Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Billingsley, Cruz and sunshine energize Dodgers, 5-0

Chad Billingsley is cruising, and Luis Cruz is, well, chadding.

The Dodger starting pitcher and infielder each continued their hot ways, pushing the Dodgers to a 5-0 victory at Atlanta today, completing a 7-3 East Coast roadtrip.

Allowing three hits over seven innings underneath the summer Georgia sun, Billingsley improved to 6-0 with a 1.30 ERA since coming off the disabled list. Billingsley gave up only three hits and walked two while striking out four, throwing 101 pitches.

Billingsley’s only trouble inning was the fourth, when the Braves fouled off 13 of his pitches before Jason Heyward hit a two-out triple. Freddie Freeman then walked on five pitches, but Billingsley got Dan Uggla to pop out on the 30th pitch of the inning.

Impressively, Billingsley also blew Heyward away on a swinging strike three measured at 93 miles per hour with Michael Bourn on third base with two out in the sixth.

According to the Dodger press notes, Billingsley is the first Dodger to win six consecutive starts since Kevin Brown won seven in a row from May 14-June 17, 2003.

Meanwhile, Cruz homered for the second consecutive game while going 2 for 4, giving him a .484 on-base percentage and .852 slugging percentage in 31 plate appearances on this roadtrip. He also pushed his 2012 major-league OPS over .800 for the first time since his first week in a Dodger uniform.

It appeared that the Dodgers might have to rely on Cruz’s fifth-inning home run for their entire offense, but Los Angeles tacked on a run in the eighth and three more in the ninth, all of the scoring flowing directly from Heyward losing fly balls in the sun in each inning. Mark Ellis, who earlier in the game stranded five runners on base in two at-bats, took advantage to collect all four RBI, the last three on a bases-clearing double.

Ronald Belisario pitched a perfect eighth while the score was still 2-0, and Scott Elbert returned from the disabled list to finish things off with a spotless ninth.

Heart-of-the-orderers Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier combined went 0 for 13 with a walk. Kemp is hitless in his past 15 at-bats (with two walks).


Dodgers activate Elbert, De La Rosa making progress


Root beer reviews: Rat Bastard


  1. KT

    Way to win the series guys

    Great road trip 7-3

    Time to get into 1st place and stay there

  2. Anonymous

     Get better as the Pads get a quick 3 off Vogelsong.

    • Anonymous

       Birdsong is continuing his reversion to pumpkinhood.

      • 50 pitches now for him, not even through the 2nd inning. If they can get to Giants pen really early today that’s one more plus for the Dodgers, too. 

  3. Anonymous

    Haha what a great first line.

  4. Beardingsley for the win! Again. 

  5. Anonymous

    Apparently, at the Little League World Series, three kids from Petaluma (40 minutes north of SF) said Melky was their favorite player.

    • Only reason I’ve ever heard of Petaluma is the fact that Lagunitas Brewing Company is located there.

    • Anonymous

      >> Apparently, at the Little League World Series, three kids from Petaluma (40 minutes north of SF) said Melky was their favorite player.

      Those kids must be on drugs!  :)

  6. Really nice to have momentum going into the next series. The whole team should do the hockey thing and grow the beards now..

  7. Angels once again getting spanked by Rays, Greinke continues to struggle. Maybe his price will come down a bit in free agency?

    • Anonymous

       Have to wonder whether you’d really want him – he’s been pretty bad.

      • I still believe he’s a really good pitcher and if his poor second half lowers his price then I’d be happy for the Dodgers to look into him.

      • Anonymous

        2 Ramirezes prove what a change of scenery can do.  (Of course, there’s also A. Jones and the Giants castoffs who came south that belie that argument!)

        • Anonymous

          He’s had a change of scenery, to a team that scores lots of runs, and it hasn’t helped him much.

          • Anonymous

            Zack Greinke had a phenomenal 2009, and deserved the Cy Young Award he won.  However, he has not been all that great in any other season of his nine years in the bigs.  That year his ERA was 2.16 and ERA+ 205; the best of his other years was 3.47 and his career ERA is 3.82.  That year his WHIP was 1.073; with the exception of his rookie season (1.166) his best WHIP was 1.2.  2009 was also the only year he made the All-Star team.

            His four starts with the Angels haven’t been pretty, but it’s small data.  Overall, if you exclude 2009, he’s been a steady, consistent #2-3 type starter.  I wouldn’t mind signing him, but it ought to be for $12 million a year or thereabouts (Chad Billingsley type money), and not for $20 million a year or more (King Felix type money).  But someone will probably sign him for that $20MM payday, since he’ll be the best in this winter’s free agent class.  Fortunately, the Dodgers already have a lot of starters under team control for next year, including this year’s entire rotation plus a bunch of youngsters including Rubby, Ely, ZLee, Reed, Webster, and Fife.

