 74 499.33 2.49 14 1     1 16 21.6% 3.2%
Kuroda 63 398.33 3.23 12 4       16 25.4% 4.0%
Lilly 52 314.67 3.55 9 4 1     14 26.9% 4.4%
McDonald 1 5 7.20           0 0.0% 0.0%
Monasterios 13 53.33 5.91 3         3 23.1% 5.6%
Ortiz 2 7.33 9.82     1     1 50.0% 13.6%
Padilla 16 95.00 4.07 2 3       5 31.3% 5.3%
Total 363 2196.67 3.58 73 22 7 1 1 104 28.7% 4.7%
  • Anonymous

    I glanced at the lineup quickly and thought that Kennedy was hitting cleanup. I think  Abreu has been great so far, or at least really good. But why are Sands and AVS up if they’re never going to play? I’d like to see them once in a while. As an east coaster looking forward to watching the Dodgers for the first time this year.

    • Anonymous

      They both started last time we faced a lefty and probably would again next time.  Presumably they would replace Loney and Bobby in the line-up, but those two over the past week have OPSed .867 and .871, respectively.  I don’t have a problem with them on the bench, and I imagine they are happy to be in the Bigs and Donnie has already shown that he would start both of them against southpaws.

  • Anonymous

    It seems as if Lincecum’s had as many meltdown innings so far this year as Bills had all last year.

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

    11 meltdown innings in 18 starts for John Ely. Yikes.

    It seems that Billingsley allowed more three-run innings than Kershaw, Kuroda, and Lilly simply because he also allowed many more runs, period, than those guys. It would be interesting to find out whether Billingsley actually has more meltdown innings than other MLB pitchers with an ERA in the 3.80 neighborhood. I’m guessing he doesn’t.

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

    It would make the research a bear, but it seems like a more precise definition of a “meltdown inning” could be derived by introducing walks, hits, and/or number of pitches into the formula. In other words, I wouldn’t necessarily consider an inning when a guy gives up just a three-run homer to be a meltdown, but if he gives up two hits and three walks and labors with 40 pitches, but only gives up two runs — that, I’d consider a meltdown.

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

      Agreed that this could be fine-tuned.  There were time limitations to what I could do. I also had hoped to go further back than 2010. 

      Definitely, not all meltdown innings are created equally, although as much as we hate to see him struggle with control, I would say the two quick singles followed by a home run also fit the textbook definition of what freaks out Dodger fans with Billingsley – the idea that he loses it in a hurry. 

      • Anonymous

        Just the number of pitches in an inning tells a lot, regardless of runs scored. 

      • Jack Rosenberg

         Was probably channeling my inner Buzzie Bavasi and thinking of his comment about replacing Nolan Ryan.

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

    For the curious: the following pitchers had two meltdown innings in the same start.
    Ely in 2010.
    Padilla in 2010. 
    Billingsley in 2010.
    Kuroada in 2010. 
    Kershaw in 2010. 
    Lilly in 2011. 
    Kershaw in 2011 – twice.

    Yep, Clayton Kershaw leads the Dodgers in double-meltdown starts since 2010. 

  • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

    Looking at the data compiled above (thanks, Jon) I’m impressed with the durability of our top three starters over the past few years. Kershaw, Billingsley and Kuroda each had about the same number of starts each season. I suspect that’s a lot more rare than it was back in the 60s and 70s.

  • Anonymous

    It would be interesting to know the numbers for innings of 20 pitches and up, perhaps at intervals of five pitches.

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

    OT but ESPN’s BBTN just had nice Sport Science featurette on Justin Sellers and his play of the week  (the foul grab and crash into the wall), said it was like hitting a car at 20mph.

    Though John Kruk then added “I don’t need science to tell me it’s a great play,” and then followed by suggesting Dodgers trade Andre Ethier for Cole Hamels. {changes channel}

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QCDCJGVT7E7O35L4DHP2KPBY3E a.n. c

    ESPN Analysts = my Husky is more accurate in assesments/opinions .

    • Anonymous

       My malamute is more accurate than your husky.

  • Anonymous

    Buster Olney just said if Mark Ellis had waited a few more hours to get treatment, he could have LOST HIS LEG.  

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

      Lost USE OF his leg, but still, scary. 

      • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

        That tweet from Olney you retweeted says he could have lost his leg, was this later corrected?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

       when I was 15 this exact same thing happened to me. I was about an hour away from amputation.

  • Anonymous

    i’ve been enlighted, thanks Jon. Especially at the Billingsley-Kuroda data.

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

    Thanks to two outfielder injuries and extra innings, the Angels’ boxscore has become a merry-go-round. 

    http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/boxscore?gameId=320520125

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

    Steeee-…. wait, ball 4? Sheesh, looked like a K to me.  (And again the ump squeezes him vs Matt Holliday.)  C’mon now, Chad, don’t make Jon write another post.

