Billingsley, Dodgers in the fast lane: 11-0

Chad Billingsley is pitching so well, the Internet took a moment of silence.

With eight shutout innings tonight, pacing the Dodgers’ 11-0 victory over Pittsburgh, Billingsley lowered his season ERA to 3.62 and his ERA in five starts since coming off the disabled list to 1.56. In his longest outing since his first start of 2012, Billingsley threw 107 pitches, 75 for strikes, and allowed five hits and walked one while striking out five. In those five post-DL starts, he has walked six and struck out 23. For the season, Billingsley’s career-best K/BB ratio improved to 3.1.

With two out in the bottom of the third inning and the Dodgers leading by one run, Pittsburgh rightfielder Travis Snider hit a double that sent pitcher Kevin Correia to third base. The Pirates’ MVP candidate, Andrew McCutchen, came to the plate.

Billingsley struck out McCutchen looking on a 2-2 pitch, and that was it for Pittsburgh, who had two baserunners over their remaining five innings. The Pirates, to say the least, looked like the Pirates of 1993-2011 tonight.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers had one of those innings you need to remember when things break bad for the team. Their first three baserunners in the top of the fourth, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez, reached base while hitting the ball a combined 37 inches. James Loney’s RBI groundout doubled the Dodgers’ lead, and then Luis Cruz (3 for 5) drove in the first two of his three RBI with a clean single to left.

The Dodgers padded their lead in the seventh on Cruz’s third single and A.J. Ellis’ sacrifice fly, and more in the ninth on Kemp’s bases-loaded single off the leg of Chad Qualls and two-run hits by Ethier and Ramirez, pushing Los Angeles to its biggest romp of the season, ahead of the 10-0 victory July 28 over San Francisco. Shawn Tolleson extended his scoreless streak to eight innings to finish off the Dodgers’ biggest shutout over Pittsburgh ever.

Ramirez had three hits, while Kemp and Loney each had two. In his first start since July 22, Juan Uribe could not live up to his .500 on-base percentage in 18 plate appearances against Correia entering the game, going 0 for 4 before drawing a ninth-inning walk.

Winning their fourth game out of five on the road trip so far, the Dodgers moved a half-game ahead of San Francisco, pending the result of the Giants’ game tonight at home against Washington, and 5 1/2 games ahead of Arizona, which lost 8-2 to St. Louis.

It was a great night as well for Hiroki Kuroda, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in New York and ended up shutting out the Rangers on two hits.

  • KT

    LAT’ed:
     
    Ball Game

    Great road trip so far

    I sure glad this was a blow out or it would have been really rough listening to these Pirate announcers

    Here’s hoping we do it again tomorrow since I have their feed again

    • Anonymous

      Listening to our guys is bad enough. Collins obviously never hit a ball “well” in his life.

      • KT

        ^_^

      • Blue-eyed Gal

        You missed an amusing awkwardness while Tolleson was warming up on the mound to start the bottom of the 9th. Reuss’ mouth overran the ball and just kept on going and going:
        “Tolleson’s worked his way into being a guy that Don Mattingly really relies on…” [ME: TO PITCH IN THE 9th IN A BLOWOUT] ”[at first he]…had a little of that deer-in-headlights look, but man, he’s settled down…he’s pitched in tough situations…” [ME: LIKE AN 11-0 SCORE] ”…and Don Mattingly’s come to trust him with a ball in his hands in a crucial situation in a ballgame…” [ME: LIKE PRESERVING THE BIGGEST RUN DIFFERENTIAL IN DODGERS/PIRATES HISTORY!] 

        *crickets, Reuss hastily changes the subject*

        No offense to Tolleson’s abilities, but… snerk. 

        • KT

          Beautiful

  • KT

    “Their first three baserunners in the top of the fourth, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez, reached base while hitting the ball a combined 37 inches”
     
    Love that line Jon..it was one wierd inning

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Casey-Barker/100003908968118 Casey Barker

       Surely the author wouldn’t violate his own rule 6.  Thirty-seven inches – sheesh:)

  • http://farinella.com/ David Farinella

    Deep breath in, hearty sigh out…

    BTW, Lily only pitched one inning at RC. Was that the plan?

    • Anonymous

      yes

      • http://farinella.com/ David Farinella

        Okay, thanks.

  • Anonymous

    My 8-year-old made an invaluable observation while we watched tonight’s game:

    “Dad, I don’t want to be mean or anything, but Uribe’s kind of fat.”

    Out of the mouths of babes ..

    • KT

      WBB did you delete your handle ^_^

      • http://farinella.com/ David Farinella

        LOLz ^^^

      • Anonymous

        No, but the real Lee Lacy owns a house just a few blocks away from me.