          • Anonymous

            That 12 million much better spent on a bat, if 1 can be found

  8. Anonymous

    Ethier is 0 for 7 against LHP and 3 for 10 against RHP ( with a total of 3 walks) a in similar period that Kemp is 0 for 15.

  9. Anonymous

    Clutch pitching by Billz . . . taking advantage of gifts . . . another 7-3 road trip, including winning the series against 2 teams with better records . . . only downside is possible injury to Cruz.

    With 9 games vs. Giants along the way, the Dodgers control their own destiny!

    • Anonymous

      “Cruz exited after grounding out in the ninth with cramping in his hamstring” from

  10. Anonymous

    Nice win by the boys! Great road trip too! Still I wonder about the 13 pitchers. Do we really have Jamey Wright, for all the wrong reasons?

    • Anonymous

       Wright is far superior to Brandon League.

      • Anonymous

        Brandon League has been awful in his appearances since joining the Dodgers.  However, I gotta believe he’s got more potential for turning it around than Wright does.  Wright is 37; League is 29.  And League’s career numbers are way better than Wright’s; his ERA is more than one run better, and his WHIP is better by more than a quarter of a runner per inning, which is significant.

        • Anonymous

          We might like to think so, but League appears to be on a sustained downward spiral.

  11. Worlds colliding:
    Grant Show marries Seinfeld’s Melrose Place lie-detector cop.

    • Anonymous

      Katherine LaNasa’s first two husbands were
      1) Dennis Hopper
      2) French Stewart

      I’m not quite sure what pattern she’s following.

  12. Anonymous

    Great call and execution on the hit-and-run with Uribe at 1st and Victorino hitting the ball through the vacated spot in the infield.
    Great run by Billingsley continues to impress.
    For what it’s worth :
    Dodgers Talk on 570 AM reporting that Cruz says he was just dehydrated and suffered a cramp – no hamstring pull, says he feels fine and will start tomorrow.

    • Anonymous

       It was great, but Donnie’s back in charge tomorrow to wait for the GIDP.

      • Anonymous

        Perhaps Donnie will take a cue from the 2 and 0 Hillman and, seeing how a hit-and-run works, may start calling more of his own.

        • Anonymous

          I’m not holding my breath. I can’t recall ever seeing a manager so reluctant to send runners. I’m surprised to see them going with two out and 3-2 on the batter.

          • Blue-eyed Gal

            Oh, but Steve Lyons was praising the Dodgers for their aggressive play, saying that hit and run was absolutely typical for the team.


            [REDACTED FOR rule 7 violation]

        • Anonymous

          >> Perhaps Donnie will take a cue from the 2 and 0 Hillman and, seeing how a hit-and-run works, may start calling more of his own.

          I thought you were going to say, “Perhaps Donnie will take a cue from the 2 and 0 Hillman and stay up in the skybox.”  :)

      • Anonymous

        Sad, but likely true (on the hit’n’run). We can only hope Donnie learned from it.

  13. Anonymous

    I wanted to post this in the last thread but had a brain fart on my username, I don’t post that often. Anyhow, is there any reason that RDLR couldn’t be activated before Sept. 1? Despite Belly looking good today, and Elbert coming back, I think the bullpen is still a bit shaky and Rubby would be an improvement. I mean, I’m almost looking forward to Guerrier coming back. I also don’t think having 13 pitchers will help. Another quality arm is in order.

    • I don’t think one game of facing Class A hitters after having had six days off necessarily means Rubby is ready for the big leagues. But sure, they could send someone down and turn to Rubby whenever they want.

      • Don’t they, in fact, *have* to activate him before September 1? Unless I’m mistaken, rehab stints are limited to 30 days by rule, and Rubby’s I believe started on July 28. They could just send him down to Albuquerque on August 28, but that would burn one of his option years for no good reason.

    • Anonymous

      >>  is there any reason that RDLR couldn’t be activated before Sept. 1?

      Aside from how his rehab is going, there are two roster issues that would need to be addressed.  One is that, as Jon notes, someone would have to be sent down from the 25-man roster, and I’m not sure there’s an obvious candidate.  This issue goes away with the September roster expansion.  The other issue is the 40-man roster.  Right now there is one opening on the 40-man, and Rubby is one of three guys (along with Lilly and Guerrier) who may be returning from the 60-day disabled list and would need space on the 40-man.