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

     Prediction: A.J. Ellis will be the winner of the 2012 A.J. Ellis Award.

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

      I’ve got my money on him!

      I also demand to hear a lot of AJE love on ESPN tonight.

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

    Nicely done strike ‘em out throw ‘em out!

    Hope the ump squeezes Lohse as tightly as he is Bills. 

  • Anonymous

    Looks like this umpire has a small strikes zone, as a baseball fan all i ask for is consistency, meaning all umpires with one consistence strike zone.

    • Anonymous

      All I ask for is small when we bat and large when they bat.

      • KT

        ^_^

  • Anonymous

    Freezes Freese.

  • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

    That turned out better than I thought it would.

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

    Just when you think Orel might be a good analyst, he says things like this:

    “Even when he has his best outings, his pitch count gets up early.” 

    • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

       I heard it and thought “well, yeah,” but then he’s got a point (poorly made or not): Chad’s foul ball numbers amaze me every time he pitches.

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

        But I think the “Even when he has his best outings” part is a little hyperbolic. When Chad’s had his very best outings pitch count hasn’t been quite the same issue.

  • Anonymous

    Billingsley tests our patience. On top of that, I have to listen Steiner describe it.

    • Anonymous

      What were Monday’s two-cents?  He is always on Bills.

  • KT

    Nice hit Herrera

  • KT

    Bobby is such a professional hitter…Love his approach

  • KT

    Love it…Nice Dre!!

  • Anonymous

    Sellers would have had that (and then jumped on the tarp and danced).

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

    In the bottom of the 13th, Angels have inserted their 21st player of the game. Padres have used 19.

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

    Yay, Dre.

    Boo, Kennedy. Sigh. 

  • KT

    Nice play by the carpenter to turn the DP

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

    Pinch-hitter Clayton Richard, the Padres’ 20th player, singles for his first hit of 2012.

    • KT

      padres win 3-2

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

    Angels lose:
    “W Venable singled to center, C Richard to second, C Richard scored on error by left fielder H Kendrick.”

  • Anonymous

    With all the injuries, it’s hard to criticize Mattingly for playing Kennedy, but that doesn’t mean he has to bat fifth.

  • KT

    come on 1-2-3 DP

  • Anonymous

    Boy, a couple of those were strikes.  Donnie could be tossed if this keeps up.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

    Orel is really giving it to Chad now.

    • Anonymous

       I’m not able to watch, but I’m not sure I’d want to.

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

    The combo of Chad struggling and Orel harping on him incessantly may be the death of me before this game is over.

  • Anonymous

    Jon:  Thanks for your research into meltdown innings.  Who is the long man in the bullpen today?

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think the Dodgers have a designated “long man”.  Anyone who is well rested could pitch two, and I don’t think anyone is likely to be asked to pitch more than two.  Nobody relieved yesterday, and only Jansen and Lindblom pitched Friday.  If the game stays close, they would probably stay away from Coffey, but other than that, anyone could come in, and if he pitches one well and a PH isn’t needed, could pitch a second. Probably not Jansen or Lindblom, since they’re the best 9th and 8th inning guys, but any of the other guys could pitch two if needed.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t agree with you, nsx. I can’t offer any evidence but I think Mattingly has no intention of using Guerra for more than 1 inning at this point in the season. Perhaps if Jansen and Lindblom continue to pitch well,down the road Guerra might be tried for more than 1 just as both Jansen and Lindblom were used for 2 in April; although Lindblom was the last man in the pen at that time. 

  • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

    Great DP Bills!

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

    HECK YEAH! Woooooo!   Eat that, Orel! ;)

  • KT

    Yes 1-2-3 DP….Not for the batter I wanted but doesn’t matter no score!!

  • Anonymous

    “I’d rather be lucky than good” -Billingsley’s words to live by

  • Anonymous

    Nice piece with Vin!

    • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

      Too bad they didn’t let him call the game.

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

      I missed it.  My son had a train track in need of repair. 

      • Anonymous

        Not something he would have written, too many “I’s” in it.  But well done tribute starting from Flatbush. 

    • Anonymous

      got goosebumps, we’re so blessed to have him man.

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

    Billingsley just cruising through those first two innings. No sweat. 

    • Anonymous

       Ha.

  • Anonymous

    Billingsley may have missed his true calling. He could have been a tightrope walker.

  • Anonymous

    Terry Francona, in the ESPN booth, just praised Vin Scully for how he “sets up a golf tournament” on the first day.  Perhaps I am missing something, but when was the last time Vin broadcast a golf tournament?

    • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

       Oh, twenty years or so ago. Terry’s got a good memory. ;)

      • Anonymous

        I just checked.  According to his Wikipedia entry, it appears that Vin has not done any golf on TV since 2000 at the latest.   He was doing Senior Skins in the last decade of the last millenium.

  • Anonymous

    Orel surprised at Hatcher’s demise. Comical.
     

  • KT

    What happened to Chad that inning…felt like something was wrong

  • Anonymous

    Just joined, noticed Elllis has been involved in 2 double plays, sounds like we are lucky to be still leading!!

  • KT

    Someone said something to Ethier to make him laugh like “way to go ballboy”

  • KT

    Another nice play by BGJ

  • KT

    Another nice play by BGJ

    • Anonymous

      I missed the second one.

      • KT

        No just 1 today…It was a general comment that he always makes great plays

        refreshed 3 times and it was a no show

        • Anonymous

          NPJ

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

    So much for Billingsley’s demise, which, like Mark Twain’s, may have been premature or exaggerated — at least in this game.*

    *so far

    Great last 2 ip at least.

    Let’s get some insurance runs, though. 

  • Anonymous

    Is it Furcal teasing Bobby?

  • Anonymous

    Steiner says Abreu’s hit was a bloop. Gameday says a line drive. Whom do I believe?

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

      Ethier’s was a broken bat bloop, Abreu’s was a line drive. Never trust Steiner’s vision. :)

    • Anonymous

      Hehe.

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

      It was a looper. Kind of in-between. 

    • KT

      it was a tweener

  • KT

    nice of kennedy not to hit into a DP

    • KT

      At least when James hit into one we scored…1 is better than none…just ask the cardinals

      • Anonymous

        Since rbis are meaningless anyway, why don’t they just give you one even with a DP?

        • Anonymous

          is this one of your many funny comments except one of the few that failed to be funny? 

          • Anonymous

            In all sincerity, what is the reasoning behind not giving a rbi?

          • Anonymous

            While there are some situations esp. early in a game when a team would not be happy to trade an out for a run many times you would be willing to trade an out for a run but right now I can’t think of a situation where you would be willing to trade 2 outs for a run where the team in the field would cooperate. In short, a DP helps the team in the field more than the team batting. Best I can do but I realize you know all that I wrote.
            I get the impression from the Wikipedia that the scorer can award an RBI on a DP obviously but I said impression.
            Suppose with bases loaded and the outfield in a ball is hit to shallow right that drops in but the RF throws to second and the second baseman to first both runners out the the batter deserves an RBI I would say. We should get a comment from timmer on whether the scorer has this option.

          • Anonymous

            Thanks Mike.

  • Anonymous

    You can’t walk Kennedy and be long for this game.

  • Anonymous

    Bases loaded, no outs and only 1 run :(
    But SL bases loaded, no outs and no runs :)

  • Anonymous

    Billingsley had a real chance at getting the head runner.

  • Anonymous

    Close!!!!

    • KT

      missed the bag

      • Anonymous

        Yeah.  I thought he had nicked the bag with his toe.

      • Anonymous

        love Loney’s fielding but that error was on him, he went way to far for that ball. sigh.

  • KT

    And Bilz defense just allowed the cards tie the game

  • Anonymous

    Are we going through one of those melt down innings?

  • Christopher Staaf

    Bills is having a meltdown inning now. He has no one to blame but himself. Looks like he needs a refresher on PFP.

  • Anonymous

    So they screwed up the list of sons of MLB players, by including Hairston (since he’s on the DL) and omitting Sellers.

    • Anonymous

      Hey, they corrected it.  I wonder if it’s because I told them about Sellers through the corrections part of their website?

    • Anonymous

      Sellers as son of Jeff is not mentioned on his B-R page as well

  • Anonymous

    don’t know about you guys but Herrera is winning me over.

    • Anonymous

      I’d say he’s made a good early impression.

    • Anonymous

      Too bad he is not the son of a MBL player.

  • KT

    Nice Tony but he was safe

  • Anonymous

    Great slide.

  • Anonymous

    I think we caught a break right there.  Why does Gwynn throw like that?

    • Christopher Staaf

      We really caught a break. Molina was safe and Kennedy totally missed the tag. 

    • Anonymous

      He neglected the windup in order to get rid of it sooner.

  • Anonymous

    With 2 outs :(

  • Anonymous

    Uh oh

  • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

    And the curse of playing on national broadcasts bites us yet again.