        • KT

          Yea i heard you mention that before but not as much as Uribe ^_^
           
          I just pulling your chain WBB….I saw an opening I couldn’t resist…sorry

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

    Gosh, an actual laugher. Dodgers have had so few of those — most wins seem to be nailbitingly close. We should enjoy it. :)  And I especially enjoy how well Bills has been pitching. 5 great games in a row.  Of the top 5 Dodger stories this season, whatever the other 4 are, one of them has to be Billingsley’s resurgence–may it continue.

  • http://farinella.com/ David Farinella

    What’s more frightening: Anthony Bourdain’s eating habits or the fact that the Dodgers are undefeated when Juan Uribe hits second? (tip of the cap to Josh Suchon’s twitter feed)

    • Anonymous

      Uribe is the new good luck charm.  Suck it, Adam Kennedy.  

  • Anonymous

    5 stellar starts in a row for Billingsley.
    5 W’s in a row for Billingsley.
    I feel sorry for all those Bonehead Billz Bashers who used to post here regularly when he was struggling – they must be getting awfully tired of croutching under those rocks they’ve been hiding under for so long now.

    • KT

      ^_^

  • Anonymous

    Looks like the Nats shoulda saved some of those runs they dropped on the Gnats last night for tonight.

  • KT

    After running themselves out of an inning…The Gnats give werth a gift triple to start the 7th…Gnats 2-0

    • KT

      now 2-1 man on 1st no outs…rally time

    • Anonymous

       The Gnats have terrible defense, and sooner or later they will give something away.

  • http://profiles.google.com/michaelgreen327 Michael Green

    I MAY be gloriously, ecstatically wrong in the opinions I expressed before about Bills.  I HOPE I am, and I hope to dine on a lot of crow.

  • http://twitter.com/snakealicious75 Snake Smith

    Heard some wag this AM on MLB radio on the way in that “Billingsley can’t even string together a good month, let alone season, that’s why he is so frustrating to the Dodgers”…uhhh, he’s won 5 straight.  Looked absolutely filthy last night.

  • Anonymous

     Now with season-long relative charts:

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/odds/

    Somewhat shockingly, it looks like the current top 3 is ranked correctly in every divvy as of April 1, with the current 0%ers also correctly picked as 4 and 5s.

    That’s a nice tribute to BP’s powers if true.

  • Anonymous

    For Billingsley, could it be that once he found out that his elbow pain was not structural, he gained a measure of confidence to go all out?

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

    No one has been more critical of Billingsley than I’ve been. And let’s not forget that there have often been VERY good reasons to be critical. He often wasn’t pitching well…so I offer no apology. However, he has been pitching very well lately for sure. His confidence appears to be off the charts right now, and he’s trusting his fastball, pounding the zone with it. It’s fun to watch. Let’s hope he’s crossed that chasm for good…we need him.

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

    Billingsley is not above criticism. It’s just that the criticisms should be fair.  Some people are fair with their criticisms, others are not. 

    Nothing happened last night that should cause anyone to apologize.  Anyone who needed to apologize should have done so back when they were going nuts.

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

    I also don’t think what’s happening is shocking.  Billingsley has always had good runs and bad runs, and I expect he will have both going forward. 

    • Anonymous

       http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dodgers/2010/04/chad-billingsley-meltdown-dodgers-reds.html?cid=6a00d8341c630a53ef0133ecd7c63c970b

      From Dilbeck, 4/20/10

      • Anonymous

        It’s not fair to mock Dilbeck for his lack of comments.  I know tens of people who read the LA Times. 

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

    The thing that always bothered me was when people would talk about his “heart” or his “desire” or some other intangible. I just think that he’s one of those guys that, for whatever reason, has trouble maintaining and replicating his mechanics from start to start. Regardless, he seems to have them under control now.

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

       I agree with this. I also think the rest helped.I also believe he’s had some better BABIP luck.  Witness, for example, the line-drive DP that he got with a runner on second last night.

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

        Mike at MSTI thinks it’s the beard.

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

           Of course it’s the beard! Just like in the NHL!

  • Anonymous

    Bills has found his mojo, and it’s lead to clutchiness. That pitch he broke off to Andrew with 2 on to get strike three called was a thing of beauty.

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

      Yep. That was like a Kershaw Special.

    • Anonymous

      Now all he needs to do is knock a few guys down with brushback pitches and he’ll be a real man.

      • Anonymous

        Bills is a real person, that’s the whole issue.  He has streaks and mental issues like a normal human.  Hence the complaints, we expect superhumans when we we give them a million bucks a month.

        • foul tip

          Game story today at dodgers.com talks about Chad’s Dad’s really serious health issues over several years, serious enough that yesterday was only the second time he’s seen Chad in person.