  14. Anonymous

    Got home today with the Dodgers up 1-0 after 6 1/2.   Impressed by what I witnessed while watching on TBS, in particular Uribe drawing a walk and then going to third on a perfect HIT-AND-RUN.   We took great advantage of Heyward’s difficulties in right field, and the relief pitching was perfect.  To win a game, 5-0, with the three through six spots in the line-up going hitless is quite a feat.  And then, of course, Billingsley once again looked the pitcher we all hoped he would be.  Cruz continues to show he belongs in the starting lineup.  I hope that does not come into question when Dee Gordon returns from the DL, but I am afraid that it will.  Ex-Braves ace John Smoltz, one of the announcers, said the Dodgers have the lineup to finish ahead of San Francisco and the type of team that would fare well against an AL squad.  Let’s hope that we get that opportunity.

    • Anonymous

      If Cruz continues playing at the level he’s been playing, there is no way Dee supplants him as a starter. Dee could still be a useful addition on the bench as one of the September callups though.

      •  I don’t think Hanley will be moved out of SS. That’s the feeling I get. I think it’s part of the reason Uribe is still on the team.

        • Anonymous

          I agree.  If Dee came back, would he play shortstop and move HanRam back to third?  Remember, Dee has never played anywhere other than shortstop, not in the majors and not in the minors.

          • IMO the best use for Gordon would be to start him a couple of times a week at short to give Cruz a break, and also a couple of times a week instead of Ellis, with Cruz playing 2B on those days.

          • Anonymous

            Completely agree as well as a legitimate pinch running threat in key situations

          • Anonymous

            >> IMO the best use for Gordon would be to start him a couple of times a week at short to give Cruz a break

            Cruz hasn’t been playing short.  HanRam has.

        • Anonymous

          Uribe is on the team because of the small possibility he can hit again by working on it over the winter

    • (comment deleted)

  15. Anonymous

    And for Underdog—-I think Vogelsong is already gone.

    • Anonymous

      Giants pulled Vogelsong with one on and no outs in the 4th.  Padres lead, 3-1.  He made 96 pitches, allowed eight hits, struck out seven and walked one.

      And, Jon, great lead on top.

    • Anonymous

       It couldn’t happen to a nastier guy – and I mean nasty in the traditional sense.

  16. Anonymous

    Pads roughing up next Gnats pitcher.

  17. Anonymous

    Cardinals and Bucs headed to the 14th in St. Louis at 2-2.
    At what point does Clint Hurdle dare to use Joel Hanrahan? The Pirates have only used 4 pitchers so far.
    The Cardinals have used 5 including Jason Motte.

  18. Anonymous

    6-1 Pads – nice to see the Giants ‘pen getting a workout today.
    I can’t decide if I like those clay-mud colored camo uniforms the Friars are sporting today.
    I’ve definitely seen worse.

  19. Anonymous

    Texas already smoked the Blu Jays, 11-2.
    A’s up 7-0 on the O’s.
    Halos losing miserably AGAIN.
    Angels quickly digging themselves into a hole soon to be too deep to crawl out of.
    Pretty soon we won’t be able see their halo, not even the spade of the shovel, only the dirt as it flies out of the hole, landing on the ever increasing pile next to the pit.

  20. Anonymous

    The Dodgers have a better road than home record since the ASG . . . now’s the time to remember what Dorothy learned in “Wizard of Oz”!

  21. Anonymous

    After singling as a PH in the 17th, James McDonald scores to put the Corsarios ahead of the Redbirds.

  22. It looks like James McDonald just helped win the game for Pittsburgh, getting a pinch single in the top of the 17th inning and coming around to score the go-ahead run.

  23. Anonymous

    Bills is pitching like a #2 playoff guy and making himself exactly that in the process.


  24. Anonymous

    Funny day – Gs had no hits from their 2 3 4 spots, we had none from our 3 4 5 6 spots.

    Time to admit it – Cruz is a full-time starter.

    • Anonymous

       It’s his position to lose.

      • Anonymous

        Amazing that we would be concerned about the health of somebody named Luis Cruz this year. Do you give Gordon time at 2B and 3B, this winter, and ultimately the 2B job after Mellis’ departure? SS Hanley looks like comfortable Hanley, and hitting Hanley.

        • Anonymous

          I really worry about Gordon’s glove, let alone whether a guy under 150 lbs belongs on a big league roster.  At least Altuve has some fat on his ass.