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

    Bloody hell. Chad was BABIP’d to death that inning. So frustrating. Of course they may have gotten a break at 3rd base call. But as Mike Petriello (MSTI) points out on twitter, that makes it even with the # of times Chad’s been squeezed. Not to mention Sellers error made those 2 runs unearned, but I’m sure the error was Bills’ fault too because he didn’t locate that pitch or something.  /Orel

    Game ain’t over yet! But I sure wise we had Kemp and Hairston and even Uribe in the lineup to help us get back in it.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed on Kemp and Hairston, but I think we need to appreciate Uribe’s absence over his presence.

  • Anonymous

    Chicos Bail Bonds :)

  • Anonymous

    Orel wanted Kennedy to go through the stop sign.  Blamed him for not looking. What the

  • Anonymous

    Well we got one back :)
    Why couldn’t he have gone the other way when the bases were loaded?

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

    Yay, ESPN got my tweet reminding them Justin Sellers is a son of a former major leaguer too ;)
    (well mine and probably 100 other tweets)

    • Anonymous

      Way to go UD!

  • Anonymous

    looking at DeJesus’s minor leauge numbers, he’s not a very patient hitter with a not-so-cool .328 OBP.

    • Anonymous

      Saving SVS and Sands for what?

      • KT

        He stung that ball but right at Holliday

        • Anonymous

          With ducks in the pond, you would have sent him up?

          • KT

            I really don’t know IDJ jr…is he a contact hitter, than yes

          • Anonymous

            He is a non-contact hitter at .188 last year in the Bigs, who was brought up as a warm body for the infield.

          • KT

            In Hindsight the starter still in the game. He wasn’t giving up too many fly balls so it was better to get to wait until another pitcher was in

      • KT

        Saving him for his 7th inning 3 run Bomb  ^_^

    • Anonymous

      You are right on the mark about not being very patient.

    • Anonymous

      I wouldn’t so  concerned about that as I would about the shortage of infielders.

    • Anonymous

      While your conclusion may be correct, IDJ jr was hurt in spring training. He joined Alb. on May 7. Your data is for 13 games.

  • Anonymous

    should someone else be pinch hitting here?

    • Anonymous

      Mattingly has a couple of power options, i can’t compute either.

  • Anonymous

    Inane discussion of closers.

  • KT

    Good inning Javy

  • Anonymous

    If you hit enough balls toward Holliday, sooner or later he’ll help you out.

  • Anonymous

    Elian!

  • Anonymous

    umm, smells good, something’s cooking.

  • http://twitter.com/jibinpark jibinpark

    4 straight lefties makes for easy bullpen matchups..

  • Anonymous

    don’t know what the scounting report says on VanSlyke but it looks like there pitching him correctly. out & away.

  • Anonymous

    SVS!

  • Anonymous

    Kudos to Mattie for pinch hitting for Kennedy!!!

    • Christopher Staaf

      That Van Slyke got some power! Kudos to Donnie to let Scott swing away on 3-0. 

      • Anonymous

        Yes, that too!!!

  • http://twitter.com/jibinpark jibinpark

    So that’s why Kennedy is batting 5th!

  • Anonymous

    WOOOOO – HOOOOO!!!!!!

  • KT

    Scotty!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Wow. That almost makes me wish I had ESPN.

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

      Yeah, I wish MLB.com would put up links to highlights for Sunday night games like they do for others but I guess they can’t by rule til it’s over. But I’m sure it’ll be up on Dodgers.com tonight. :)

      It got out in a hurry.

      • Anonymous

        I think it’s for all nationally televised games not just Sunday night.

  • Anonymous

    My word, I am speechless, I was about to write ‘didn’t Kennedy get a triple tonight’ or something like that!!

    • Anonymous

      It was actually a single.  But Beltran played it atrociously and turned it into a triple.

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

    VAN SLYKE’D!!!!
    Heck yeah!I cannot believe they threw him a strike fast ball, they should’ve walked him at that point with lefty on deck. But am so glad they did!

  • Anonymous

    Do we come back with Guerra?  I hope we do.

  • Anonymous

    Mattie, NOW can you let SVS start?  Pleeeeease???

  • Anonymous

    was wondering what pitch it was to VanSlyke, looks like it was a hanging slider.

  • Anonymous

    Stuntmen 2.0…

  • Christopher Staaf

    Even Matheny knew SVS was swinging 3-0. He should have put up 4 fingers and loaded the bases for Loney but I am glad Matheny acted like a rookie manager. Brand new ballgame baby!

  • Anonymous

    I guess Mattingly chose the right spot for SVS.

    • Anonymous

      Preferring the 3 run dinger in the 7th instead of the 6th?  Sands was also available.

      • Anonymous

         Could be, but it’s hard to second-guess the result.

        • Anonymous

          I am happy.