          That kind of thing with parents can and does kind of work on your mental state and affects other areas at times.  If it didn’t you wouldn’t be human.

          Also, I’ve wondered if he doesn’t listen to too many people instead of being able to shut all that out and just let it go and execute….

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

             Foul Tip – was not aware of that about his dad … thanks.

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

            Yeah, I read that late last night and found it moving. I didn’t know about that at all. Has to be tough to concentrate when your parent is dealing with so many life threatening issues and you can’t see them that often. Just one more reason to root hard for Chad!

        • Anonymous

          Great point about being human.  Same reasons that we expect nothing but blockbuster hit movies from major stars too. And, solutions to all of life’s problems from our elected officials.  Taken down to its simpliest form, we expect only the best from those in the spot light and are usually willing to settle for nothing less, though human kind can not fully deliver on these expectations.  Nights that Billingsley struggles, or any other player, his teammates do their best to pick him up.  Win as a team, lose as a team.

  • Anonymous

    FYI: It wasn’t Correia who went to third in the third, but Starling Marte, who replaced him at first on that botched double play by Cruz.  I’m not sure why Lyons didn’t understand what Cruz was trying to do, which was let the ball bounce so he could turn two instead of one. It would have worked, too, except that he faked out Hanley, who didn’t cover second base in time to get two.

    • Anonymous

      Actually, if he’d thrown to first immediately and gotten Marte, they would have had Correia trapped off base for the DP. But Lyons doesn’t understand much of anything.

      • Anonymous

        Exactly

      • Anonymous

        It was hard to see from the TV angle whether Correia could have returned to 1B safely had Cruz made the throw immediately.  When I try that play, I try to get the two force outs, rather than the force at first and the rundown.  But that’s because I play with guys who screw the pickle as often as they get it right. 

        And no, that’s not a rule 1 violation.

        • Anonymous

          And likely don’t run like Marte

  • Anonymous

    Great win!

    Very excited for the team’s return to Chavez Ravine next Monday to face the Gnats! No matter what the outcomes of the next series for both teams, they’ll almost surely be battling for the division lead in that home series! 

    • Anonymous

       Not just the div lead, but a little bit of insurance in terms of taking the Buc’s potential road one-off spot.

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

    Baseball Today podcast with some Kuroda love (early) and some Dodgers talk (later)

    http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=8271686
    (Dodgers question about Colletti about 18/19 mins in)

    Keith Law says Colletti had a good deadline, didn’t think they gave up much in those deals, but the common denominator is money. i.e., Having it helps.
    Except when it comes to making long term contracts which isn’t Ned’s forte.
    And he’s never comfortable enough with young arms. (Not sure that’s totally fair lately…but in his tenure in general it’s been the case.)

  • Anonymous

    USA Today article on Dusty Baker has a statement that the Angels are likely to fire Scioscia if the team fails to make the playoffs.  Seems overreactive to me.

    • Anonymous

      I think Arte has been more than patient.  To throw the Pujols money at the team AND get a guy like Trout popping up in the system and not get even a road card spot?  Getting past the second-best team in the east and central isn’t so much to ask for that money and luck.

      I also think Mike’s hard-ass routine has possibly become un-fun down there.  Just an opinion, and don’t get me wrong, I think Mike is the best dodger catcher in history.

      • Anonymous

        As much as I like Scioscia, I can’t let this go by without mentioning the other Italians: Campanella and Piazza.

        As for the Anaheimers, it’s astonishing how bad their pitching has been except for Weaver. Even Greinke’s been mediocre, and their bullpen horrendous (any bullpen with Isinghausen is by definition horrendous).

        • Anonymous

          Sure, most would pick Campy.

          I personally have a sentimental attachment to the early 80s dodgers.

          • Anonymous

            So do I. I’m old enough to have seen a little bit of Campy, but I still cringe and want to rage when I think of Fox’s trading Piazza, who should have been a lifetime Dodger.

          • Anonymous

            Screamed out loud in the same Pedro-Duhlino voice

  • Anonymous

    MLB has announced that Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera has been suspended 50 games for testing with illegal levels of testosterone.

    • Alex Chavez

      Good thing the Dodgers could block a waiver-wire Soriano-to-Giants trade.
      Looks like SF will have to play .230-hitting Gregor Blanco.

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

    NPUT

  • Anonymous

    For those of who’ve been wondering about Melky’s numbers, witness the following news from Gnatbeat writer Henry Schulman: “Major League Baseball announced Wednesday that the Gnats’ Melky Cabrera will be suspended for 50 games effective immediately due to a positive testosterone test.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/ted.weitzman.9 Ted Weitzman

    Now that the Dodgers are flush with cash, what are the chances of Kuroda playing past this year and the Dodgers luring him back to LA for one more season?