          • Anonymous

            I think Gordon will be a good infielder as he matures, but he’s no sure thing. Many of his mistakes come from trying too hard.

          • Blue-eyed Gal

            This. Dee got rushed up a little soon after Furcal departed. I won’t write him off because he probably should’ve been in AAA at the start of this year. He may not pan out, but it’s too early to draw final conclusions about his abilities.

            On the other hand, as Pismo says, unless Dee learns 2B, I don’t know if there’s an open spot for him on the infield. I don’t wanna jinx anybody, but Cruz 3B Hanley SS is lookin’ mighty solid to me. 

          •  And maybe looks are deceiving but I think Hanley has been fine at SS after hearing about how he wasn’t a good SS anymore.

          • Anonymous

            I don’t remember hearing such only that Reyes is better

          • Anonymous

            >> I don’t remember hearing such only that Reyes is better

            People complained about HanRam’s fielding at the time of his acquisition.  For example, you’ll find quotes like “he was probably always miscast as a shortstop” and “he’s hardly a top defensive shortstop” in the MSTI article at  Yet I agree with jasonu; he’s done just fine as a shortstop, based on my observations.  I don’t cringe the way I did when balls were hit to Gordon.

  25. Anonymous

    David Freese is currently 0 for 8 in the marathon in St Louis

    • Anonymous

      Michael McKenry has joined Freese in the 0 for 8 club. John Shelby laughs at an 0 for 8.

      • Anonymous

        I knew you would find a worse one! (looks like they won’t get the opportunity to improve on their days work – or lack of it)

      • Anonymous

         Leave it to a starter named Timothy Leary to leave behind a scorecard like that.

        • Anonymous

          Leary restored order in game 1 of the 88 WS, or Gibson never sees the light of day. He also came in after Tudor had to leave his start and allowed just 1 ER in 3 2/3. Dodgers lost that game, but he kept 2 games close when the outcome overall could have been very different without him.

  26. KT

    Pit up 6-3 going to bottom of 19

    • Anonymous

      I really hope the Pirates make it this year (and we beat them in the NLCS) !

  27. Anonymous

    I bet Wandy Rodriquez wasn’t expecting his next win to be today ;)

    • Anonymous

       I wonder if he still gets to start tomorrow.

      • Anonymous

        I would assume the Pirates will be juggling the rotation or calling up an emergency starter. Burnett could probably go on short rest.

        • Anonymous

          they didn’t use one of their LH pitchers out of the bull-pen, Tony May. His high pitch count this season is 31.

      • Anonymous

        maybe, possibly on a shorter outing

  28. Blue-eyed Gal

    I wish my nervous nellie side could just relax and go, “WOO HOO! DODGERS WINNING AND LIFE IS GREAT!” instead of “Uh oh, so much riding on this upcoming Giants series; every game will cost twice as much!”

    Ergh. HALF FULL, dangit, HALF FULL!

    • Hah, I know what you mean. Basically, we should be prepared for the fact that it’s going to be a roller coaster here on out. I don’t expect the Giants to go away, alas, but the Dodgers could certainly help push them a bit further away this week. But I expect it to be pretty back and forth in the standings for awhile. 

      here’s hoping it’s mostly forth!

    • Anonymous

      Both teams will still be in the thick of the race after this series.  The Dodgers enter the series in first place (HOORAY!) by 0.5 game.  At the end of the series, assuming no postponements (LOL!), the Dodgers will be in first by 1.5 or 3.5 games, or the ‘ants will be in first by 0.5 or 2.5 games.

    • Anonymous

      Also – keep in mind that after this series with the Giants, the Dodgers will still have 37 games to play. So, there will be plenty of time to HOPEFULLY build a little lead on the Giants. Now, if it comes down to the last series of the season (Oct. 1 thru 3) against the Giants and we are only 3 games or less ahead of the Giants (or dare I say it, 3 games or less behind), then it will certainly be “nervous nellie” time.

      • Anonymous

        >> keep in mind that after this series with the Giants, the Dodgers will still have 37 games to play.

        Six more of which are against you-know-who.  :)

    • Anonymous

      sounds like Bob Gibson while you are trying to make him sound like Mel

    • “As he pointed out, all eight of the Padres’ hits against him were singles, including a couple that weren’t squared up.”  Which totally explains why he threw 96 pitches in 3 innings of work. He seems to be a bit of a big baby.