      • KT

        The later the dinger…the more dramatic I always say

  • Anonymous

    Tony LaRussa apparently tutored Matheny in stubbornness.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Vinny is in attendance :)

  • Anonymous

    Maybe Dee can get an insurance run for us !?!

    • Anonymous

      He learned a lot from sitting just one day!

      • Anonymous

        you know what, Mattingly having the presence of mind to put him in that situation & Dee responding the way he did, is pretty darn impressive, i’m really rooting for him to get on track, fingers crossed.

  • Anonymous

    it’s a start, nice at-bat by Dee Gordon.

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

    “That cutter had a little Mariano Rivera in it,” says Orel about Jansen’s filthiest pitch. 

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

    How SWEEP it is. 

  • Anonymous

    Sweet sweep!

  • Anonymous

    Happy, Happy, Happy!

  • Anonymous

    But they haven’t played anybody yet.

    • KT

      not according to the east coast bias ESPN

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

      Hah hah, the ludicrous words from a bitter fan. When Dodgers swept the “superior” Nats, that didn’t prove anything because it was at home, etc etc. When they swept the Cardinals, it won’t prove anything because it’s at home and Cards are really banged up (never mind that the Dodgers have been devastated by injuries as well).  A Cards fan on another blog tonight said Dodgers are in the worst division in baseball so therefore they’re not this good. (This from a fan of a team playing in the NL Central, quite a juggernaut.)

      • Anonymous

        The Gnats and Gnatfans whine about their injuries. The Dodgers just go out and play the games.

      • Anonymous

        Whenever someone says “they’re not this good”, what they really mean is, “they’re winning a lot of games and I’m jealous”.  It’s a reflection of the speaker, not the team he’s talking about.
        .
        Lots of teams, on paper, don’t look like they’re all that great.  They include the 2011 Cardinals and the 2010 ‘ants.
        .
        I hope everyone keeps saying “they’re not this good” about the Dodgers all season long and all the way through the postseason too.  :)

        • Anonymous

           I think you meant “Gnats.”

  • KT

    Excellent come from behind win and sweep of the World Champion and central division Cardinals
     
    Love it…Do we get respect now????

  • Anonymous

    i would have been happy taking 2 of 3 but a sweep makes it that much sweeter!

  • Anonymous

    Put Van Slyke on first even if he isn’t Loney. He even looks like a first base man.

    • Gil Domingo

       I second that, at least in rotation or something.  Is it too early to worry about Bils?  Is it too soon to bring a young arm up and have Bils sit one? I may be overreacting, but he’s not pulling his weight. 

    • Anonymous

      I’d like to see SVS in the outfield against righties, and at first against lefties.  Keep Gwynn on the bench against righties (let Ethier play center) and Loney on the bench against lefties; with a tight lead, bring in both of them as a defensive replacement in late innings.

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

    “@Buster_ESPN: Scott Van Slyke told me that his Dad is here at the park. What a thrill for both of them.”

  • Anonymous

    I was disappointed Kenley had only one K in the ninth.

    • Anonymous

      I was disappointed I had to leave my computer just before we batted in the 8th and I missed the 9th!!

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

    Is it to big a call to say that considering who we have out of the lineup, the win was one of the best in the last few years?

  • Anonymous

    I have put up negative comments about Billingsley at DT but they have been pointing out poor stats except when I was the only one here to make even a mild comment against his contract. He received either $35 M for 3 years or if the team picks up his last year $46 M for 4. I said the contract would be regretted. I not so sure I was right given that salaries keep going up even in a poor economy.
    But Jon did a good deal of work above that I don’t think it will satisfy even the best of the fans who use the term meltdown in connection with Chad. There is a reason people (Jon I think was one) referred to Kuroda as a warrior but no one calls Chad a warrior. When Chad melts down, I believe people think, it’s not that 3 or more runs score in an inning it’s that he melts like the witch in the Wizard of Oz. I haven’t studied that question but neither has Jon in the above. I say Billingsley is not a #2 (he started the season’s second game, remember) 
    Here are stats from the last 3 years there’s much more but these are the first 2 I chose.
    2010 WHIP: Chad is 9th among all the team’s pitchers. Starters with a higher WHIP Monasterios, Ely, Ortiz, Haeger, McDonald.
    2011 WHIP: Chad is 15th. Staters with a higher WHIP Ely,
    2012 WHIP (before tonight) Chad is 10th with no starter having a higher WHIP
    2010 QS% (quality start percentage)  Chad is 4th with the 5 above from 2010 plus Padilla lower
    2011 QS% Chad is 4th this year below league average with Eovaldi, Lilly, DeLaRosa, Eveland, and Ely lower
    2012 QS% Billingsley 5th below league average again with, of course, since we have used only 5 SP, no one lower 

  • http://twitter.com/Derek_TC Derek TC

    This all comes down to one simple question….what the heck happened to Mister Mono-stereo.

    • Anonymous

      He was out all year in 2011 with an injury that necessitated Tommy John surgery.  He had further arm problems in spring training this year, and the Dodgers officially released him April 8.  He is a free agent that no one has signed.

  • Anonymous

    Diamondbacks are 1½ run favorites with Patrick Corbin pitching today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Pruett/1707390003 Terry Pruett

    My complaint with Billingsley has never been the so-called “meltdown innings”. Rather, my point has been that he’s an average pitcher…a number 3 or 4…blown up into something more by fans who are watching with their hearts. In this regard, he is somewhat like the mound version of James Loney: both of them have a legion of fans who believe they are perpetually on the verge of fulfilling some vague version of “potential”…when the truth is probably that they are what they are: average-to-mediocre. Billingsley, because he is a pitcher, and because even a 3 or a 4 is a valuable commodity, should be thought of as a potential trade chip for a serviceable bat, particularly with good young arms on the way.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t see it that way at all.  The problem with Billingsley is that he was an excellent pitcher, a typical #1-2 guy, his first three years.  So of course everyone assumed he would continue to be that good.  But in the three seasons since then he regressed, and is now more average, say a typical #4 type guy.  People are disappointed because they hoped he would remain a #1-2 but he didn’t. They’re hoping he might recover his previous ability, which might happen but probably won’t.
      .
      As for trading him, you’re simply not going to get much for him now.  If you had traded him after those first three seasons you would have gotten quite a haul, but of course at that time it didn’t make sense to trade someone who looked like he would remain a #1-2 for years to come.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Pruett/1707390003 Terry Pruett

        All fair points…

    • Anonymous

      I’m one of those fans that sees Bills in that light…I continue to do so. But if he becomes a valuable trade chip…so be it. The team comes first.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t have a problem with trading him.  The problem is that, when you want to trade a player who’s not very effective, you’re just not going to get all that much in return.  And if you’re not going to get all that much in return, in many cases you may as well just keep him.  It’s the same for Billingsley as it is for Loney.

        • Anonymous

          Hypothetically speaking what could we expect to get in a Bills trade?

          • Anonymous

            Right now? A major-league utility infielder, or a #20ish prospect from someone’s system.  IOW, not much.
            .
            If he returns to his form from 2006-2010, we would certainly get more – but if that happens, we wouldn’t be talking about trading him.

        • Anonymous

          Of course, the other factor is whether you can replace him for what he does.  Right now, perhaps Evoldi could give you better outings, but then you don’t have him as insurance given the probablity that one of the other starters would go down. Rubby won’t be available until after the trade deadline and not clear how many innings he will be able to give us.  Assuming that Bills (and the Dodgers) doesn’t nosedive here on out, the off season seeme like the best bet for a trade, if there is one.

  • Anonymous

    Still thrilled at Van Slyke’s home run… He is a massive man, I can’t see him lasting long in the outfield. His positions are first base and DH. They have to get him working out at first. Mr Loney waited too long, results like last year and before won’t cut it anymore, Van Slyke, or someone, is going to take the job next year.

    • Anonymous

      I’m not sure why being a big guy prevents him from playing the outfield.  He has played outfield and first base in the minors, and by all reports his defense is better in the outfield than at first base.  I’d like to see him play both, depending on who else is in the lineup, just as Juan Rivera was doing.

    • Anonymous

      Dave Parker was an even more massive man, who was an excellent outfielder for many years, though eventually he became a DH.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, moving to 1B or DH seems to be a function of age, rather than size.

  • Jack Rosenberg

    Jon,
    You spend far too much time defending Billingsley, a slightly better than .500 pitcher.  And, doesn’t Vin often quote Disraeli’s, “Lies, damn lies and statistics”.  Stats are often the sanctuary of weak arguments.  As others have said, Billingsley was projected to be top notch, yet has rarely lived up to that.

    • Anonymous

      I disagree.  He indeed lived up to the advance billing and was top notch for quite a while, compiling a 3.55 ERA for 2006-2010, maybe not a #1 starter but a #2.  As recently as 2010, he ranked 35 out of 92 qualifying pitchers in MLB, which is the definition of a #2 starter.  Top notch, indeed.  Unfortunately, he has not displayed the same level of performance in 2011 or 2012.  But it is simply absurd to say that he has rarely lived up to that – he did so for an extended period, far longer than he has struggled.

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

      I don’t even claim that Billingsley has lived up to his potential – in fact, I point out his weaknesses more than once in the post. I would not call this post a defense of Billingsley but simply an attempt to place what he has done, good and bad, in perspective.