    • I just watched bits and pieces of the game but did see the plunkings and as much as I hate the Giants and think Vogelsong’s an annoying whiner– I do think the Padres were more in the wrong here. Viogelsong hit a QUentin in a bad situation to do so, with the batter leaning over the plate and not even trying to move out of the way. Then they make two tries at beaning Belt in retaliation, before hitting him in more painful fashion. I don’t know, I kinda see his point a bit… 

      That said, if the overall thesis here is the Giants suck and are jerks, I can’t disagree. ;)

      • Anonymous

        >> Vogelsong’s an annoying whiner

        Somebody’s got to take up the slack, in the absence of you-know-who* from the team.

        *TMAEIMLB?  Did I get that right?

      • Anonymous

        There’s no reason to hate the Gnats, but plenty of reason to detest them.

  29. Anonymous

    In light of the facts that Mattingly hired Hillman, who had managed in the NYY system for 12 years, and they sit together in the dugout, I feel confident that Hillman has shared his tactical and strategic opinions with Mattingly and would not have violated any instructions that Mattingly might have given him. 

    • Anonymous

      In that light, do you think that Donnie would have left him with instructions?  That would seem strange to me.  What would they be?  Donnie:  “You know in those situations where you recommend that I hit-and-run and I ignore you?  Well, don’t hit-and-run in those situations”.

      • Anonymous

        I think the construction of major differences between the 2 by people here lacks logic. But, if Hillman had been arguing for hit-and-run plays to be put on and Mattingly consistently refused then I would have to say Mattingly gave him carte blanche to run the team as he wished today.
        However, I think the conversation you wrote is only slightly more likely than Hillman ” I’ve been reading a fellow named WBB at Dodger Thoughts who likes we hit into too many DP’s and feels we should take a chance and hit-and-run.” Donnie “I never thought of that. Let’s try it next game.”

        • Anonymous

          I reserve the right to be facetious, but I do consider Mattingly far too conservative with the running game.

          • Anonymous

            There are two potential problems with the hit-and-run.  Unless the batter is a guy who’s really good at making contact – and most of ours aren’t – then there’s a good chance he’s not going to hit the ball in the gap.  And unless the runner is a really good baserunner, there’s a good chance he would then get thrown out at second.  It’s a risky play unless you’ve got the right pieces in place.

          • Anonymous

            I realize the pitfalls, but there needs to be some balance with a team that’s so DP-prone. Rivera, for instance, is not a big strikeout guy, but he grounds into lots of DPs.

          • Anonymous

            >> there needs to be some balance with a team that’s so DP-prone.

            Bench Rivera AND Loney, and bring up Sands…

          • Anonymous

             >>Bench Rivera AND Loney, and bring up Sands…

            Cut Urinnedy, and bring up Sands.

  30. Anonymous

    “You never wake up in the morning thinking, ‘I can’t wait to get tomorrow’s starter in the game today,'” said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle

  31. Anonymous

    Puigwatch: Yasiel Puig went 1 for 2 with a walk in tonight’s RC game.  He stole a base, but also got caught trying to steal another. He’s now hitting .381 with RC, but his OPS isn’t that high because all of his hits have been singles (8 for 21 with 3 BB in 6 G). His OBP is .458 but his SLG is the same .381 as his BA.

  32. Anonymous

    Saw a LLWS game up in Williamsport with Panama beating Canada.  Kid hit a grand salami and later had a two-run shot for Panama.  Got home in time to see Japan-Taiwan in a nine inning pitcher-fest.  One kid was throwing 74 mph, the equivalent at that distance of a 96 mph big league pitch.  Sparkling fielding and heads up play, with the Japanese LF covering 3rd base on a sacrifice bunt enabling them to get a crucial DP.

  33. Farewell, Tony Scott. (The director, not the former Expo, Cardinal and Astro)

    •  oh my gosh how awful. He jumped off a bridge. I know he will always be remembered for Top Gun as he should but I really liked True Romance and Enemy of the State..

  34. New root beer post up top. Non-root beer chat can remain here. 

  35. Anonymous

    The playoff odds at BP swung 29 percent towards the Dodgers based on yesterday’s games (+12 percent for the Dodgers, -17 percent for the ‘ants).

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe that the odds truly change that much in one day.  Not in mid-August, anyway.  (Late September, you can have huge swings in one day.)  I’m not saying that I dislike better odds for the Dodgers, of course, but I just don’t believe it’s an accurate estimation of reality.

    • Anonymous

      And baseball stretch drives are notoriously unpredictable. At this time last year, who expected the Redbirds to win the so-called “wild card” and advance in the playoffs? Who expected the 1964 Phillies to fold the way they did?

  36. New baseball post up top. 

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