      Meanwhile, of course, the man who decries the use of stats writes in the previous sentence “Billingsley, a slightly better than .500 pitcher.”  Sanctuary of weak arguments, indeed.

      • Anonymous

        Seemed like a strong argument to me!  Must have been cause he carried it out to the third decimal (that always fools me).

  • Anonymous

    In all of MLB (all 30 teams), there are 121 pitchers with enough innings to qualify for official stats.  In ERA, Dodger pitchers are ranked #2 (Lilly), #3 (Kershaw), and #16 (CC).  In WHIP, #4 (Kershaw), #6 (Lilly), and #24 (CC).  In BAA, #3 (Lilly), #8 (Kershaw), and #13 (CC).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Pruett/1707390003 Terry Pruett

    With regard to Billingsley’s trade value…last year, Edwin Jackson, who had a WHIP well above 1.4 and and ERA of 3.79 for the year, netted Toronto Colby Rasmus in trade. A team like the Red Sox, which is being killed by their starting pitching, would probably be interested in Bills, and I would think they’d part with more than spare parts.

    • Anonymous

      The Greek God of Walks?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Pruett/1707390003 Terry Pruett

        If he’s healthy…that’s not a bad call at all.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    Jon…. I don’t want to pseudo-violate rule #9 here, or jinx anything…..

    But, this 2012 Dodgers squad seems almost … “charmed” …. almost like 1988.
    Sssshhhhhh!!!!!. 
    Don’t tell ESPN or Sports Illustrated….We just want to fly below radar, and keep winning…..:-)
     

    • Anonymous

      They may even think we are cocky. After all we did insert Gordon as a defensive substitution :)

  • Anonymous

     In fact, I’m going to dub it a verb….

    With that improbable, late-inning homer by the rookie, the Dodgers “88′ed” the Cardinals….

    • Anonymous

      Let’s not.  Being 85ed by the Cards is too painful a memory to start down that path.

      • Anonymous

         See?  You’ve got it Bob…. That’s it.

        Jack Clark totally “85″ed Tom Niedenfeur!

        Or, it could be said that when Kenley gave up the dinger in the 9th the other night…
        “He got Niedenfeured!”

        I’m just having fun with this today.

        How would you define:  ” Getting Bob_Hendley’ed” ???? :-)

    • Anonymous

      Do you mean “86″ed wherein the bartender cuts you off because you’re drunk?

      • Anonymous

         Never have had that happen to me personally, but I have definitely seen some fans at Dodger Stadium who should have been “86″ed…..

  • Anonymous

    I remember feeling like Jon did a few days ago, that I saw us heading into a bit of a losing streak, but I guess I was wrong.  Just look at our lineup, and now Mark Ellis, one our few remaining hitters, is out as well, but we haven’t hit that losing streak yet.  That being said, we could really use Dee to start hitting and hopefully no setbacks for Kemp.

  • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

    Will Carroll at SI, talking about Mark Ellis’s injury: “had surgery that was reported to be done to “relieve pressure on his leg.” That sounds like acute compartment syndrome, which is very
    serious. You might remember it with Kyle Lohse or Noah Lowry, but this is in Ellis’ leg. He’s out at least six weeks”
    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/will_carroll/05/21/fantasy-baseball-injuries/index.html#ixzz1vWqKpAPm

    I GUESS it’s very serious. Here’s the Wikipedia article about acute compartment syndrome, with some ugly photos: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compartment_syndrome

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

      any questions, let me know. this happened to me when I was 15 from playing soccer. my leg looks exactly the same (better now over time) as that picture in the link. I was an hour away from amputation.

      • Anonymous

        They said that Ellis was hours away from amputation too.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

           I can see why because at least for me, it didn’t hurt much worse than a typical bang bang bruise/charlie horse. It wasn’t until hours later (that night) during a hot bath that the pain went from ouch to oh my god what is happening here. I was rushed to the hospital probably around 9pm. I recall them calling a specialist around midnight cause the ER people couldn’t figure it out…Then surgery. Then surgery a few days later to skin graft and put my leg back together.

  • foul tip

    If news of this incident at DS has been here, I missed it.

    People may react with “just when you thought it might be safe to go back to Dodger Stadium”…

    Fortunately it seems relatively minor.  Probably will get wide media play after last year…like here, with  si.com picking up what ordinarily wouldn’t be very newsworthy, even in LA.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/baseball/mlb/05/21/dodger.stadium.arrests.ap/index.html?sct=hp_t2_a7&eref=sihp

    • KT

      I liked the part about the off duty police officers wearing rival teams jerseys

  • foul tip

    From si.com’s Joe Lemire’s look at the first round of interleague play–

    5. Give the Dodgers their due — The Dodgers, who own
    baseball’s best record, have won 10 of 13 games, including a series win
    against the NL West’s second-place Giants and a sweep of the
    Central-leading Cardinals. They’ve done much of this with lineups
    comprised of the anonymous and the ancient.

    In winning
    three games against St. Louis, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly filled out
    lineup cards that included the following a leadoff hitter with a .247
    on-base percentage (Dee Gordon, Friday), a No. 2 hitter with six career
    plate appearances (Elian Herrera, Saturday) and a No. 3 hitter who was
    released by a last-place club earlier this season (Bobby Abreu, Friday,
    Saturday and Sunday). Abreu, rejuvenated with his new team, had a
    three-hit night on Sunday and scored four runs in the series; he’s
    batting .341 with the Dodgers.

    Among players with at least
    80 at bats Los Angeles has four players with an OPS above league average
    and two of them, center fielder Matt Kemp and second baseman Mark
    Ellis, are now on the DL. Over the weekend the Dodgers received breakout
    games from unexpected places: on Friday night, for instance, Adam
    Kennedy went 4-for-4 and James Loney was 3-for-4. In Sunday’s win the
    Dodgers won thanks to a three-run homer from pinch hitter Scott Van
    Slyke, who had eight previous major league at bats yet had the
    confidence to swing at a 3-0 pitch.

    Not enough can be said
    about the jobs that right fielder Andre Ethier (.309/.367/.559, 8 HRs)
    and catcher A.J. Ellis (.321/.446/.491, 3 HRs) have done, especially
    Ellis, whose 23 walks rank fifth in the NL and are nine better than his
    previous career high. Ellis’ OBP is surpassed in the NL by only the
    Mets’ David Wright and the Reds’ Joey Votto; his 4.6 pitches per plate
    appearance lead the league

    Most of the credit, of course,
    belongs to the Dodgers’ pitching staff, especially a rotation that
    recently threw 23 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run or a
    walk. Their starters collectively have a 2.73 ERA, which is first in
    the majors. But they still need some run support in order to win, and
    that wouldn’t be possible without the contributions from a patchwork
    lineup.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/joe_lemire/05/20/interleague.play/index.html#ixzz1vX4Wxm1s

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CX5TYUGWXHFGM2NGLJECNXDUII Paul

    Jon, the knock on Bills isn’t the meltdown inning, but the meltdown in the 6th inning, which rather tends to prevent him from pitching deeper into games.  His ERA in the 6th is 5.46.  Runs like this:

    3.51
    3.53
    3.20
    2.90
    3.79
    5.46

    Don’t know when BR updates the pages, but if you will look at his career splits, you will not only see that, you will also see that over his entire career, he’s went for a total 106.1 IP beyond the 6th.  I am excluding the 3 IP in extras, as I am assuming that he therein came on in relief.  Bills has otherwise never taken the next step up but has instead regressed (had rather more promise there in 07 and 08).  And is certainly not the fairest comparison, but in right around 47 less starts, Kershaw’s already up to around 86 or so IP from the 7th on. Bills’ related problem was and continues to be his BB/9 (sitting at 3.9 career).  Lastly, and by the way, Hiro’s ERA in the 6th was 4.14, so somewhat over a run less. Almost forgot, but the numbers related come with a caveat, since while Bills has gone for 172 starts, he’s pitched in 201 games and so some of those 7th and on IP might be in non-start situations. 

     

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

      I know that used to be the knock on Bills, but overwhelmingly I see people online waiting for him to implode at the drop of a hat. Hershiser was relentlessly on his case last night from the first batter.

  • Anonymous

    Going against a southpaw tonight, SVS or Sands, or both, likely in line for a start.

    • Anonymous

      Let’s hope so.  I think one of the two has already earned the shot.  You can guess which one.  :)

  • KT

    With next years schedule of a NL playing an AL team every night does this behove the NL teams now looking into having a DH type player or does the schedule not make a big difference in the amount of times say the Dodgers play an AL team.
     
    Are we going to be playing the AL more or less than before?

    • Anonymous

      >> Are we going to be playing the AL more or less than before?
      .
      It should be about the same.

      • KT

        thanks NSX

  • Anonymous

    The Dodgers are the free game on the MLB.TV website game tonight.

  • Anonymous

    Lineups, courtesy of TruBluLA

    DodgersDiamondbacksCFGwynnSSBloomquist3BHerrera2BHillRFEthierRFUpton1BVan SlykeCMonteroLFSandsCFYoung2BDeJesusLFKubelCTreanor1BGoldschmidtSSSellers3BBellPCapuanoPCorbin

    • Anonymous

      Our new cleanup and #5 hitters!!! I love it!

  • Anonymous
    • KT

      Nice

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

    NPUT